Published at Monday, 12 August 2019. Decoration. By Marie Williams.
“Majlis painting”, also called nagash painting, is the decoration of the majlis, or front parlor of traditional Arabic homes, in the Asir province of Saudi Arabia and adjoining parts of Yemen. These wall paintings, an arabesque form of mural or fresco, show various geometric designs in bright colors: “Called nagash in Arabic, the wall paintings were a mark of pride for a woman in her house.”
In ancient Egypt, "soul houses" or models of houses were placed in tombs as receptacles for food offerings. From these, it is possible to discern details about the interior design of different residences throughout the different Egyptian dynasties, such as changes in ventilation, porticoes, columns, loggias, windows, and doors.
Women in the Asir province often complete the decoration and painting of the house interior. “You could tell a family’s wealth by the paintings,” Um Abdullah says: “If they didn’t have much money, the wife could only paint the motholath,” the basic straight, simple lines, in patterns of three to six repetitions in red, green, yellow and brown.” When women did not want to paint the walls themselves, they could barter with other women who would do the work. Several Saudi women have become famous as majlis painters, such as Fatima Abou Gahas.
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