Histories & Culture

Gypsum (Arabic: Jus) has been used in traditionally buildings in the Gulf and southern Arabia since prehistoric times. Houses in Yemen are decorated with white gypsum on the exterior and interior. Early tombs in Bahrain were lined with it. Gypsum occurs locally in large deposits just beneath the soil surface on many parts of Bahrain's islands. Slabs are quarried and fired in kilns similar to those used by potters. The resulting fine powder, when mixed with water has the properties of quick-setting cement used in making ceiling and wall decorations.

Gypsum and carved plaster is the most usual form of decoration in Bahraini architecture. Walls, window frames, doorways and recessed shelves are decorated in zones and panels of plaster fretwork. Elaborate examples of carved gypsum can be seen at Bait Shaikh Isa and Bait Siyadi in