Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Some Maltese Door Knockers

Yesterday at one of my training courses (which by the way had nothing to do with door knockers) I learnt that in the past people did not knock on doors but they used to scratch at them. I had never heard of such a thing!! I wonder how they heard anyone scratching if they were upstairs!

Anyway I thought of sharing some information about some of our old and beautiful door knockers. In Maltese they are known as il-“Habbata”. Long after the method of scratching was scrapped the 'Habbata' entered in the picture many years ago as a matter of necessity. Somehow it has survived the mechanical and electric doorbell and has become part of our street embellishment. These door knockers used to reflect the personality and taste of the house owner. They were available in numerous motifs, shapes and sizes.

Some of our old buildings throughout the Maltese Islands can boast of some exceptionally fine examples which can ultimately be described as truly works of art. Perhaps the most traditional motif in the Islands is that in the shape of a dolphin. These are still manufactured in significant quantities and much in demand albeit very costly.
The above photos with the exception of the ninth one ( taken at Valletta) were taken during one of my walks at Zabbar and Birgu.


Unknown said...

Thank you for the informative perspective on something often missed in the day to day hustle bustle.

I would not have guessed that humans would have prefered to scratch at doors at some point in the past.

Sue said...

These knockers are beautiful!
TFS the photos.
Missed your posts... I hope the pregnancy is proceeding well.

Suki said...

@ Sue: You're right I've slacked a bit. Sometimes I feel so down I don't feel like doing anything. At other times I'm just like a ball of energy. I'm now in my fourth month and so far we're doing fine.
@James: Thanks James for taking a peak at my blog!

Loree said...

I had no idea about the scratching bit ... I guess they must have had very hard nails. Wonderful examples of door knockers. I really like them. Some gorgeous ones in Mdina too.

Doreen said...

Very interesting post Zen and great pictures as always. I am always fascinated by buildings, doors, windows, etc.
It's great to know your pregnancy is going well and the bit about "I don't feel like doing anything. At other times I'm just like a ball of energy" is only natural.

Anonymous said...

I love door knockers and hinges and stuff. Great post.


Doreen said...

Just stopping by to say I've been thinking of you.
There's a friendly award on my Whimsical Blog if you'd like to pick it up : )
Take care,

Robin said...

What a fun post, the door knockers were one of my favorite things about Malta. I photographed tons of them.

To answer your question about Israel, no, on the whole it doesn't affect my daily life. Where we live in the center of the country is quite far removed (well far in local standards LOL) from what you see on tv. My parents arrive for a visit early tomorrow morning so I don't have time for a detailed response right now, but feel free to ask any questions you may have, I'll write back when I can :).