The building described as Nukhidhah House is, to be more precise, the majlis of the boat captain (nukhidhah) Jassim Ajaj, built in the 1920s.
A captain’s professional success was vitally dependent on his ability to establish and maintain a social network and relationships. Always eager to attract the best divers to work on his dhow, a captain also needed to maintain close relationships with pearl traders (tawawish) and foster camaraderie among his crew. His majlis was the key location where the captain conducted his business, received regular social visits from his boat crew and also from prospective new divers coming to negotiate the seasonal advances.
Nukhidhah Jassim Ajaj constructed his modest majlis, which included guest rooms for accommodating divers arriving in Bahrain for the main pearling season (Ghus al-Kabir), close to his family home, located just a few metres away across a small alleyway. Typically, the two buildings were physically separate to ensure the privacy of female members of the household.
The picturesque, simple majlis illustrates the occupation of a nukhidhah and contributes this aspect of the grand narrative of the pearling economy.
365, Lane 920, Block 209
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