Decors traditionnels/Berber Costumes of Morocco. Traditional Patterns
The Berber women from Morocco have received wide acclaim for their rugs. They also use their amazing skills to weave traditional costumes, whose ample shapes are reminiscent of the draped garments of Antiquity. Many garments, veils, and capes reflect the identity of the different groups living in the mountains and valleys. They represent a way of life that is disappearing fast, as contacts with the outside world render it obsolete. Some items of clothing are decorated with designs passed on from mother to daughter, however, tradition did not prevent weavers from expressing their own creativity as well. This book shows a wide variety of designs allowing the reader to discover masterpieces of weaving and embroidery, but also of decoration with henna, a technique unique to Morocco. This bilingual book in English and French is the first to offer a vast panorama of this exceptional heritage from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahara. Ethnologist, Marie-Rose Rabate, and Frieda Sorber, art historian and textile specialist, have between them researched Berber costume in and outside Morocco over the last forty years. As women in a female environment, their invaluable experience has allowed them to widen existing knowledge, to collect rare examples, to witness the changing state of textile crafts, and to pinpoint the recent apparition of imitations. In and outside Morocco many collectors have shared their collections for study, to help the authors define a Berber style of decoration. A wealth of objects have been chosen to illustrate the texts, showing a kaleidoscope of colors and designs, including many details. Rabate and Sorber present here an art that remained hidden for many years, and that almost disappeared before it could claim its place among the world's cultures.
About the Author:
While living in Morocco from 1963 to 1977, Marie-Rose Rabate became a passionate ethnographer of the country. She has made films and researched traditional rites and festivals in the High Atlas and the Draa valley. She published a book: Le Moussem d'Imilchil (Maroc Editions, 1970) and several articles in the journal of the Musee de l'Homme in Paris: Objets et Mondes, between 1967 and 1976. The study of tradidional crafts became her main subject, resulting in her PhD. thesis on jewellery from Southern Morocco in 1972 (Universite Paris V-Sorbonne). During her many field trips she has collected and documented jewellery and textiles used as costumes south of the Atlas. This reference collection of garments has been donated to the Musee de l'Homme (it has recently been transferred to the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris). Jewels and textiles, often hardly known at the time, became the focus of a further, sill ongoing study of Berber art, with combined field trips in Morocco. Over the last years, her access to many private collections and her association with Frieda Sorber has helped her to deepen her knowledge of decorated garments. Frieda Sorber, art historian and textile technician, is the curator of the historical collection of the Fashion Museum in Antwerp (Belgium). Her interest in silk weaving technology before the advent of the jacquard loom around 1800 was the motivation for her first trip to Morocco. The Ben Cherif family in Fez has maintained the use of traditional silk looms, which she studied during several field trips in the late 1980s. Her interest gradually shifted to the use of textiles and costumes in Moroccan society. Scarves and silk cords made by artisans of Fez for the Berber population introduced her to rural communities and resulted in many field trips from the Mediterranean coast to the edges of the Sahara. Over the last years she has collaborated on several important exhibitions on Morocco (Belgium, United States of America), published specialised articles on costumes and other textiles and regularly lectured on Moroccan textiles and costumes in Belgium, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Switzerland.