Research - history of Moroccan textiles

When I visited Morocco, I was aware there was a strong connection with textiles. The main thare you youyou areree textiles identified with Morocco was leather work (with colourful tanneries and many leather products for sale, such as leather shoes and leather pouffes), weaving (the souks were full of beautiful woven silks, scarfs, rugs and a bed throws), and embroidery nearly everything had an element of embroidery or beadwork).

Textiles have been an important part of Morocco for a long time, and have historically been used to signify wealth and social status, as well as tribal belonging. Different regions of Morocco produce textiles that can be identified with their unique styles such as differences in wool weaving technique, composition, colour and motifs. For example goat hair is used for both the sawtooth pattern selvedge and warp in pile rugs produced on the plains of Marrakesh, whereas Hanbel rugs are woven from undyed black and white wool in plain and banded decorated stripes.

As with the different weaving styles, the same can be said for the tradition of fine silk embroidery on cotton. The typical style of Fez is a red, green, black and indigo cross stitch, where as the main stitches used in Rabat is the chain and darning stitch. The traditions and uses of these textiles also vary from region to region, customarily Fez and Rabat produce cushions, curtains and furnishings, whereas in Chefchaouen girls are known to produce trousseau (known as chouar) which consists of necklaces which are traditionally worn during a wedding ceremony.

Tanneries can be found in to Luton, Marrakesh and Fez where workers now take on off wool and hair and dye hides. In the past there were lots of other establishments that used natural colourants to dye cotton, wool and silk but the introduction of modern chemicals have meant these traditional ways have changed.

The need to make textiles has also changed, with the focus now on selling to tourists, rather than the original purposes.

Reference
WAGNER INGRID. (2007). Open your atlas: art classes in Morocco. Selvedge. Issue 17.
GILLOW JOHN. (2003). Textiles of the Islamic World.

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