Moroccan Handicrafts

Morocco is the country of northern Africa. Its geographic position gives it a certain uniqueness and authenticity. As a result, It got a mix of cultures: Mediterranean, Eastern, African.

Due to this variation, the Moroccan style has become diversified as well. One of its attractions is the combination of colors and patterns it has. All these colors, elegant motifs, and ornaments are present in various handicrafts products made by local craftsmen.

In this blog post, you will get to know some of the main handicrafts in Morocco

Moroccan carpets

Amazigh regions in the middle and the high atlas as well as Rabat are known for weaving carpets more than other cities in Morocco. Rabat’s rugs are recognized by colors and patterns of rectangles on a red background. All these are the distinctive features of carpets from Rabat. 

Moreover, carpets are made in the Middle and High Atlas, Marrakech, and the Haouz Valley by Amazigh (Berber) people. Weavers include symbols and shapes such as (Plants, animals, architecture…) in the carpet to express their feelings, thoughts, transmit traditions, show motivation, and so on. All necessary colors are produced using natural dyes. 

The Berber rug varies depending on the region in terms of thickness. For example, high Atlas carpets are thicker to resist the cold in winter. With appropriate treatments, the lifetime of the rug is unlimited. 

Moroccan carpets are famous and popular around the world due to their vibrant color schemes and bold geometric patterns. 

Traditional clothing

Morocco is a country rich in terms of history. All religions, traditions, cultures and much more survive even to this day. All these aspects have had an impact on the way people dress. However, in Moroccan cities, one can see men and women in traditional or modern clothes.

There are typical Moroccan clothes for women such as Kaftan (single dress) and Takeshita (double dress), which are worn to attend ceremonies, weddings, an engagement, or the birth of a child. There is also djellaba that is like casual clothing for women. They usually wear it when they go out. This type of clothing is handmade and it includes some motifs.

Men as well have djellaba, which is sewn according to the same pattern as for a woman but differs in decorative embroidery.

All Moroccan traditional costumes are sewn by hand and at the request of the client.

Jewelry

The silver jewels are manufactured in the mountainous regions, in the south of Morocco, and the villages of the plain. Silver is often utilized together with coral and amber.

Fez, Essaouira, and Tangiers are known for their golden products, in their production, manufacturers generally use emeralds, beads, turquoise. Items made of gold are delicate and refined than those made of silver. 

Ceramics and pottery

The most famous places for pottery are Fes, Safi, Meknes, and Sale. Each city has its style and color scheme. Interestingly, Moroccans prefer simple pottery for everyday use, not as brightly decorated as the one tourists buy. However, they use fancy dishes for special occasions, for example, weddings and other ceremonies.

The best pottery is made in Safi, a city on the Atlantic coast where the traditions of handicrafts date back to many centuries, but it is constantly improved. 

Now in the old city of Safi, there is a whole quarter, where numerous pottery workshops are located. The artisans make vases, plates, and jugs by burning them in ovens and painting them using different ornaments. About 2000 craftsmen are working in the city. 

There is also a school in the city, where future masters of ceramics study, as well as the National Museum of Ceramics, in which there are an exposition of many exquisite clay things, ancient and modern works of the pottery in Safi.

Moroccan tiles or zellige

A special style of facing ceramics, called “Moroccan mosaic” (Zellij in Arabic) – is when small colored tiles of various shapes form complex geometric patterns. 

This technique has existed for thousands of years and involves a lot of manual work. Surprisingly, in our time many small handicraft workshops work exactly as they did centuries ago. Zellij is a handmade work, and Fez is a city that is known for this type of work.

Small mosaic elements are cut from square clay tiles – they are covered with a colored glaze that is dried in a huge oven. Then the craftsman takes such a tile and a stencil then applies the borders of motif mosaic elements to the tile. With the help of a sharp hammer, the tile is split into pieces with precise movements – the craftsman tries to split it so that the maximum area can be used. He also can use more colored figures.

Moroccan cosmetics

Moroccan natural cosmetics are ancient recipes made with natural ingredients. They are the key secret of Moroccan women’s beauty. For instance, argan oil is produced in Morocco and it is used to treat numerous external and internal illnesses. There is also a set of equipment used for hammam (public baths) such as; Ghassoul Clay, Argan Oil, Opuntia Cactus Oil, Soap Beldi, Kess Glove, and much more. All these elements were created specifically for women so that they could stay young and healthy for as long as possible.

Moroccan carpenters

Cities such as Essaouira, Fez, Meknes, Sale, Marrakech, and Tetouan are famous for carpenters and cabinetmakers. A wide variety of woods from the forests of the Rif and Atlas mountains are used in this craft. 

Walnut and cedarwood are used for closets. Ebony and lemongrass wood is an expensive material, therefore it is used for cladding or wooden mosaic (as it is called – marquetry). 

Tannery, leather, and leather goods

One of Morocco’s main occupations is leather, which has been developed in Fes, Meknes, Rabat, and Marrakech.

In the town of Fez, entire neighborhoods are occupied by the production of leather. The smell in the tanners’ area is not good at all. However, it can be supported once you get used to it. When you go inside, you will get some mint leaves that will help you change odor by smelling it from time to time. 

After receiving the sheep or goat skins, they remove the wool and any extra fat from it. Then, they soak it, the process takes 2 days to several weeks depending on the type of skin. Once the skin gets the required condition, it is painted in different colors. In Fez, the tanners are using natural colors, this skill is becoming increasingly rare.

Bare-footed people swarm around colorful vats in which leather is processed and dyed. Baths are located in the open air. They work there only when it is no raining.

Moroccan leather products are distinguished by the fact that they are made by hand, which determines their originality. Leather bags, wallets, shoes are practical and of very high quality.

These handmade Moroccan leather bags and other items are durable. People can use them for at least 12 years.

Conclusion

All these crafts are part of Moroccan culture and tradition, and it is transmitted from one generation to another. They are handmade products, sometimes the craftsmen use some simple tools, but they don’t use an automated machine to make these kinds of products. You can browse all these products in our shop. Moroccoproducts try to make all these products available to clients around the world at an affordable price and with a quick shipping service.

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