WOVEN BAGS AND ARTIFACTS 3

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WOVEN ARTIFACTS 3.

IN ADDITION TO PILED RUGS and flat weaves the Berbers of the Moroccan mountain ranges weave many artifacts for use in their homes. Among the most numerous are rectangular weavings which are folded in half and stitched and then become cushions and pillows. A small opening is left on a long side sufficient for various fillings to be inserted by hand. Bags of all sizes range from the tiny which contain precious items of jewellery, spices or dried fruit to the huge which are filled with grain. Saddle bags for transport of goods by horse or donkey are common. Finely woven bags are still made as dowry pieces. Many items of clothing are woven for daily use, ceremonies and special occasions.

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MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS BERBER CARPET. Prepare for a surprise! Although this looks like a carpet, and can serve as one, it is a giant storage bag. At one end the tying loops are an integral part of the end finish and at the other there is a row of corresponding slits through which the loops will go once the carpet is folded in two. In the small interiors of Berber huts and tents multi-purpose items are often made. When folded and secured as a giant tent bag it would be used for storage, or filled with other weavings and serve as a bed at night and a divan for day time seating. This rare piece is from the Ait Bou Ichaoen Berbers in the extreme eastern end of the High Atlas Mountains. A carpet with a similar weave and almost identical colours is shown in `Maroc - Tapis du Tribus` in the section of pages 87 to 96. Ref. 2188. Size (opened) 239 x 150 cms, 7ft 10ins x 5ft. Euros 1100.

MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS BERBER CARPET. Prepare for a surprise! Although this looks like a carpet, and can serve as one, it is a giant storage bag. At one end the tying loops are an integral part of the end finish and at the other there is a row of corresponding slits through which the loops will go once the carpet is folded in two. In the small interiors of Berber huts and tents multi-purpose items are often made. When folded and secured as a giant tent bag it would be used for storage, or filled with other weavings and serve as a bed at night and a divan for day time seating. This rare piece is from the Ait Bou Ichaoen Berbers in the extreme eastern end of the High Atlas Mountains. A carpet with a similar weave and almost identical colours is shown in `Maroc - Tapis du Tribus` in the section of pages 87 to 96. Ref. 2188. Size (opened) 239 x 150 cms, 7ft 10ins x 5ft. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/BAG. This is a rare old piece woven by the Beni Ourain Berber group in the Middle Atlas. Unusually for a pillow it has a hand knotted pile, unlike most which are flat woven, and this is to combat the extreme cold of the Middle Atlas mountains in winter. The wools are undyed except for the use of red to accentuate the black diamond motifs. Pieces such as these are used for both sleeping and sitting. Reference 2723. Size 30 x 54 cms., or 1ft. x 1ft. 9ins. Euros 95.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/BAG. This is a rare old piece woven by the Beni Ourain Berber group in the Middle Atlas. Unusually for a pillow it has a hand knotted pile, unlike most which are flat woven, and this is to combat the extreme cold of the Middle Atlas mountains in winter. The wools are undyed except for the use of red to accentuate the black diamond motifs. Pieces such as these are used for both sleeping and sitting. Reference 2723. Size 30 x 54 cms., or 1ft. x 1ft. 9ins. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER CUSHION/BAG from the northern part of the Middle Atlas mountains and the province of Zemmour. Pieces like these are used as day time cushions and sometimes night time pillows. Often they are woven with great care and skill and the fineness of weave in the diamond shaped designs, in which 12 different colours have been used, is such an example. I found this piece in the bazaar in Khemisset which is the main town in Zemmour. Reference 2727. Size 48 x 40 cms., or 19 x 16 inches. Euros 105.

MOROCCAN BERBER CUSHION/BAG from the northern part of the Middle Atlas mountains and the province of Zemmour. Pieces like these are used as day time cushions and sometimes night time pillows. Often they are woven with great care and skill and the fineness of weave in the diamond shaped designs, in which 12 different colours have been used, is such an example. I found this piece in the bazaar in Khemisset which is the main town in Zemmour. Reference 2727. Size 48 x 40 cms., or 19 x 16 ins. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER SHAWL. Berber women traditionally wear these as shawls or head scarves. The long tassels are made from the same material and embellished with many sequins. This piece is backed with heavy terracotta coloured cotton and will make a fascinating wall hanging. Reference 2320. Size 104 x 87cms. 3ft.5in. x 2ft.10in. excluding tassels. Euros 85.

MOROCCAN BERBER SHAWL. Berber women traditionally wear these as shawls or head scarves. The long tassels are made from the same material and embellished with many sequins. This piece is backed with heavy terracotta coloured cotton and will make a fascinating wall hanging. Reference 2320. Size 104 x 87cms. 3ft.5in. x 2ft.10in. excluding tassels. BERBER GIRL FROM THE MIDDLE ATLAS.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/BAG. It is difficult to say which is the more beautiful side of this bag, the front or the back. It is from the region of Zemmour in the western Middle Atlas and would have served as both a cushion and a pillow in a Berber dwelling. The embroidered design on both sides is exceptionally fine and the 35 diamond shapes on the back stand out against the dark background. Pillows and saddle bags from this region are well documented in "Carpets and Textiles of Morocco" which was published by the Washington Textile Museum and there are several illustrations from page 106-111. Reference 2724. Size 30 x 39cms. 1ft. x 1ft.3in. Euros 110.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/BAG. It is difficult to say which is the more beautiful side of this bag, the front or the back. It is from the region of Zemmour in the western Middle Atlas and would have served as both a cushion and a pillow in a Berber dwelling. The embroidered design on both sides is exceptionally fine and the 35 diamond shapes on the back stand out against the dark background. Pillows and saddle bags from this region are well documented in "Carpets and Textiles of Morocco" which was published by the Washington Textile Museum and there are several illustrations from page 106-111. Reference 2724. Size 30 x 39cms. 1ft. x 1ft.3in. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER CUSHION / BAG. The square shape is unusual. The piece was woven originally as one long flat weave or kilim before being folded and stitched with an opening left along one side sufficient for it to be filled. The lattice designs are composed of cottons of many different shades and the work is extremely fine. It originates from the Berbers of Zemmour in the northern part of the Middle Atlas and I found it in the main town of Khemisset. There is good information of Zemmour pieces of this kind in the text book "Carpets and Textiles of Morocco" published by the Washington Textile Museum. Reference 2726. Size 43 x 41cms. 17 x 16ins. Euros 95.

MOROCCAN BERBER CUSHION / BAG. The square shape is unusual. The piece was woven originally as one long flat weave or kilim before being folded and stitched with an opening left along one side sufficient for it to be filled. The lattice designs are composed of cottons of many different shades and the work is extremely fine. It originates from the Berbers of Zemmour in the northern part of the Middle Atlas and I found it in the main town of Khemisset. There is good information of Zemmour pieces of this kind in the text book "Carpets and Textiles of Morocco" published by the Washington Textile Museum. Reference 2726. Size 43 x 41cms. 17 x 16ins. CLOSE UP.

MANY RUG DEALERS in the Medinas have a few bags and artifacts lying in untidy piles at the back of their rooms. I always look at them all, and sometimes find a treasure.

WOVEN ARTIFACTS OF A DIFFERENT TYPE in the market. The Berbers are skilled weavers of all sorts of items.

MOROCCAN MIDDLE ATLAS BERBER PILLOW woven by a small Berber group called Beni Mtir. The front design is most unusual, as is the back which is of flat woven kilim with three embroidered stylized trees. Ref. 2228. Size 76 x 36cms, 2ft 6ins x 1ft 2ins, Euros 150.

MOROCCAN MIDDLE ATLAS BERBER PILLOW woven by a small Berber group called Beni Mtir. The front design is most unusual, as is the back which is of flat woven kilim with three embroidered stylized trees. Ref. 2228. Size 76 x 36cms, 2ft 6ins x 1ft 2ins. REVERSE.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW / BAG This was woven in the traditional way of one long strip of kilim or flat weave, upon which the lattice design is incorporated. It was then folded over and stitched to become a pillow or cushion. As always, there is an opening on one long side which allows the piece to be filled as it was used as a daytime cushion and a night time pillow. It is old, soft and supple. Reference 2725. Size 35 x 50cms. 14 x 20ins. Euros 95.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW / BAG This was woven in the traditional way of one long strip of kilim or flat weave, upon which the lattice design is incorporated. It was then folded over and stitched to become a pillow or cushion. As always, there is an opening on one long side which allows the piece to be filled as it was used as a daytime cushion and a night time pillow. It is old, soft and supple. Reference 2725. Size 35 x 50cms. 14 x 20ins. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER BELT. A precious piece woven entirely of silk. Belts for ceremonial and special occasions use are worn wrapped around the waist once, or several times, according to length. This fine example is from the High Atlas south of Marrakech. It is quite usual for some silk to be used in the design but to be completely woven in silk is rare. Reference 2695. Size 190 cms., or 6ft. 3ins. long. Euros 130.

MOROCCAN BERBER BELT. A precious piece woven entirely of silk. Belts for ceremonial and special occasions use are worn wrapped around the waist once, or several times, according to length. This fine example is from the High Atlas south of Marrakech. It is quite usual for some silk to be used in the design but to be completely woven in silk is rare. Reference 2695. Size 190 cms., or 6ft. 3ins. long. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER BAG which is known as "Ailau" and was woven by the little known Ait bou Ichaouen Berbers in the eastern High Atlas close to the border with Algeria. Weaving from this area has only been explored and documented recently. The excellent text book "Ait bou Ichaouen " by Alfred and Suzanne Saulniers gives great in depth information. Ailau are often woven in pairs by a women who gives one to her daughter and the other to her husband on marriage. They are often used to store precious items. This piece is in very good condition and is complete with original fastening loops at the top. Remnants of the bottom tassels are present. Colour photo 112 on page 87 of the book shows part of a bag with identical colours. Reference 2730. Size 62 x 36cms. 24 x 15ins. Euros 225.

MOROCCAN BERBER BAG which is known as "Ailau" and was woven by the little known Ait bou Ichaouen Berbers in the eastern High Atlas close to the border with Algeria. Weaving from this area has only been explored and documented recently. The excellent text book "Ait bou Ichaouen " by Alfred and Suzanne Saulniers gives great in depth information. Ailau are often woven in pairs by a women who gives one to her daughter and the other to her husband on marriage. They are often used to store precious items. This piece is in very good condition and is complete with original fastening loops at the top. Remnants of the bottom tassels are present. Colour photo 112 on page 87 of the book shows part of a bag with identical colours. Reference 2730. Size 62 x 36cms. 24 x 15ins. REVERSE.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW / BAG woven in the traditional long piece which is then folded and overcast. A small opening is left at the top of one long side so that the pillow can then be filled. Pillows double as cushions during the day. The white cotton embroidery on the reverse is very unusual and consists of three central medallions flanked by interpretations of tall trees with a river at the bottom. It is from the Ait Youssi Berbers in the western Middle Atlas. Reference 2366. Size 70 x 40cms. 2ft.4in. x 1ft.4in. Euros 130.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW / BAG woven in the traditional long piece which is then folded and overcast. A small opening is left at the top of one long side so that the pillow can then be filled. Pillows double as cushions during the day. The white cotton embroidery on the reverse is very unusual and consists of three central medallions flanked by interpretations of tall trees with a river at the bottom. It is from the Ait Youssi Berbers in the western Middle Atlas. Reference 2366. REVERSE.

MOROCCAN BERBER HEAD DRESS from the High Atlas. Colourful head covers are important items of dress for Berber women. Many special ones are reserved for ceremony and celebration. The tassels here represent multi-coloured flower heads. There is an interesting photograph of three women from the Berber High Atlas group called Ait Yazza wearing similar pieces on page 30 of the text book "North African Textiles". Reference 2689. Size 32 x 110 cms., or 13 x 44 inches. Euros 75.

MOROCCAN BERBER HEAD DRESS from the High Atlas. Colourful head covers are important items of dress for Berber women. Many special ones are reserved for ceremony and celebration. The tassels here represent multi-coloured flower heads. There is an interesting photograph of three women from the Berber High Atlas group called Ait Yazza wearing similar pieces on page 30 of the text book "North African Textiles". Reference 2689. Size 32 x 110 cms., or 13 x 44 inches. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER CEREMONIAL BELT from the Berbers of Zagora in the eastern High Atlas mountains close to the border with Algeria. This is woven with pure silk and would have been used for ceremonial occasions or celebrations. The long strands are gathered at intervals and bound with materials and silk. Examples of Berber belts using similar techniques are shown on pages 180 and 181 of the text book "Splendeurs of Maroc". Reference 2697. Size 200 cms., or 79 inches long. Euros 180.

MOROCCAN BERBER CEREMONIAL BELT from the Berbers of Zagora in the eastern High Atlas mountains close to the border with Algeria. This is woven with pure silk and would have been used for ceremonial occasions or celebrations. The long strands are gathered at intervals and bound with materials and silk. Examples of Berber belts using similar techniques are shown on pages 180 and 181 of the text book "Splendeurs of Maroc". Reference 2697. Size 200 cms., or 79 inches long. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS CUSHION / PILLOW which is an excellent example of its kind and is Berber work from the eastern High Atlas. The tassel work is exceptional and is plaited from the same wool as that used in the pillow. Berber weaving from this region has been discovered comparatively recently. The outstanding text book "Ait Bou Ichaouen" by Alfred and Suzanne Saulniers shows results of extensive original field work. On Plate 87 there is a wedding blanket from Talsint which has, in part, very similar construction and identical colours. This cushion was probably part of a dowry and can form part of an interesting collection. Reference 2309. Size 40 x 65cms. 1ft.4in. x 2ft.2in. REVERSE.

MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS CUSHION / PILLOW which is an excellent example of its kind and is Berber work from the eastern High Atlas. The tassel work is exceptional and is plaited from the same wool as that used in the pillow. Berber weaving from this region has been discovered comparatively recently. The outstanding text book "Ait Bou Ichaouen" by Alfred and Suzanne Saulniers shows results of extensive original field work. On Plate 87 there is a wedding blanket from Talsint which has, in part, very similar construction and identical colours. This cushion was probably part of a dowry and can form part of an interesting collection. Reference 2309. Size 40 x 65cms. 1ft.4in. x 2ft.2in. Euros 155. FIRST SIDE.

MOROCCAN BERBER HEAD DRESS from the High Atlas. Colourful head covers are important items of dress for Berber women. Many special ones are reserved for ceremony and celebration. The tassels here represent multi-coloured flower heads. There is an interesting photograph of three women from the Berber High Atlas group called Ait Yazza wearing similar pieces on page 30 of the text book "North African Textiles". Reference 2690. Size 47 x 127 cms., or 19 x 50 inches. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER HEAD DRESS from the High Atlas. Colourful head covers are important items of dress for Berber women. Many special ones are reserved for ceremony and celebration. The tassels here represent multi-coloured flower heads. There is an interesting photograph of three women from the Berber High Atlas group called Ait Yazza wearing similar pieces on page 30 of the text book "North African Textiles". Reference 2690. Size 47 x 127 cms., or 19 x 50 inches. Euros 75.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/BAG. An old, soft and supple woven piece from the Beni M`guild Berber group of the Middle Atlas mountains, which is where I found it. Carpets, rugs, flat weaves and bags from this tribe often display extensive use of the deep shades of purple as their main colour background. The bag is first woven on a small loom as one long piece, with the half that will be the front, after folding and joining the sides together, having embroidered designs. Here we have a finely executed face of rows of diamond shapes. These items are used as day time cushions and often night time pillows in the Berber dwellings. Reference 2729. Size 51 x 34 cms., or 20 x 14 inches. REVERSE.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/BAG. An old, soft and supple woven piece from the Beni M`guild Berber group of the Middle Atlas mountains, which is where I found it. Carpets, rugs, flat weaves and bags from this tribe often display extensive use of the deep shades of purple as their main colour background. The bag is first woven on a small loom as one long piece, with the half that will be the front, after folding and joining the sides together, having embroidered designs. Here we have a finely executed face of rows of diamond shapes. These items are used as day time cushions and often night time pillows in the Berber dwellings. Reference 2729. Size 51 x 34 cms., or 20 x 14 inches. Euros 105.

MOROCCAN BERBER CEREMONIAL BELT. This originates from the deep south of the country and is a finely plaited belt, decorated with charms and embroidered in cotton and silk. The two ends are very attractive. See `Splendeurs du Maroc` - Musee Royal de l`Afrique Centrale, 1998, pages 180 and 208 for information on ropes and belts. Ref. 1950. Size 400 cms. 13ft.2in. long. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN BERBER CEREMONIAL BELT. This originates from the deep south of the country and is a finely plaited belt, decorated with charms and embroidered in cotton and silk. The two ends are very attractive. See `Splendeurs du Maroc` - Musee Royal de l`Afrique Centrale, 1998, pages 180 and 208 for information on ropes and belts. Ref. 1950. Size 400 cms. 13ft.2in. long. Euros 65.

MOROCCAN BERBER BELT this originates from the region of Mrirt in the south of the Middle Atlas and is a woven belt for a Berber man. It would be used mostly for ceremony. Information on ropes and belts can be seen in `Splendeurs du Maroc` - Musee Royal de l`Afrique Centrale, 1998, pages 180 and 209. Reference 1931. Size 90cms, 3 ft, long. Euros 93.