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Collection Artifact Details

Shawl

Type: Clothing - Garment
Object Name: Shawl
Local Name: handira
Place Made: Africa: North Africa, Morocco, Western Middle Atlas Mountains
People: Berber, Zemmour tribe
Period: Early to mid 20th century
Date: 1925 - 1950
Dimensions: L 231 cm x W 139 cm
Materials: Wool; cotton
Techniques: Weft-faced; supplementary weft; weft-float; knotted pile
ID Number: T94.2212
Credit: From the Opekar / Webster Collection

Zemmour women take great care in weaving their shawls, which they use for important occasions throughout their life. These shawls are composed of wide stripes of undyed ivory wool, and red stripes patterned with geometric motifs in different colours. The introduction of cochineal from the Canary Islands in the 19th century contributed to the widespread use of all shades of the colour red, ranging from orange or tomato-red to more bluish, cranberry hues. Zemmour women still weave colourful handira for themselves, and for the tourist and collector markets. Nevertheless, as lifestyles change with increasing modernity, the traditions of spinning, dyeing and weaving by hand are becoming less prevalent in everyday home life and more a product of the workshop or co-operative.