Morocco is a land defined by rugged geography, age-old traditions and a strong sense of the exotic.
Sitting at a cultural crossroads between East and West, Morocco has always been international in temperament. For centuries, the indigenous population of Berbers has welcomed Jews, Arabs, Christians, artists, merchants, explorers, travelers, and others. All have had an influence on the culture and the wondrous heritage of the Moroccan artisan.
Artisans have been plying their trade and crafting their wares for hundreds—and in some cases such as rug-making—thousands of years. These are skills that are transferred from one generation to another, from master artisan to budding apprentice. They also involve an obsessively detailed and time-intensive process, as only traditional tools and methods are used in the creation of authentic handcrafted goods.
In Morocco, you can find unique handmade products from the various artisan castes scattered throughout the country, from Moroccan rug artisans to blacksmiths, leatherworkers and metalworkers. Each community is centered around a different craft, and many of these crafts have been passed down from generation to generation since medieval times or even before. Even today, there are still over 5,000 castes in Morocco with each caste carrying out its own specialized craftsmanship through the generations. If you can imagine it being made by hand you can find it being made by artisans in Morocco.
The craft of Morocco has a long history. Morocco’s location in Northern Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea provided opportunities for trading with other nations. Craftsmen from Spain, Andalusia, France, Italy and many other Mediterranean nations migrated to Morocco during its colonial period bringing their traditions with them.
Art of Moroccan Carpets
The craft of carpet-making in Morocco is more than just a dying art—it’s an essential part of Moroccan culture. The carpets are made by Moroccan men called Artistanats, who use their knowledge to create intricately handcrafted works of art. Carpets are usually made out of wool or silk thread with hand-dyed patterns designed on looms.
Art Moroccan Traditional Costume
Moroccan clothing is a unique mix of styles from all over Africa. The Djellaba is a long, loose garment similar to a robe with an opening for your head which you can slip on without using your hands. It fastens at one shoulder by means of tassels. The traditional Moroccan shoe called babouche is made out of papier maché so it’s not surprising that it has a somewhat fragile-looking construction. Moroccan carpets can be used as floor coverings, wall hangings or as tablecloths. Traditionally, many Moroccan homes will have at least one carpet covering some surface area for decoration purposes. Some homes may even go so far as having all but a handful of floor surfaces covered with rugs—which is why they’re popularly referred to as the fifth wall. A well-made rug can last decades and bring families together for evening meals around them every night.
Art of Moroccan Jewellery Making
The craft was first popularised in Morocco by Jewish people who were forced to migrate to Morocco during Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. The town of Fes is home to some of the most well-known artisans from where one can buy Moroccan jewelry made from Silver with gemstones such as agate, amethyst, jasper, onyx as well as many other materials including corals.
Art of Moroccan pottery
Traditional Moroccan artisans carve clay into sculptures and housewares, many of which can be found in museums and private collections. The beauty and cultural significance of these items is undeniable—it’s no wonder there’s a growing market for handmade clay products. With their help, we can keep ancient crafts alive as we continue to develop our modern society.
Art of Moroccan leather
The city of Fez is best known for its role in Moroccan leather crafts. The historic city, founded in 809 CE by Idris I, was an early Islamic capital and home to a succession of dynasties for nearly 1,000 years. Fez is particularly well-known for its tanneries; an estimated 70% of leather produced there ends up as high-quality footwear. Almost every family has someone who works in one or more workshops, making shoes or belts or bags, among other things.
Art of Moroccan wood
Among local crafts, wood is famous. Many artisans produce chests, chairs and doors using cedar, oak or other native woods such as argan and acacia. These items are both decorative and useful at home. This craft requires great skill and precision. The artisans use manual techniques such as sawing, carving and polishing. The artisan’s care in finishing is particularly impressive when it comes to doors that fit perfectly into their frames without any gaps between them when closed.