‘Morocco in Abu Dhabi’ providing the opportunity to observe and explore the traditional handicrafts for businessman ran till 30th April this year. Traditional workmanship has been an important factor for the ties between the UAE and Morocco.
These Moroccan craftsmen have acquired these very fantastic skills from their ancestors successively. The precision and quality of their skills are breathtaking. Some important handworks these artisans specialize in are metal such as silver and copper engravings, embroidery, Tazwaqt, pottery, and wood sculptures. These famous components of Islamic legacy including Amlou and Henna tattoo are kept bustling with life by the effort of these traditional craftsmen. Unlike the other traditional arts around the world, these have not stayed immune to the change and the craftsmen across generations have added their input to enrich it further. The result is that these artworks are available in a tremendous diversity that absolutely delights the senses.
One important craft among these is pottery. The main ingredient required for this work is clay that is handled in a unique way to produce the Moroccan pottery. First, it is cleaned thoroughly from the stones and pebbles. After this process, the cleaned clay is submerged in water for a very long period. After that, it is sundried and prepared for further processing. It is processed further on a special foot-operated wheel. During this, the craftsmen use their hand to include water in the clay to reach the required malleability and shape it as desired. This product is then sundried to prepare for putting in the oven. In the final stage, it is prepared in the oven that is heated between 900-1200 degrees. This entire process gives a unique touch to the pottery and makes it highly worthwhile.
Another related handicraft is Zellige tiles. These tiles are also prepared from clay but this clay is not refined like in the pottery. This craft is also known as Zelij or Zilij. Because of the impurities of the stone and pebbles, there is a unique tone, depth, and shine to these tiles. These special tiles are important components of the Moroccan architecture and are widely used in the walls and the floors.
The most evolved handicraft though is the craft of Urban jewelry. This craft of making beautiful ornaments usually made from the gold has been preserved and enriched by the generation after generation. These pieces of craft are generally decorated further using the precious stones. Similarly, Rural jewelry which is usually crafted using Silver is also very important craftwork. These silver artworks are considered very prestigious and are worked upon very finely. Same to their urban counterparts they also showcase the motifs of flowers and geometric shapes.
Among these, the artwork that encompasses the lives of Moroccan women is the craft of embroidery. Embroidery has played an important role in the lives of the women and has been passed on from generation to generation. It can be said that this craftsmanship is the most constant artform across all cities of Morocco.
Apart from these other important crafts displayed in the ‘Morocco in Abu Dhabi’ were Engravings on Copper and Silver metals, and Saddle making.