Moroccan Style was a walk through exhibit dubbed by Disney as “The Art of Personal Adornment”, and a “Gallery of Art and History of Morocco”. Inside guests will find museum caliber exhibits that showcase clothing, jewelry, and body adornment of the Moroccan culture.
Signage inside the attraction reads:
The Art of Personal Adornment
Jewelry for men and women, intricate henna tattoos, and colorful hand woven textiles are all part of Morocco’s rich tradition of personal adornment. All of these objects can be appreciated for their beauty and craftsmanship. But these very personal items also tell a much richer story. Individuals and groups express their identity, history and culture through the choices they make in personal adornments.
This is particularly true for Imazighen people of Morocco. Known by their Romanized name, the Berbers were among the earliest inhabitants of the area and remain one of Morocco’s most distinctive cultures. Discover their traditions and stories through the ways in which they accessorize.
To Brighten the Eyes
Kohl is a natural cosmetic made from soot and a variety of ingredients. It has long been worn by Moroccan women to enhance their beauty. Kohl was also traditionally thought to protect the eyes from evil spirits and disease. Children of both sexes are often decorated with kohl on the seventh day after their birth when they receive their name and are introduced into society.
The Art of Henna
These elaborate temporary “tattoos” are created using a dye produced from the crushed leaves of the henna plant. Henna tattoos play an important role in weddings. The women of the wedding party gather on the evening before the ceremony for “The Night of Henna.” Older women paint the hands and feet of the bride and her party while they share wisdom about married life. According to tradition, the new bride must do no work until the tattoos have completely faded.
The Hand of Fatima
Symbolic jewelry has long been used to ward off evil and protect the wearer. Khamsa, the hand with five fingers, is one of the most popular icons in Morocco. The symbol represents Fatima, a daughter of the Prophet Mohammed. She is considered by Muslims to have been the ideal mother, wife and daughter. Incorporating the Khamsa into jewelry, clothing or other art forms is seen as a way to invoke her protection.
Scarves of Nature
Often hand woven by Imazighen on traditional wooden looms, colorful Moroccan derrat (scarves) are inspired by the dramatic, vibrant colors found in the marketplace.
The alluring hues of turquoise, yellow, red and green act as a base for the women’s clothing, while sequins and fringe add subtle movement. Motifs, such as peacocks and palm trees, are often woven into the derrat, linking the wearer to Morocco’s extraordinary natural world.
The traditional Moroccan male might own an exquisitely designed dagger and wear a single ring. Usually a git from his father, this ring will have an abstract design intended to help ward off evil and protect the son.
An Imazighen woman will wear many layers of jewelry that represent her social standing, marital status, and spiritual beliefs. Much of this jewelry will be passed from mother to daughter as part of the wedding dowry. The higher a woman’s standing, the larger and more elaborate the jewelry. On special occasions the amount of jewelry can be almost overwhelming.
Many Moroccan festivals are accompanied by a Fantasia. These equestrian extravaganzas celebrate the importance of horsemanship to traditional culture. Riders, dressed in elaborate costumes and perched atop saddles of hammered metal or embroidery, gallop toward each other at full speed before abruptly stopping to fire their rifles into the air.
Imazighen Wedding Jewelry
When an Imazighen man is about to marry, he commissions jewelry for his future wife. Traditionally the commission is given to his mother and sisters who will make new pieces from scratch or be recycling older jewelry. The unique creations for the new bride are meant to both enhance her beauty and protect her from misfortune. Silver, often used in bridal jewelry, is thought to be especially favored by Allah.
These short, rounded, rimless caps, or Taqiyah, are worn primarily by Muslim men. The cap is worn alone or under a turban; when worn with a turban, the Taqiyah is always white. The Taqiyah is a traditional headwear that pre-dates the Islamic movement, as Arabs have always worn something to cover their heads. The Taqiyah is a practical item of clothing for desert inhabitants. It helps to shield the wearer from the sun during the day and keeps heat from escaping through his head during the cold desrt nights. There are many designs woven into the hats, primarily arches, palm trees and geometric patterns.
The Dye is Cast
This brilliant blue scarf, known as a taguelmoust, which is a variant of a turban, denotes the semi-nomadic Tuareg tribe of the southern Sahara Desert. The taguelmoust, wound around the head and leaving only the eyes revealed, is worn by men known as the “blue people,” who rub blue dye onto their skin in order to protect themselves from the harsh desert sun. Due to desert conditions and lack of water, the Tuareg beat the powdered indigo color into the cloth rather than using more traditional dying methods.
Clothes That Fit
Women of the Rif Mountains prove that a functional wardrobe can also be colorful and attractive. The traditional straw hats (taraza) they were for protection from the sun are decorated with blue or black pom-poms and strings. Their white and red hand woven garment is tied onto the body providing a place to hide money or other precious items. Because rain is frequent in the mountains they often wear rubber or plastic shoes.
The Water Seller
The Garrab, or Water Seller, can easily by found in the marketplace by the sight and sound of his costume. In this land where water is a precious commodity, he sells drinks by the cupful. The tools of his trade are a large leather pouch and many metal cups, which he wears on his chest. If the sound of the clanking cups isn’t enough to attract customers, he also wears a distinctive multicolored hat with fringe and pom-poms.
This woven wool shawl is worn by women in the Middle Atlas region to keep warm in the cold mountainous area the Zayan Tribe inhabit. The shawl is embellished with metal sequins and fringe on the exterior while the interior is decorated with colorful woven stripes that include symbolic patterns.
Symbol of Freedom
This jewelry’s triangular dangling shapes suggest the tail of a bird. This motif is seen often in Imazighen jewelry and is symbolic of their fierce independence. Just as the bird can fly away to freedom, the wearer is reminded of her own freedom and independence.
TIMES GUIDE - OPENING/CLOSING
This attraction typically opens at 11 AM with the rest of World Showcase.
While the exhibit does not have a sponsor, a sign inside the attraction reveals the source of the artifacts:
Epcot would like to thank the following individual and institutions for their generous support of this exhibition:
Dar Jamai Museum
The Museum of Anthropolgy at Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
The University of Missouri Museum of Anthropolgy
Dr. Rachel Newcomb
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Winter Park, Florida