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Metal Marvels: My Discovery of Moroccan Metalworking Heritage

by nizar ennabil on July 30, 2023

As I roamed the winding alleys of Morocco, I was struck by the richness of its metalworking traditions. A jewel of Moroccan craftsmanship, the variety of materials and techniques used, testified to the seamless fusion of numerous foreign influences.

One such craft is jewelry. The perfect expression of feminine sensitivity and elegance, jewelry-making is a flourishing and widely spread traditional art in Morocco that has endured for centuries. Its refinement can be traced back to the Jews who, expelled from Spain in the 15th century, found a welcoming haven in Morocco. This influence is particularly evident in the jewelry of Fès and Essaouira, renowned for their quality and intricacy. Today, the secrets of their craft are preserved by their Muslim successors who continue to operate in the jewelry souks of the mellahs (former Jewish quarters) in major cities like Fès and Marrakech.

Another fascinating tradition is that of dinanderie and ferronnerie, which have prospered since the Almohades era in the 12th century. This art form became a unique Moroccan specialty in the 14th century when Sultan Abou Inan commissioned magnificent bronze chandeliers and copper door dressings for the Karaouine Mosque. In this urban tradition, doors and beams were studded with iron and brass nails. Among the wealthier city families, door knockers were typically in bronze, copper, and brass, adopting the shape of Fatima's hand or a pentacle, while iron was predominantly used by the poorer families in the countryside.

Particularly remarkable is the Damasquinerie, an art form that hails from Damascus. This skill has been particularly honed in Meknès since the 11th century, a testament to the Eastern artisans' unrivaled mastery.

Navigating the streets and bazaars of Morocco, I felt a part of this rich, intertwined history of art and culture. Every piece I handpicked for Tuyya is not merely a product - it's a slice of history, a testament to centuries of tradition and craftsmanship. Through sharing these discoveries with you, I hope we can together appreciate the profound depth of skill and dedication that goes into every item on Tuyya. Come, let's unravel the wonders of Morocco, one craft at a time.