NA123 – Berber mouchtiya shawl, Tunisia, early to mid C20th, Cotton and wool, natural dyes. Size: 89 inches plus fringe x 37, 226 cm x 94.
Like the better known bakhnug shawls, these cloths were dyed subsequent to weaving, with the cotton motifs not picking up the madder red dye colour of the wool ground. The mottled effect was apparently deliberate and appears on other examples such as Reswick, Traditional Textiles of Tunisia, , Plate 11. For a similar piece in the collection of Yale University Art Gallery here: https://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/214619
Motifs represent amulets and also echo similar designs in women’s tattoos. The mouchtiya was a regional variant from the El Jem area and seems to have been particularly associated with weddings.
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