History of the Museum of Berber Art In One Minute

© Jardin Majorelle
© Jardin Majorelle
Photo of Mandy Sinclair
15 September 2020

Tucked inside the Majorelle Gardens, where Yves Saint Laurent once resided with his partner Pierre Bergé, the Museum of Berber Art houses a stunning collection of everyday and ceremonial items, jewellery and tribal costumes.

Bergé’s fascination of the Berber people and culture led to him opening the museum inside the famous Majorelle blue Art Deco house in 2011.

Upon entrance, guests are introduced to the tools used in everyday Berber life including leather satchels, baskets, kitchen materials and more. But the displays also show the rich diversity of skills and knowledge of the tribes including basket weaving, intricate woodcarvings in doorways and traditional locks, pottery and even leatherwork.

The second room houses an exceptional exhibition of Berber jewelry, featuring beautiful silver smithing combining precious material like amber and coral among others. The elaborate designs are often used as a means of saving – something to sell during hard economic times. But the designs are also believed to ward off evil and protect people from bad luck and illness.

As you step into the final room, mannequins are displayed wearing tribal dresses from across the kingdom. A wedding blanket drapes the shoulders of a mannequin representing women from the Imilchil region, while a colorful hat covers the head of a mannequin representing the masculine styles worn in Zemmour in the Middle Atlas Mountains. Through the fashion displayed, one can appreciate and witness first-hand the weaving techniques of each region.

The small gift shop at the exit has one of the best selections of coffee table books, including topics about Morocco, Berber tribes and architecture. Allow approximately 35 minutes to visit the museum and admire the textiles and tribal jewels.

The museum is open from 8am to 5:30pm from 1 October until 30 April. It’s open until 6pm from 1 May to 30 September, and 9am to 5pm during Ramadan.

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