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Moroccan traditional art

Moroccan traditional art is made conspicuous in the forms, the colors, related on the history and the way of life of the inhabitants of the inhabitants. Those take place their and "crowned" moments, which are the reflection of their interior life, their thoughts intimate and which determine their acts banals and exceptional.

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Among these acts, that to create holds a significant place, because it is the bond with nature that the man ambitionne to control, dominate for its safety and its balance. The craftsman impregnates himself his privileged moments, it delivers them in formed drawings of lines and points, which it will apply to the usual objects of his environment or which it will engrave on the human body, in the form of tattooing.

Tattooing is a mode of expression of the body known in the oldest civilizations. It carries the trace of a culture which is impregnated on the body and makes the skin mediating between the interior and the outside of the tattooed person.

When objets d'art are decorated by the same drawings that those with tattooings, it is established between the body and the object an exceptional symbiosis, as that is the case in Moroccan art. The reasons for tattooings can thus be regarded as an original but exclusive plastic element of this art.

They are definitely different from those practised in the other Moslem countries where, as in Morocco, about half of the rural population tattooed itself until these last years. Many are the women and sometimes men who are tattooed; the many also evidence of the projection of these body drawings on the objets d'art.

Parallel surprising between the tattooing and the decorative reasons of the carpets, the jewels, the ornaments.

Tattooing is an abstract art aesthetically structured, although it is made of points and features apparently elementary, but which actually, falls under a "plastic speech" in the form of a combination of simple geometric standards, organized in visual spaces closed or opened, never figurative.

Closed visual space is consisted the assembly of lines which determine elementary geometrical figures: square, rectangle, rhombus, and more rarely the circle. Each one of these geometrical figures bears a name.

For example, the square in the carpet is called eddar (house), the equilateral triangle el foul (broad bean), the rhombus el to aïr (the eye), the point which is a circle with which surface is full, el hebba (grain).

Open visual space consists of lines which take all the directions (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, etc...) and join according to innumerable positions', without forming geometrical surfaces by their intersections.

These two forms are engraved on the body or are reproduced on the rural objets d'art, either insulated, or associated in a generally asymmetrical juxtaposition, but which fills the surface decorated with a remarkable balance by its composition and an exceptional harmony by its colouring.

The symbols appear as well in the oral tradition as graphic their support in the latter is the drawing, than one regards as a sign. These are the signs which cover different the traditional objets d'art as well as the human body (graphics from.

Some among them is still indeed, others lost their directions. Some, very few, still persist: tarnaca formed of five points on the back of the hand protègerait against the evil eye, selsla (chain) made of a series of rhombuses being touched by an angle, would protect from adultery...

An attempt was made bring closer these drawings the writing phenician, then of the Berber writing, the thifinar, but neither one nor the other correspond to the innumerable combinations of tattooing.

The localization of tattooing is very variable according to whether it are of a man or a woman. At the man, his place perhaps nose, the hand or the right arm. In this last case, it judicious is given to the man forces it in perilous situations and protects from the dangers.

At the woman, several parts of the body can be tattooed: the face, the chin, cheeks, the chest, the neck, arms, feet, and sometimes the pubis.

Tattooing is made during a family ceremony to mark certain privileged moments of the life of a woman, puberty, marriage, birth of the first child... It is carried out by a woman, more rarely a man, which is not obligatorily professionals and who are solicited for their competence and their knowledge of the significance of the signs.

There are several techniques of which we will describe here only most commonly widespread:

: the tatoueuse trace the reason on the skin using blue of washing machine, reduced beforehand out of fine powder. It applies above ergoté blue, then using a needle, it slightly pricks the skin following of the lines already drawn by the powder to which it added dry and pulverized sheets of volubilis. The meeting is then finished and it does not remain any more that to await the end of the inflammatory reaction to see appearing the drawings, of which more and most beautiful are of a color blue-green, which persists all the life. One can classify tattooings in three groups, which proceed of a different set of themes.

Tattooing, signs membership social seems

Tattooing establishes a final destination between two communities or two individuals: the tattooing of identification can announce to a group some individuals having an authority of a temporal nature, a particular statute.

The interregional migrations and the rural migration led, since several tens of years, to a mixing of the various Moroccan social groups (wandering and sedentary, rural and town). However, certain families have a tattooing which means the membership of the same line or the same tribe. Thanks to tattooings, one can specify the generation to which belongs the tattooed woman, because the reasons obey the rules of the female mode and change with it.

Sometimes, it is on the level of a whole area that one is found finds a precise tattooing. In this case, the word decorates the body is also reproduced on the carpets, the potteries, the jewels. Such correspondences show the possibility for enthralling research which made it possible to establish a regional chart of tattooings and their signs, in connection with the various traditional rural objets d'art. Tattooing seems to go hand in hand with the structure tribale which was, during centuries, the base of the rural organization in Morocco: its statutory, cultural value is any doubt to me.

Tattooing, charms love and ornament

The drawing of a tattooing remains a long time engraved in memory. Can one then suppose that the body of that which is marked by it will escape the lapse of memory? A simple geometrical reason can it increase the capacity of fascination of this body and suggest an unsuspected erotism?

Dear reader, it is permissible for you to imagine it...

On the face, tattooing brings closer the eyebrows, the lengthening-piece and gives to the glance an intensity which can make forget the imperfections of the face. Drawn on the face, it plays the role of the erotic mask. When it is prolonged chin with the neck, it dissimulates the misdeeds of the age. When it is continued until the birth of the centres and with the navel, it lets suspect of unknown pleasures...

By creating illusions, tattooing seems well to fill a role of charm and satisfies the insatiable need that has the woman to like...

Tattooing, magic capacity and mystical significance

A certain number of tattooings have a direction symbolic system. They are perceived like such, but not always, by the community which uses them. They correspond to impulses which escape the rational one: they are the bond between the conscious one and the unconscious one. Their language, which replaces the verb admirably, delivers to us a quantity of untranslatable significances in words... They milked with the anguish, died and the daily tragedy, that each one saw and tries to face by seeking its balance perpetually.

The execution of these tattooings belongs to the practices of initiation, which mark the entry in the adult life, marks accession with a certain degree of social maturity.

It is during the puberty pre time, between ten and sixteen years that the majority of the girls, 80% approximately, are tattooed in Morocco. By this act, the family informs the community which the young girl, will be soon available for the marriage. It is his/her mother who chooses for it the model of tattooing and the body part where it will be engraved. They are the motivations of the mother and not of the girl. The tattooed young person, flattered by the choice of his mother will only include/understand it later, when it is identified with him.

She will find there a justification with the acts which are in intimate connection with its being, and also a protection vis-a-vis a future which she would like so much to especially provide to determine. These tattooings grant required safety to him and will appear to him equipped with magic power, as they are it already for its social group. She will not hesitate to make engrave over body of other tattooings, throughout her life, to protect itself from the new threats who surround it and attack it. Tattooing is thus practised there with the significance of a protective symbol against bad the spirits. It seems to be explained for a need for individual and collective recognition, but especially by a concern of establishing, using certain signs on its own body, an effective defense against any malefic power.

The design and the practice of tattooings in the Moroccan company make it possible to highlight the value of the signs and the lines which form it; it especially makes it possible to show how much this act is related to the intimate life in the rural world. Consequently, it appears legitimate to think that the creators, in rural art, did not fail to draw their models there to adapt them to the objects which it had to draw. Sometimes only a memory vagueness was retained.

This analogy involves some questions: since when exist the signs? Were they created in a remote past in first for the human body or the inert matter?

How does made this osmosis enter the body and the matter? Which is its significance?

As many enthralling questions to which it is difficult to claim to answer definitively in l?état current of knowledge. What  is, analogy of the signs and the symbols between tattooings and other expressions of art is a reality which gives force and a powerful impact with this art by which artist communicates this cannot say by the word often retained by the social taboos if anchored in the depths of inconscient and also by the word often retained by the social taboos if anchored in the depths of inconscient and also by decency Islam. These symbols and these signs are as mirrors which reflect an imperceptible world. But still it is necessary, to recognize this universe, accept to enter to perceive this hid there in this art, closely related to the concerns of evolving/moving within its natural framework, inexhaustible d?inspiration source.

Christelle Le Gallo illustration: JL Biston

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