Azemmour is a coastal Moroccan city that has existed since pre Roman times. By the 15th century its port became a popular way station for Portuguese explorers on their way around Africa. In the 16th century, with the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Iberia, many refugees settled there bringing with them rich European craft traditions.

Azemmour embroideries do not look like other Moroccan embroideries though they fulfill similar functions such as frontal covers for mattresses and curtain trimmings. The design is worked on plain white linen, standing in silhouette against a background that is completely filled in with single color embroidery, reminiscent of Italian embroidery.

Constant motif is the Chalice shaped vases. What is flanking them has evolved from Renaissance motifs in the seventeenth century to later on featuring dragons, snakes and mythical animals until the 19 century when flanking birds became the dominant features.

This embroidery, likely shortened from a longer panel, has a vertical symmetry and a design of heraldic crowns and armor against a burnt sienna ground, executed in plait, back and darning stitches.

Circa: 17th century

Origin: Morocco

Material: Silk on linen

Condition: One patched hole, repairs throughout, likely reduced in length

Dimensions: 10” x 57”

Inventory number: NS0009



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