The city of Fez in Morocco is known for its stunning embroideries and weaves. The city has been producing textiles since at least the 14th century. The two main staples of fez textiles are monochromatic cross stitched embroidered utilitarian textiles such as pillows and woven sashes.
The sashes were first worn by Fez brides but later became popular all over Morocco. As their width and stiffness made them hard to wear they were folded in half lengthwise.The common feature of a field divided into four main designs allows them to be worn in 4 different ways. They were folded lengthwise to display the desired pattern, and then wrapped several times over the waist of a kaftan.
The silk is first tie-dyed in ikat technique. Up to eight starched color wefts are used contributing to the stiffness. The weaving, done by women on special looms, is very complex and labor intensive.
Nowadays it is uncommon to find Fez belts still intact. Most belts were cut down the middle and split between two heirs of the original owner. Fez belts are mostly dated to the 19th century as their popularity decreased in the 20th century.
Like most belts of this style, this piece starts off with 2-3cm of a solid color, followed by a “hand of Fatima” pattern alternating with an 8 point star. The large center section is decorated with two different floral and medallion patterns, with two different color variations of each.
Circa: 19th Century
Origin: Fez, Morocco
Material: Silk and metallic thread
Condition: Very Good
Dimensions: 17" x 184" with tassels, 108" without
Inventory number: TX4946