Hanging (Arid)

Object Name: Hanging

Date: ca. 1800

Geography: Attributed to Morocco, Chefchaouen

Medium: Linen, silk; plain weave, embroidered

Dimensions: Textile: H. 106 1/2 in. (270.5 cm)
W. 31 3/4 in. (80.6 cm)
Mount: H. 109 3/4 in. (278.8 cm)
W. 36 1/8 in. (91.8 cm)
D. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)
Wt. 67 lbs. (30.4 kg)

Classification: Textiles-Embroidered

Credit Line: Purchase, Everfast Fabrics Inc. Gift, 1970

Accession Number: 1970.272


One of the rarest and finest examples of Moroccan embroidery, this wall hanging (arid) displays the most remarkable achievement of a Chefchaouene needlewoman's skills. The arids were used to cover the surrounding areas of interior arches in matching sets. Worked in plaited stitch, these panels contain geometric motifs based on tracery, arabesques, stars, rectangles, and diamonds, all closely associated with Andalusian tilework, woodcarving, and early textiles. Said to have been used as an altar curtain in a Nestorian church in Jerusalem, this particular piece is certainly conversant with a variety of cultures and civilizations. The importance of embroidery in Moroccan life can be illustrated by the ceremony held for every infant girl at the age of four months, when the baby was placed in a chair and given a needle and thimble along with some silk thread to hold, in anticipation of a life blessed with the needle's art.