Moroccan Wedding Sash, Silk

Moroccan Wedding Sash

Object Name:
late 19th–early 20th century
Attributed to Morocco, Fez
Textile: L. 106 in. (269.2 cm)
W. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm)
Fringe: L. 21 3/4 in. (55.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1947
Accession Number:
Not on view
Sashes (l’ahzem) such as this one are an indispensable element of a woman’s wedding ensemble, and would be worn tied around the waist. Typically, the ornamentation of a Moroccan wedding sash is quartered with different background colors or patterns. This one has four sections which have the dominant colors red, maroon, yellow-green, and white. Sashes were always folded lengthwise to highlight one section of pattern, and wrapped several times around the waist, over the kaftan. They served as a decorative element as well as a substitute for a corset.
While sashes are decorated with a wide variety of design patterns, the ornament typically begins with a plain border two to three centimeters wide, followed by a section with the so-called "hand of Fatima" or "khamsa" pattern. While mostly worn in Muslim ceremonies, sashes like this one may have been woven by Berbers or Jews living in nearby communities, who were known to manufacture some of the finest Moroccan textiles.
[ H.A. Adams & Company, Inc., New York, until 1947; sold to MMA]