Name of Object:

Kaftan

Location:

Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Museum of the Udayas

Date of Object:

Hegira 13th century / AD 19th century

Museum Inventory Number:

5432/D3922

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Velvet, gold embroidery, frogging.

Dimensions:

Length 140 cm, top width 145 cm, bottom width 100 cm

Period / Dynasty

'Alawid

Provenance:

Tetouan, Morocco.

Description:

A woman's garment, rectangular in shape, widening slightly towards the top and open at the front with long, wide sleeves. Braided conical buttons fasten the garment at the top.
The word 'kaftan' was originally Persian and was adopted by the Ottomans to describe their emperor's dress. It would have been introduced in Morocco by the Sa'did king 'Abd al-Malik (r. AH 984–6 / AD 1576–8), who had lived in Algiers and Istanbul and would have borrowed the word from the Turks. Adopted firstly by the dignitaries and women of the palace, kaftans became fashionable among the middle classes from the late AH 10th / AD 17th century, if the accounts of European travellers are to be believed. Each of the large towns had a particular variation of this type of costume, which would have been covered with a light tunic. Its shape and decoration tell us that this kaftan is from Tetouan. It would not have been hidden under a tunic and would have been worn above a bolero made in the same way and in the same material. Embroidered with gold thread, gold braids and frogging, its arborescent decoration is reminiscent of the designs on the dresses and boleros of Ottoman women in Algeria.

View Short Description

This woman's garment is rectangular and slightly opened at the front. It would have been worn above a bolero, and the braided buttons fastened the top of the garment. Its gold thread and gold braiding decoration would have been inspired by the clothes worn by Ottoman women in Algiers.

How date and origin were established:

This type of kaftan was produced only in Tetouan and was worn only by middle-class women in the north of Morocco.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased.

How provenance was established:

This type of kaftan was no longer worn at the beginning of the 20th century.

Selected bibliography:

Besancenot, J., Costumes et types du Maroc, Paris, 1940.
Lemprière, G., Voyage dans l'Empire du Maroc et le Royaume de Fès, fait pendant les années 1790 et 1791, Paris, 1801.
Miège, J.-L., Benaboud, M., Erzini N., Tétouan, ville andalouse marocaine, Paris, 1996.
Pidou de Saint-Olon, F. Relation de l'Empire de Maroc où l'on voit la situation du pays…, Paris, 1694.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Kaftan" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;ma;Mus01_B;45;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 67

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 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Alawids


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