The Best Moroccan Berber Baskets Ever Made

The Medina of Marrakech can certainly overwhelm the senses with its vibrant colors, cultures, and aromas that seem infinite through the dizzying meanders of the labyrinthine layout.
But it is the woven Berber baskets with their shiny pompoms, leather straps and other decorations that are stacked, hung in the air or draped in the Berber market in the Rahba Lakdima square that is most striking.
Basket weaving is a traditional art found in indigenous communities around the world. The local environment dictates the natural materials that can be used and the intrinsic techniques passed down from generation to generation determine the design.
In Morocco, the indigenous people are the Berbers, who have lived in North Africa for at least 3000 years before Christ. Morocco is home to about 40% of the world’s Berber population, two-thirds of whom live in rural or mountainous areas.
The term “Berber” was first used by foreigners as a variation of the Greek word for the barbarian, but instead of a discriminatory connotation, it was used to describe anyone who did not speak Greek. Without any etymological basis, it has become somewhat generalized over the centuries.

Today, Berbers are proud to call themselves Amazigh (male), Tamazight (female), or Imazighen (plural), which means “free men” or “noble people”. There are many different tribes and dialects of their language, as well as traditional crafts with different motifs.
Those who are familiar with basket weaving can identify from which region each pattern comes from, depending on the material and style of weaving. So, for a calmer atmosphere and a better understanding of Moroccan craft culture, venture outside Marrakech.
A little over two hours’ drive west of Marrakech takes you to the coastal town of Essaouira. With the Atlantic Ocean as its border, you will find here baskets made of seagrass whose color changes naturally over time from green to yellow. The Haha Berbers are native to the region and bring their unique touch of weaving to the area.
If you head east, above the Atlas Mountains, you can visit the Tafilalet region, which is the largest oasis in the world, with an area of over 233 square miles and palm trees stretching for 30 miles along the Ziz River.
Palms are used for growing dates, an essential economic resource for local farmers, but are also an integral part of basket weaving. The use of natural fibers in the form of ribbons is common, especially in the leaves of a dwarf palm. These are unique weaving styles in the region, such as those of the Berbers of Ait Atta. However, over the last 20 years, the oasis has been severely affected by climate change.
Over the last century, Morocco has lost a third of its oases. Actively focused on restoring habitats and stimulating development, several national and international partnerships have been established to implement sustainable initiatives. To date, 1.8 million palm trees have been planted by locally-run social enterprises that provide innovative solutions.
In a world where we are increasingly aware of the devastating environmental impact of plastic pollution, the natural basket is once again yours, as the pure beauty of sustainability and craftsmanship. The handmade baskets often found in cities come from rural areas, and likewise, when you walk through them, you need to think about how far you can travel.

Basketry, the art of making intertwined objects, usually containers, from soft plant fibers such as twigs, herbs, wicker, bamboo and rushes, or from plastic or other synthetic materials. Containers made by this method are called baskets.
The traditional Moroccan basket has been used in the Maghreb since the beginning of time to fill up fruit and vegetables, having long since passed through the Mediterranean markets. It is, in fact, the ideal shopping bag.
This large basket of palm leaves comes with 2 long and 2 short straps, so you can carry it on your shoulder or hold it in your hand very comfortably. Moroccan baskets are known for their sturdy but flexible quality; these baskets are light, perfect for storage, ecological, ethical and beautiful, an indispensable accessory.

Going from the market to the beach is an easy step; the large basket will contain all your essential beach items, including a very large beach towel. And from the beach to the city is another natural transition to this basket, if you want to prolong the holiday feeling and stay fresh and stylish.
In fact, the straw basket has been used as a ladies’ handbag for some time, culminating in the 1950s when it was adopted by haute couture. However, urban girls had already adopted it in its original, “raw” version in the United States and Paris.
Today, the Moroccan basket is still an essential summer accessory, whether in Italy, Provence or the Balearic Islands, and no one in their right mind would choose anything else for their holidays.

Although it seems that basketry may be better defined as the art or craft of basketry, it is one of those designations whose boundaries seem to be blurring as attempts are made to encompass it. In this category, basketry can include containers made of a fairly rigid woven material, but it can also include flexible bags made of indistinct netting or furniture made of the same materials and using the same processes as conventional basketry.
In fact, neither function, appearance, material, nor form of construction alone are sufficient to define the scope of what common sense, however, recognizes as basketry.
In this discussion, it is understood as a relatively large and rigid assembly of plant fibers made by hand to form a continuous surface, usually (but not exclusively) a container. The consistency of the materials used distinguishes basketry, which is handmade, from weaving, in which the flexibility of the threads requires the use of a device to tension the warp, the longitudinal threads.
What basketry has in common with weaving is that both are means of joining separate fibers by twisting them in different ways.