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    National Jewelry Museum: Morocco’s Cultural Heritage Lives On

    The museum features jewelry and caftans, both of which are important aspects of Moroccan heritage.

    18 Jan 2023

    Rabat - Rabat's National Museum of Jewelry has attracted nearly 40,000 visitors in less than a week. The museum documents Morocco's cultural heritage while also protecting it from cultural appropriation.

    Morocco's Princess Lalla Hasnaa inaugurated the museum on January 7.

    “Morocco's national museum of jewelry makes a strong entry on the Moroccan museum scene,” reported Morocco’s news agency (MAP).

    The museum building had multiple renovations and now has a new design.

    “A renovation has restored the building to its former glory, while remaining true to the spirit of the place,” Morocco's National Foundation of Museums (FNM) said in its press release.

    The museum is located within the stunning Andalusian Gardens at Kasbah of the Oudayas. It features vibrant, colorful jewelry and caftans, both of which are important aspects of Moroccan cultural heritage.

    The museum also features King Mohammed VI’s personal collection of Amazigh jewelry.

    The foundation's description of the jewelry's design read: “Handcrafted with ancestral techniques, Moroccan jewelry is distinguished by its richness and diversity reflecting the regional and national cultural identity.”

    The museum is divided into five exhibition rooms; the first room is devoted to the history of jewelry and the manufacturing process.

    The second room is dedicated to the history of Moroccan attire, including the signature Moroccan caftan.

    #Rabat's national #jewelry #museum located within the stunning #Andalusian Gardens at #Kasbah of the Oudayas features vibrant, colorful #jewelry and #caftans, both of which are important aspects of Moroccan cultural #heritage.#MWN #Morocco #culture pic.twitter.com/985CpE62v1

    — Morocco World News (@MoroccoWNews) January 17, 2023

    The third room displays men’s jewelry while the fourth room is dedicated to Amazigh jewelry.

    The exhibition also put the spotlight on regional differences between the major urban jewelry production centers.

    To celebrate the museum’s reopening, Morocco's National Foundation of Museums allows free access to the museum, from January 9 to 23, 2023.

    The restoration project was carried out in collaboration with Rabat Amenagement, the Wilaya of Rabat, the Ministry of Youth and Culture, and Morocco's National Foundation of Museums.

    ‘For the jewelry and caftans to live, they must be worn and preserved’

    In an interview with Morocco World News (MWN), Founder of the Oriental Fashion Show (OFS) Hind Joudar, emphasized the important role of museums in heritage preservation: “Museums are important institutions for displaying the material elements of Moroccan culture and its diversity,” she explained.

    Joudar stressed that caftans and jewelry have been and will always be a part of the Moroccan identity.

    “For the jewelry and the caftan to live on and remain a part of Moroccan heritage, they must be worn and, more importantly, preserved,” she said.

    The Moroccan fashion expert recalled the caftan exhibition held during the 17th session of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Rabat.

    Founder of the Oriental Fashion Show Hind Joudar

    She noted that the exhibition displayed the regional diversity of Moroccan caftans, including embroidery, weaving, ornamentation, and beadwork.

    During the event, Morocco and UNESCO signed an agreement to train experts from 12 African countries on how to protect world heritage sites and add new editions to the heritage list.

    Fighting cultural appropriation

    Caftans displayed at Rabat’s National Museum of Jewelry

    Joudar highlighted that the caftan–one of the world's oldest traditional garments and an important component of Moroccan cultural identity–, has been subjected to “mediatization and internationalization,” which has exposed it to “cultural appropriation.”

    Joudar proposed establishing a legal framework to safeguard not only the caftan but also the entirety of Moroccan culture so that it can be preserved.

    The caftan is at the heart of Joudar’s oriental fashion show, “All of the first fashion shows from 2004 to 2014 were almost entirely devoted to the caftan,” she said.

    Joudar reiterated that although other types of clothing have been integrated into the oriental fashion show, the caftan has remained the most important element, and has been presented in several countries worldwide.

    “At each presentation, the caftan dazzles the public and the press,” she enthused.

    In June 2022, The Oriental Fashion Show organized the first edition of the Morocco Fashion Week (MFW) in Morocco's red city Marrakech.

    Joudar highlighted that the MFW aims to create a hub for Moroccan fashion and its development.

    The next edition of MFW will be held in Marrakech from March 9 to March 12.

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