Rabat Stole
Rabat Stole
Rabat Stole
Rabat Stole
Rabat Stole
Rabat Stole

Rabat Stole
Early 20th c

During the15th and 16th centuries with the Christian reconquest of Spain, Muslims from Andulasia in southern Spain, fled to North Africa. Many arrived in Rabat and took with them their embroidery skills. Professional embroideresses ma'allama, taught young girls from 6 - 15 the art of embroidery, as well as lessons from the Koran and etiquette of a future bride.* The patterns were stretched on a frame, drawn with a pencil onto the background material and then embroidered by the girls. The designs were sold to brides and for their dowries.

I believe this stole is a derra, worn over the shoulders. The coloured floss silk embroidery is reversible. The central ground is most attractive with

This piece could be late 19th but as I am not sure I am suggesting early 20thc. The purple must be an aniline dye, but possibly the other silks are vegetable or mineral.



The densely embroidered ends with a central zig zag design outlined in carmine, flanked by panels of stylised plant motifs, worked in satin stich with thick floss silks in shades of carmine, apricot, soft brown, grey, banana, violet, purple, the side borders similar, the ends with a macrame tasselled fringe, in similar colours but with the addition of a mid green, orange and rich yellow, the central cream cotton ground tambour embroidered in cream cotton with four horizontal flower repeats, seven vertical repeats. 

6ft 5 in x 26 in; 1.95 x 66cm


The two densely embroidered ends and side borders are in very very good condition. All the tassels are in place.  The central cream ground has one minute hole the size of a pinhead and one slightly larger on one side next to the embroidered border. There are five very small blood? marks, from the size of a pin head to the size of the end of a pencil. There is a slight discoloouration, palest lemon to a little of the white centre.  I only noticed this when I pinned the stole to my photo board, so hardly noticeable. A photo will always emphasis markings.


*African Textiles by John Gillow p 140

The Embroideries of North Africa by Caroline Stone p 48-62

Price: on request

Ref N°: 1078

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