Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1921 Rif Berber chief
Subject: tribal chief
Culture: Rif Berber
Setting: Rif wars, Morocco 1893-1926

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Maier 1996 p101
"Morocco had been the last North African country to be subdued by the Western powers.  Even after 1912 France found the tribes notoriously difficult to subdue.  Rom Landau has pointed out that 'three Marshals, forty generals, and almost half a million Franco-Spanish troops were required to bring the Riffian warrior to defeat'.  Even in defeat -- Abd el Karim capitulated in May 1926 -- he was a striking figure, even to his enemies. ...  '[...] Some [French soldiers] even assured him of their sympathy in his defeat'. [citations omitted]
    "The historical Abd el Karim was no savage, and the Riffians were noteworthy in Morocco for their interest in science and rather severe religious commitment to Islam. ... Abd el Karim was a warrior in the grand style, a horseman and a swordsman who fought for a noble cause, to throw off the colonial yoke.  To a society that had seen the nature of war change in World War I, Abd el Karim was a reminder of more chivalrous times, when man-to-man combat and personal honor took precedence over the anonymity of weapons that killed often and at a distance."


* Harrold/Legg 1978 p139
"The men of the Rif mountains wear short djellabas with a wide leather belt around the waist."

* Sumberg 2010 p123
"The djellaba was worn in many parts of Morocco by men as the outermost garment.  Styles varied by region, some more fitted, of different colors or fabrics and with different decoration.  The wide, loose djellaba with sleeves was worn by Kabyle Berbers in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco.  The cloth made from hand-spun wool weft on cotton warp was probably woven at home."

* Evans 1938 p262
"The Moor is a handsome, striking figure, wrapped head and body in a creamy, white wool or cotton k'sa that is merely a strip of material about six yards long, draped with skill and grace.  When unwound this out-of-door garment displays very loose cotton drawers that scarcely reach the ankles; the kumya, a shirt that fastens down the front with very close-set buttons and loops; and a similarly secured roomy coat, the farrajîyah, with extremely wide and long sleeves.  Brown, light blue, and green are the favored colors for this garment.  In inclement weather a three-quarter length cloak with hood, the djellaba, is worn.  The selhám, or burnus, so generally used in the north of Africa as a travelling garment, is a somewhat elliptically-shaped cloak of striped or plain wool or camel's hair cloth that matches in color the rest of the costume.  The square-cut hood with heavy tassels at the corners may be drawn over the head, or allowed to fall down the shoulders and back.  It is tied at the neck or held by a clasp.  Final touches of color are added in loose-fitting slippers of lemon-colored leather and a red fezsháshîah, or a large white turban, amárah."

* Porch 2005 p116 (describing al Raisuni's occupation of Tangiers, 1904-1906)
"Raisuni's Rif tribesmen, draped in their brown jellabas and armed to the teeth, swaggered through the town picking quarrels or entering European shops to 'requisition' a rifle, a bolt of cloth, a teapot or whatever struck their fancy."


* Boele ed. 2004 p126 (Mohamed Saadouni & Vincent Boele, "Moroccan celebrations" p124-137)
"Rural jewellery originates in Berber and Saharan traditions.  In contrast to the organised urban jewellers, rural silver- and goldsmiths work individually.  The basic material is silver.  Decorations are usually geometric and abstract."




​* Hattstein/Delius eds. 1999 p322 caption (Natascha Kubisch, "Decorative Arts" p322-323)
"Curved silver daggers finely engraved with decorative motifs and inlaid with jewels were regarded among the Berbers as symbols of their bearer's dignity."