Blanket or rug
Unknown artist, Moroccan, Morocco
Blanket or rug, ca. 1910
Wool plain and twill weave with supplementary weft patterning
Length: 297.2 cm (117 inches)
Gift of Miss Julia Brewster in memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Newton Bosworth 43.260
The hanbel is a familiar textile type in North Africa, where it is woven and used by Berber tribeswomen in Morocco, Algeria, and Libya. Created on a vertical loom for domestic use, the hanbel may serve as either blanket or rug, depending on where it was made. Although all Berber textiles woven on the vertical loom are related in their patterning of horizontal stripes, each hanbel type is associated with a particular region. In the High Atlas, where Berber tribes lead the more settled life of farmers, the hanbel is sober, flat-woven in bands of natural colors, as here. ‘Sober’ should not, however, be taken to mean ‘simple.’ This hanbel is a rich mixture of weaving techniques differing from band to band.