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This revised edition of Living in Morocco celebrates the indigenous arts of a country at the height of a cultural renaissance. Morocco is known for fine leather and for pottery that dates back a thousand years. Berber rugs are justly famous, and there is a thriving tradition of woodworking, especially in the native thuya wood. Most extraordinary, though, is Morocco's decorative painting and tilework, where, forbidden by religion to depict human figures, craftsmen have developed a vocabulary of pattern and ornament. The book is filled with brightly colored ceilings, decorated courtyards and walls, plaster of Paris carved and painted in intricate geometrics, tiles so small that 150 could fit in a matchbox.
Lavishly illustrated chapters on decorative and folk arts alternate with chapters on Moroccan life today. We visit Chaouen in the Rif Mountains (a city only recently open to Westerners), where the town's undulating surfaces are painted a bone-chilling blue-tinted white. We peer into an abandoned kasbah in the Sahara, and absorb the sights, sounds, and smells of the frenzied souk. We take time out in the shady blue-and-pink environs of the Majorelle Gardens, laid out by French painter Jacques Majorelle, and explore the story behind La Mamounia, the famous hotel that has welcomed such guests as Winston Churchill. Most important, we see Morocco's arts brought to life in its homes -- from former harems totraditional Hispano-Moorish houses.
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