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Historical threads: Morocco's last brocade master

Abdelkader Ouazzani, the last of Morocco's brocade master weavers, has been repeating the same gestures for 63 years in his dilapidated workshop in the heart of the old city of Fes.

"This profession is vanishing... There were many craftsmen in Fes, but they all died and only memories remain," says the 79-year-old weaver, the last witness of a bygone era.

His skillful hands intricately create shimmering silk fabrics, enhanced with gold or silver thread, for bridal jewellery, designer creations or high-end furnishings.

His entire body engages in the delicate job, using a complex drawloom mechanism made up of a large wooden frame topped with beams, rafters, blades, pulleys and counterweights.

His feet rest on the wooden pedals, his shoulders are bent forward, his arms move apart with each launch of the wooden shuttle.

"It's all a question of calculation, each thread takes its path: it's like mathematics," says the old man.

He is secretive about the "rules of the art" which he learnt long ago in his youth, when, he says, "there were no industrial machines" to do the job.

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Tags: #art, #morocco
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