JEWELS IN AMAZIGH CULTURE
JEWELS IN AMAZIGH CULTURE
Source: Wikimedia, Mariam.J (Under licence)
Amazigh, Berbers…(= Imazighen = Free People) for many these words are more than familiar, the expression of their roots and cultural heritage. For others they still contain a part of mystery, so we decided for this first publication to make you discover or rediscover the Amazigh culture through the prism of its jewels.
Source: Philippesaharoff-photo.com, Portraits Maroc 15/21
The jewel: the first symbol of Amazigh culture
Whether they are found in Morocco, Algeria or Mali, the Amazighs represent an important community in Africa and regardless of the differences in the expression of their culture, a fundamental element remains: The jewel.
Even today, visiting certain regions, you can still see women proudly adorned with their jewels, even performing the simplest tasks of everyday life. But more than an aesthetic element, the jewel is a guardian of the Amazigh culture and allows a better understanding of the social and cultural elements that characterize this beautiful and rich culture.
Source: Pinterest, Hamed Alshabibi, Beautiful Morroco
The Amazigh Jewels: a statement of wealth
In Amazigh societies jewels are treasures of women and are passed on from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. On the occasion of their weddings, the young Amazigh women receive from their husbands or their stepfathers Jewels as a dowry.
Beyond their beauty, it is for the woman a guarantee of independence and financial security if she finds herself in a complicated situation with her companion.
However if jewelry is often associated with these ladies, Amazigh men are not left behind when it comes to pageantry. For example, it was very common to see them wearing fibulas, emblematic pieces in the Amazigh community, as brooches or staples.
Moreover, the Amazigh did not skimp on the aesthetic aspect of the sheaths or sleeves of their weapons, turning the latter into real accessories.
Source: Aïn Atlas, Bijoux et Apparats Amazigh
The religious beliefs and spirituality behind the Amazigh Jewelry.
Jewels as keepers of the Amazigh peoples' culture, tell a story through meaningful, complex and unique symbols. For example religious symbols such as the David’s Star or Qur'anic Doors that can be included in pieces of jewelry are very common.
Even more, we witness the presence of symbols that recall beliefs and rites that preceded the arrival of monotheistic religions and yet remain long after. The Amazigh peoples used some jewels as talismans for protective purposes or even in some cases to attract wealth or preserve the love of a husband.
Among the many traditional symbols of the Amazigh culture we can mention the snake symbol of fertility and man, the olive tree that refers to strength or the wheat symbol of life and death, the spiral: Perpetual Harmony. Many emblems anchored and linked to Nature that connect the Amazigh Man of all time and that emphasize on the timelessness of these jewels.
Source: Tumblr, Vintage National Geographic Scans, Algeria, August 1973
Yes, Amazigh jewels are unique and of unparalleled beauty, but they are also and above all, bearers of a History, a Culture, an ancestral Heritage that must be preserved.
Author: Elena Steen