In Marrakech, there are many traditional artisanal trades that have been practiced for centuries, passed down from generation to generation. One such craft skill is the art of Tazoukt. Tazoukt is a form of woodcraft in which wooden items – including panels, boxes, ceilings and furniture – are painted in intricate patterns. The designs are often use traditional Moroccan colours of red, representing Marrakech, and blue, representing Fez, in a colourful design that is not dissimilar to the swirling Arabic carvings.
Whilst exploring the Marrakech Medina we met Taoufik, a 37 old year craftsman who specialised in artisanal craft of Tazoukt. Taoufik owns a small shop (atelier) situated in the heart of the Marrakech souks. He explained that he had left school in 1992 to train as a carpenter. Indeed, before you learn the art of Tazoukt wood decoration, you first need to train as a carpenter.
Taoufik explained that he had worked a few years as a carpenter. These years spent in carpentry are very useful to his practice of Tazoukt decoration as can he choose and manufacture his own objects and small pieces, before decorating these objects. In his atelier (shop) Taoufik makes and sells many small items including boxes, stools, frames, panels and more. He also works on larger commissions, often designing and painting wooden ceilings in traditional Riads.
Indeed, it is possible to see Tazoukt wood painting in out own luxury Riads, here in the heart of the Marrakech Medina. Many rooms have wooden ceilings or small pieces of furniture that feature this ancient artisanal craft. Alternatively, it is also possible to purchase some traditional Tazoukt painted items from the world famous souks.
Just like the traditional art of Tazoukt wood painting, a fantastic range of craft skills are thriving in the Souks of Marrakech still today. To help visitors explore these artisanal crafts, trade associations and local authorities have signposted four walking routes through the medina themes to reflect the districts they take you though. You can follow these Medina Walks on our free MarrakechRiad app. If you have any questions about the Medina Walks our Riad staff would be more than happy to assist you.
Hassan the young wood turner works on a street corner near to the Ben Yussef Mosque in Central Marrakech just a few hundred yards from Riad Cinnmaon. His traditional North African lathe is powered by his right hand while his left hand and feet control his tools, this is in contrast to a European pole lathe which is foot powered.
The busy life of the street does not disturb his concentration as he turns a babies rattle in minutes. Hassan is always delighted to demonstrate for visitors, and a modest tip is of course welcome! Make your reservation today to experience the ancient medina in an authentic boutique hotel.
Marrakech Riad are exceptionally proud to have contributed to keeping alive a number of ancient crafts through the renovation of our traditional Riads into boutique hotels. Delicate plasterwork, Zelige tilework, hand carved woodwork and tadelakt bathrooms are all examples of this.
Tadelakt is a traditional Moroccan lime plaster traditionally used in Hamman’s and bathrooms. Originally made from egg-yolks, horsehairs, lime and local earth modern tadelakt is a less exotic mixture but still coloured with natural pigments. Renowned american designer Bill Willis is said to have been the first to take tadelakt out of the bathroom and use it decoratively elsewhere in the home- on fireplaces, walls, floors and even ceilings.
This material is high maintenance but incredibly beautiful and very pleasant to live with. Our Marrakech Riad staff regularly polish the tadelakt in our bathrooms with naturual soap- savon noir.
Tadelakt originated in the Marrakech region but is now to be found extensively in other parts of Morocco.