Door Curtains from Rabat (Morocco)

Moroccan door curtain, 150 x 85 cm, first half 20th century. Moroccan door curtain, 150 x 85 cm, first half 20th century. Courtesy Harvard Museum, USA, acc. no. 1927.78.

Rabat is the modern capital of Morocco and is located along the Atlantic Ocean. It has long been known for its trade and the production of embroideries, and of embroidered door curtains (izar, pl. izur) in particular.

The basic design layout of a Rabat embroidered curtain (based on an extant, late nineteenth century pair) consists of two lengths of cloth sewn together into a large piece of material of various sizes. They were hung up in pairs, on both sides of a door, as decoration during ceremonial occasions.

The ground material used for the curtains may be muslin, plain cotton or net. The stitches used for the embroidered areas include back stitch, feather stitch, running stitch and satin stitch. The embroidery on the curtains normally forms a solid and/or wide band at the bottom of the curtain, with a tala, or minaret-shaped embroidered design at the place where the two lengths of cloth join, and sometimes on the outer edges as well.


  • BRUNOT-DAVID, Christiane (1943). Les broderies de Rabat, Rabat: Institut des hautes-études marocaines; Collection Hespéris.
  • DENAMUR, Isabelle (2003). Moroccan Textile Embroidery, Paris: Flammarion.
  • STONE, Caroline (1985). The Embroideries of North Africa, London and New York: Longman.
  • VOGELSANG-EASTWOOD, Gillian and Caroline STONE (2016). 'Embroidery from Morocco,' in: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (ed.), Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World, London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 188-209, esp. p. 202.


Last modified on Monday, 17 April 2017 18:11