Berber lidded box


Humanities Info Card | Updated 9 years ago

Registration Number: F2999

Location: Tunis, Tunisia

Stitch Type: Coiled

Collection Date: 1975

Description: Lidded basket/box with a round dish-like base. The lid angles upward into the centre to a ring in the middle. The basket is an embroidery of wool in multicoulours.

Curator Story


June describes this basket, which she collected in Tunisia, as being of Imazighen origin. Imazighen peoples, commonly known as the Berber, originated in Northern Africa, with many still inhabiting small settlements across the North African coast. In Tunisia, the Berber people are known to have lived in the region long before the Greek, Roman, and Arabic migrations. Some accounts mention the Berber people retreating into the Matmata Mountains during times of invasion, and it is thought that this is the reason for the current Berber mountain occupation pattern seen across southern Tunisia.

The basket at hand features a geometric pattern reminiscent of traditional Berber rug making and is made from wool. Interestingly enough, a simple internet search reveals a number of contemporary woven Berber baskets used as treasure baskets made from wool in the same 'Tajine like' design. Historically, Tajine is a slow cooked, stew-like Berber dish named after the pot in which it is cooked.