Life in the High Atlas

A visual feature on archived BW prints of Amazigh, Berber

Time Inc is proud to share LIFE’s iconic images in the spirit of Henry Luce’s original prospectus for LIFE magazine:”To see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events; to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud; to see strange things [] thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms; things dangerous to come to; to see and take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed”

Berber women washing their clothes in a nearby river, before a going to the bride fair. 

The weekly sheep market in the main square of a small village in the High Atlas.

Berber girl from the High Atlas. Silver is an important part of their beauty ornament.

“Within Amazigh ( Berber culture) women were historically tattooed facially. In times pre-dating the arrival of Islam in North Africa the practice was widespread. However since the arrival of the Islamic faith, the belief that to alter a creation of Allah is haram ( forbidden) has lead to the almost complete decline of the practice. For important ceremonies and celebrations henna or Harquus are often used to replace the significant symbolism of the tattoo, but on a temporary basis. These temporary adornments are often limited to the hands and the feet, as such the art of facial tattooing is a vanishing art. The placement of Berber Tattoos was often around openings in the body.( eyes, nose, mouth, navel and vagina) or upon surfaces of the body which may be perceived as vulnerable ( the feet and the hands).These areas of the body were perceived to require protection from the ‘Jnoun’ ( bad spirits) which may try to enter her body and possess her.”

Beautiful film on Berber brides in the High Atlas:

We are an Amsterdam-based design enterprise that partners with cooperatives in traditional societies around the world. The intention of our work is to promote time-honoured craft through a contemporary process. Ode to Artisans was founded in London and currently based in Amsterdam, by Sabrina Kraus López and Noëlle Maxine Tierie.

We believe that cultural exchange and collaboration form the quest to safeguard traditional skills and craftsmanship. We achieve this by providing design tools to remote communities in order for local artisans to innovate and become aware of global trends and markets.

ODE – is an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual.

ARTISANS – are skilled craft workers who make or create things by hand.