Metal engraving in Fes, Morocco: A recognized heritage craft by UNESCO

The ancient art of metal engraving has recently been recognized as part of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. In Fes, Morocco, skilled artisans specializing in this craft pass down their expertise through generations, becoming a cornerstone of the country’s cultural identity.

Mohamed Arnani, owner of a metal engraving workshop in Fes, expresses his joy at the UNESCO recognition: «Learning that the craft and know-how associated with metal engraving are on UNESCO’s intangible heritage list filled us with happiness. It gives us hope and assurance of a promising future for this craft».

The tradition of metal engraving is transmitted within Moroccan families through observation and hands-on practice.

Today, this skill is accessible through training centers, universities, and even social media.

Mohamed Arnani recounts the origin of this craft: «Metal engraving is an ancient profession involving engraving on copper, silver, and gold. It emerged in Morocco at the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century, starting in the city of Fes and spreading over the years to other cities in Morocco, including Marrakech».

Engraved items, such as jewelry or interior pieces, are often given as traditional gifts during weddings or religious rituals.

Artisans also adapt their creations to contemporary trends, as explained by Moncef Adyel, an artisan in Fes: «We always aspire to renew this craft. For example, the most well-known traditional chandelier in Morocco, originally designed for decorating mosques, has evolved into modern forms that stand out from tradition».

Local markets in Fes serve as a genuine showcase, allowing artisans to capture the interest of tourists, collectors, and promote their craft.

With this new inscription, Morocco now boasts 14 elements on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

Source: Africanews



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