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Al Khayma

The Beydan Khayma, a Singular Tent


During his constant voyages, the nomad was accompanied by his habitat. The Saharan black tent gets mounted and unmounted during each of the many stops that characterize the pastoral world. The tent is, as Duvignaud states, the «anti-home».

The khayma, the black Beydan tent in the Kingdom of Morocco, is different from the black khayma held up by pinnacle bar, which is found in the Mid Atlas, and is different from all other nomadic black khaymas in the Arab world.

Its pyramidal structure is characterized by a triangle designed by the the rkayz (vertical bars in the centre of the tent) which help to keep the velum stretched, accounting for its specific Moorish khayma shape.

The colour of the khayma may sometimes have a tawny beige look, if a larger quantity of dromedary hairs, rather than goat hairs, have been used in the fashioning of the flijs (strips of fabric which develop the velum).

Weaving : 

Inchored in Festive Tradition

Following the shaving and shearing of livestock by the shepherds, hairs are cleaned, the women rid them of their thorns and straws : this is the Tcha’chi’. Afterwards, the spinning transforms the thick hairs in fine, flexible strands, rolled up in balls : the Takbab.


A loom come into practice, demonstrating the ancestral weaving know-how of women of Saharan Morocco, who regularly unite at festivities to fashion the flijs.

The flij is the basic weaving unit. Many flijs are used to create the Khayma’s velum.

One Khayma ? No, many Khaymas !
  • In the frig, the khayma is plural : it is the usage that defines the function and gives it its name.Khaymat al-ar is reserved for the receiving and welcoming of guests

  • Khaymat-er-reg is intended for wedding nights;

  • Khaymat-at-taleb, is used for the sessions during which the precepts of Islam are taught;

  • The Khayma of maalem, the one in which the craftsman hones his skills.


The Representation of an Habitat

In the Beydan tradition, the Khayma represents the household and the home. It is the focus of family life and thus the Khayma becomes the metaphor representing the family, and as such, bear its name.

The location in which a Khayma is mounted is not a choice that is made arbitrarily. Passed on from one generation to another, specific social rules must be followed. It must be ensured also that the orientation of the Khayma is to the south or to the south-west, a sacred direction according to a typical representation of the Moorish wind rose, the astrolabe of the nomadic people.


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