Crafts

The skills of the nomads are crystallized in his rich and diversified craftsmanship that combines, with happiness, work of wood, leather and metals. Craftsmen (maalmines) are the guardians of this tradition which for centuries has been transmitting an inexhaustible bed of motifs, decorations, dyes, assemblages, a whole capital of techniques and gestures which make the remarkable specificity of this heritage.

This craft is intimately linked to life in the desert.

He is entrusted with the confection of all the objects necessary for pastoral life: tent furniture, camel harness, milking instruments, mowing, travel bags, chests, padlocks, snuffboxes and pipes, entertainment tools (sig, dama), children's toys ... The Moorish craftsmen know how to divide the tasks and their professional specialization is very particular. If the work of wood and metal is devolved to men, that of leather is the prerogative of women artisans (male masters). With a skill and finesse they hold from their ancestors, they select the skins, tan and treat them.

They know how to choose, in the desert, the plants for each operation and identify the leaves and tufts that give the color red, green or yellow.

From their expert hands, a range of covers, bags and cushions of all shapes undergo a finishing work that consists of adorning and decorating them with an infinity of colors, patterns and symbols.

Their reservoir of imagination does not dry up.

From floral to animal, a mix of numbers, signs and letters, the graphics are exceptionally refined. Each object, which may seem identical, is necessarily different from the other. It is, at the same time, imagination, art and know-how.

Ancestral Phytotherapy

Traditional Beydan medicine is a mixture of knowledge, techniques and know-how, passed on from one generation to another. It is a wide range of healing processes, the result of a fruitful relationship between the nomads and the Saharan lands.

The nomads have learned to trust the plants that they stumble upon during the thousands of journeys they have made in the desert. They can distinguish the medicinal virtues of each bush, herb, and shrub. For each illness that man and animal have been struck by, a plant has provided the cure.

The nomad can perfectly distinguish the benefits of a plant when it is still fresh, just as he can tell its benefits when it is dry. Even the roots of certain plants account for the pharmacopeia of Saharan Morocco. But the impressive know-how of the Beydan nomads does not end here : they are also capable of mixing diverse herbs in order to improve their potential therapeutic benefits.

THE TALH

TALH : UMBRELLA THORN ACACIA (ACACIA RADDIANA) (SUBSP. ACACIA TORTILIS)

Although its origin can be traced back to tropical Africa, the Acacia is probably the most commonly found tree of Saharan Morocco. It can be found mostly at the banks of the rivers (wadi). It is a tree of multiple uses : it is a pastoral species, its timber is used as firewood for heating purposes, but also in carpentry. The bits of wood found at the roots of this tree have been used to create flutes.

Acacia coal was also used to make ink. Its fruit – long bean-like cloves, are fed to sheep and to dromedaries for their nutritious values, especially when they are mature (mostly in the months of january through april, depending on the region).

The Acacia is known for gum extraction (Acacia gum arabic) and other medicinal uses.

In traditional medicine, the Acacia is particularly known for its ability to heal wounds. Its crushed leaves can be used to make suppurative mixes, frequently used to heal wounds that occur when little girls have their ears pierced.

The Acacia’s raddiana’s powder obtained from tan is a gastric stimulant for those who consume meat, it is used to treat measles, to “tan” the intestines, and for treatment of polyps…

OTHER PLANTS

MKHENZE : CLEOME ARABICA

A plant with a foul smell, hence the name : mkhenze, the reeking. It is thought that this plant causes distress in camels who have consumed it excessively. It has sudorific, emmenagogue, and abortive properties. It is mixed with boiled millet and milk, in proportionate amounts so as to reach the desired result.

To heal camel scabies, the plant is boiled until a thick mash is obtained, which is then applied on the animal’s diseased body parts.

TURJA : FALSE EUPHORBIA (CALOTROPIS PROCERA)

This is an Asclepiadaceae with large leaves, dark green in colour and even in shape. It is sought after by animals when its leaves have dried. When its leaves are fresh, they are used by women to maintain the henna that they have as cataplasm on their feet and hands.

Traditional Moorish medicine used the milky sap of the false euphorbia to heal the camel scabies, and in general all dromedary wounds.

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