Located in a 19th century palace, the Musée Dar Si Said is regarded as one of Morocco’s most eloquent tributes to the skills of its master craftsmen.
Surrounding a splendid courtyard filled with shady cypress trees, flowers, a fountain and gazebo, the museum’s exhibition rooms are filled with a wealth of items showcasing some of the finest examples of Morocco’s rich arts and crafts heritage.
Treasures to be discovered
Some of the most noteworthy items to be admired at the Musée Dar Si Said include a chest, dating from around 1000 AD, heavy silver Berber headdresses and striking High Atlas carpets in innumerable shades of purple. Other items include jewellery, wedding costumes, pottery, leather articles and rugs.
Throughout the museum visitors can see extraordinary mosaics, stucco artefacts and beautifully carved cedar doors embellished with elaborate talismans believed to ward off the evil eye.
The Wedding Reception Chamber
Heading upstairs, one encounters musicians’ balconies, painted with delightful flower motives and featuring a display of various musical instruments. These balconies flank the exquisite domed chamber formerly used for wedding receptions.
Featuring elegant cedar wood furniture and Hispano-Moorish decorations, this chamber has been so faithfully preserved that one half expects to see a beautiful bride emerge in full ceremonial dress to be admired by her guests.
The Caftan Collection
At the very end of the wedding chamber is a small bedroom housing narrow wooden beds and a selection of divine caftans for special occasions, including one particularly fine example in red silk and velvet, lavishly embellished with gold braid.
Harem Quarters and other Rooms
The former harem quarters again feature an array of exquisite articles, as well as intricate mosaics and an abundance of simple mats, rugs and carpets.
Back in the main courtyard visitors will pass one of the museum’s most delightful artefacts, a hand-cranked baby’s ferris wheel featuring pint-sized ‘palanquins’ (a means of transport for wealthy citizens carried by four or more bearers). There is also an impressive collection of hand-carved door and window frames featuring the most refined, delicate ornamentation.
Past and Present
What makes the treasures found in this museum even more interesting is that, while many of them are ancient relics of the past , a number are still in use to this day, living testament to Morocco’s arts and crafts tradition.