Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Shopping in Tangier (2)

Boutique Majid is an exceptional antique shop in the medina of Tangier. It offers authentic one-of-a-kind antiques from Morocco, saharan and sub-saharan Africa where the owner, Majid, travels tirelessly to find new marvels for his shop. Things are not cheap but worth every penny. Majid began working when he was fourteen years old and after a few different jobs he opened a small antique shop which grew into the three story treasure trove it is today. 
He is a handsome jovial man with quick wit and a keen eye for quality, authenticity and uniqueness. 

This is what a well known travel magazine said about him:
-Travel & Leisure Magazine, Feb '99
"As a kid in the late 60's Abedelmajid Rais El Fenni earned five dirhams a night emptying ashtrays at Barbara Hutton's parties. Today his Boutique Majid is one of the top antique shops not just in Tangier, but in all of Morocco.
When El Fenni crows, 'I've got the finest, most extensive collection of antique textiles in the country', no one challenges him. Mountains of beautifully rehabilitated brocades, lush velvets, humble checks, and ticking stripes, Muslim wedding sheets, and elaborate floral crochet work fill his well-tended atmospheric shop.
 Bowles* goes jelly-kneed over a 19th century felted cashmere caftan in raspberry with plum trim, 'So Schiaparelli, don't you think?' Berber jewelry of coral, silver, and fragrant hand polished amber is another of Majid's specialties."

*Paul Bowles, the american composer and writer of "The sheltering sky" who lived in Tangier from 1947 until his death in1999.

The shop is an eclectic mix of textiles, jewelry, leather goods, pottery, carpets and furniture.

                                                                    Detail of a blanket with wool tassels.

                                                                       Wool embroidery on a leather camel cushion.

A carved and painted door from sub-saharan Africa and a traditional painted "door-within-a-door" found in ryads, houses with central opened courtyards.

Most of Majid's textiles are antiques.

This magnificent silk wedding caftan is embroidered with silk and gold thread and is from the 19th century. It is part of Majid's private collection and not for sale...

...but others are available in opulent brocades and rich sequinned silks.

A coin and metal button studded leather pouch.

         Details of the carved and painted latticework of a moucharabieh, a window that traditionally protruded from a second floor to enable one to look toward the street in both directions without being seen.

Everywhere in the shop lamps hang from the glass roof that brings light into the lower floors of the shop.

A 19th century felt covered chest with brass nail design.

Antique pottery from sub-saharan Africa.

What I really go to see at Majid's is the incredibly beautiful jewelry. Amber and silver, turquoise, coral and bone make up striking necklaces. 

Silver, amber and coral tied with wool.

Magnificent turquoise, shell, amber and bone.

If you go to Tangier one day, plan to spend a whole afternoon there to see all three floors of Majid's magical "den of antiquities". You will sip mint tea while he regales you with tales of his travels and, who knows, you may just give in and buy that beautiful necklace or carpet you have been swooning over for the last three hours. Majid will never pressure you to buy. He does not need to.

Photos: Majid, Joelle Desparmet (sorry, some photos were shot with my iPhone with less than adequate focusing)

No comments:

Post a Comment