Fez-Tarboosh Making

The traditional red headwear, called the tarboosh, was once a sign of manhood and distinction.

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The fez, or tarboosh, is a felt hat either in the shape of a truncated cone or of a short cylinder, made of kilim fabric, red in colour, usually with a tassel attached to the top. The fez is largely believed to be of Greek origin and later spread to the Ottoman Empire where it was popularized.

The traditional red headwear, called the tarboosh, was once a sign of manhood and distinction but today it has become little more than a bestselling souvenir for tourists. Today, the tarboosh, with black strings hanging down from its top, can be found in souvenir shops or on the heads of very few elderly citizens.

Tarboosh production has almost completely disappeared, with the last factory in Sidon closing down in the 1990s. The tarboosh has become like a lost currency, a currency people might collect at home but never use.

Nevertheless, one man in the southern coastal city of Sidon insists on keeping the tarboosh alive by continuing his family’s legacy of making the famous head covering. Ali Hamdan is the son and grandson of renowned tarboosh makers in Sidon. He owns a souvenir shop near the maritime fort and makes sure his tarboosh collection is entirely handmade. “It takes 30 minutes to make a tarboosh,” Hamdan explains, adding that people who buy the headwear are either tourists, dancers in folkloric bands or graduating students.

Religious figures also wear the tarboosh but add a piece of white fabric to it for distinction.

“Despite his old age, my father insisted on making the traditional hat in his small house and he sold them for as little at LL3,000 a piece,” he says. “It’s a folkloric item.”

The tarboosh dates back  centuries, and a dispute exists between Arabs and Turks as to the origins of the headwear.

Nonetheless, it is clear that the tarboosh became widely spread during the reign of Mohammad Ali Pasha who ruled over Egypt in the 18th century. The use of the headwear expanded throughout the Arab world to Damascus, Lebanon and even to Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Senegal and Nigeria, with a notable difference in its redness and shape from country to country. – Mohammed Zaatari

Source   (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

Origin and history

The fez was developed to fashionable heights by Andalusian Arabs in the city of Fes, Morocco by the 17th century. The artisans involved in their making were the most selective members of the city's Souqs.

In 1826 Sultan Mahmud II of the Ottoman Empire suppressed the Janissaries and began sweeping reforms of the military. His modernized military adopted Western style uniforms and, as hats, the fez with a cloth wrapped around it. In 1829, the Sultan ordered his civil officials to wear the plain fez, and also banned the wearing of turbans. The intention was to coerce the populace at large to update to the Fez, and the plan was successful. This was a radically egalitarian measure which replaced the elaborate sumptuary laws which signaled rank, religion, and occupation, allowing prosperous non-Muslims to express their wealth in competitions with Muslims, foreshadowing the Tanzimat reforms. Although tradesmen and artisans generally rejected the fez, it became a symbol of modernity throughout the Near East, inspiring similar decrees in other nations (such as Iran in 1873.)

Source wikipedia

 


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