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Symbols and Magic in the Arts of Kabyle Women

Translated from the French by Elizabeth Corp

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Malika Grasshoff

Makilam’s research on the history of women and Berber culture, one of North Africa’s most ancient civilizations, demonstrates that the Kabyle women’s magic practices, graphic symbols, and rites of passage permit a new interpretation of their cultural identity from those that have traditionally been attributed to them by Western observers. This completely new vision of the symbolic grammar of the «decorations,» notably expressed in pottery, weaving, tattoos, and wall-paintings, leads us to reconsider the meaning of the Kabyle arts and contributes to our knowledge of Maghreb cultures and the role of women in «traditional» societies.