Fantasia is a traditional exhibition of horsemanship in the Maghreb performed during cultural festivals and to close Berber wedding celebrations. "Fantasia" is an imported name, the actual traditional term used is lab el baroud ("the gunpowder play").
The performance consists of a group of horse riders, all wearing traditional clothes, who charge along a straight path at the same speed so as to form a line, and then at the end of the charge (about two hundred meters) fire into the sky using old muskets or muzzle-loading rifles. The difficulty of the performance is in synchronizing the movement of the horses during acceleration of the charge, and especially in firing the guns simultaneously so that one single shot is heard. The horse is referred to as a fantasia horse and is of the type called a Barb or Berber horse.
Each region in Morocco has one or several fantasia groups, called serba, totaling thousands of horse riders nationwide. Performances are usually during local seasonal, cultural or religious festivals, also called moussem ("season" in Arabic). Some show-based restaurants offer a fantasia as part of the entertainment.
Fantasia in art
Some French, Sri Lankan and other Western artists have done oil paintings of the fantasia, including Edmon Vales, Eugène Delacroix, Étienne Dinet, Théo van Rysselberghe, Amiru K and Eugène Fromentin.
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- Jackie Budd (1 January 1998). Horse and Pony Breeds. Gareth Stevens Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-8368-2046-1.
- Arabies (114-120 ed.). Arabies. 1996. p. 65.
- Deborah Anne Kapchan (1996). Gender on the Market: Moroccan Women and the Revoicing of Tradition. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 205–206. ISBN 0-8122-1426-9.
- Emmis Communications (April 1986). Orange Coast Magazine. Emmis Communications. p. 119. ISSN 02790483.
- "Fantasia au Maroc". artnet.com.
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