Fantasia (performance)

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Fantasia at the Tan-Tan (Moussem) Festival in Tan-Tan, Morocco.
Fantasia Arabe by Eugène Delacroix, 1833

Tbourida (التبوريدة in Moroccan Arabic) or Fantasia is a traditional exhibition of horsemanship in the Maghreb performed during cultural festivals and for Maghrebi wedding celebrations.[1][2] "Fantasia" is an Orientalist name from the French, the actual traditional term derived from the Arabic word baroud, meaning gunpowder.[2] It is present in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania.[3][4][2][5]

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.[2]

The horses are from Arabian and Barb or a mix of the two breeds.[6]

The fantasia is considered a cultural performance and a kind of martial art;[7] it also symbolizes a strong relationship between the man and the horse, as well as an attachment to tradition.

In Morocco,fantasia performances are usually during local seasonal, cultural or religious festivals, also called moussem ("saint's day festival" in Arabic). One such example is the chellalate Moussem and the Cherry Festival in Sefrou. Chez Ali, a show-based restaurant in Marrakesh offer a fantasia as part of the entertainment.

Fantasia in art[edit]

Some French, Sri Lankan and other Western artists have done oil paintings of the fantasia, including Edmon Vales,[8] Eugène Delacroix,[5][9][10] Étienne Dinet, Théo van Rysselberghe, Amiru K and Eugène Fromentin.

Moroccan artists such as Hassan El Glaoui have prolifically produced artwork featuring Moroccan riders and horses.[6][11]

Tbourida in Moroccan sports[edit]

Moroccan troupes compete annually for the Hassan II National Tbourida Trophy during the Week of the Horse at the Royal Moroccan Equestrian Federation in Rabat, Morocco. They qualify for the finals through regionally organized competitions through the Federation and SOREC.


  1. ^ Steet, Linda (2000). Veils and Daggers: A Century of National Geographic's Representation of the Arab World. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 141.
  2. ^ a b c d Talley, Gwyneth (2017). Tbourida: Performing Traditional Equestrianism as Heritage Tourism in Morocco. New York: Springer. pp. 219–240.
  3. ^ Lorenzo, Annie (1988). Cheval et tradition en Afrique du nord. Lausanne: Caracole.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Sedrati, Azeddine; Tavernier, Roger; Wallet, Bernard (1997). L'art de la Fantasia. Casablanca: Plume.
  6. ^ a b Préaudau, Philippe Babier de (1990). Maroc: Les chevaux du Royaume. Panayrac: Daniel Briand.
  7. ^ Arabies (114-120 ed.). Arabies. 1996. p. 65.
  8. ^ "Fantasia au Maroc".
  9. ^ Prideaux, Tom (1966). The World of Delacroix 1798-1863. New York: Time Incorporated.
  10. ^ Olmsted, Jennifer W (2009). "The Sultan's Authority: Delacroix, Painting, and Politics at the Alson of 1845". Art Bulletin XCI. 1: 83–106.
  11. ^ "Moroccan Master Hassan El Glaoui Remembered by his Daughter Touria, Founder of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair". Sotheby's. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.

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