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Tanit, the Mountain Goddess of Morocco and the Triangle.

Matthew Shirfield

Artistic manifestations of the divine assume symbols or iconographic representations which easily differentiate one deity from another.  This blog entry considers the triangular shape beyond that of the Christian Divine Trinity.

The triangular manifestation was also the recognised ancient symbol representing the body of two important Goddesses in the Mediterranean.

Tanit was an ancient Carthaginian Goddess whose effigy was symbolically represented by a triangle (sometimes even a trapezium) topped by a horizontal line and a circle which at times is covered by a crescent moon-like shape.

She was the maternal figure to all the Gods and Goddesses presiding even over the sun, moon, earth, and sea. Evoking a posture of balance, Tanit was considered to be a Goddess of dance. Her posture is believed to have been copied in ritualistic rites to tap into a supreme consciousness creating communal harmony. 

The Mountain Goddess of Morocco is also represented through the triangular shape in the Lkbab pattern. According to Laura Shannon, this manifestation is usually incorporated as a weaved pattern on female attire, creating a rhythmical movement in the form of a ritualistic dance. The Moroccan Mountain Goddess is represented through an ornamental triangle topped by a diamond shaped head. The ornamental pattern also includes representations of the Tree of Life and other fertility symbols.

Although originating from the Berber ethos, this Mountain Goddess may have been influenced by Carthaginian culture which spread throughout North Africa. Thus, the multiple representations of similar Deities or at times the shared iconographic elements between Goddesses of different cults, allows for a deeper understanding of the interweaved unity found between different Mediterranean cultures and their symbolic representations of the divine.

‘Goddess Tanit’, 4th century -2nd century B.C.

‘Lkbab pattern’, 20th century.

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