Manufacturing of horse saddles has long been a tradition in Libya, but only a handful of craftsmen are left who still produce the famous leather and silver-laced designs. Ciara Lee reports
Once a flourishing Tripoli trade Handcrafting leather horse saddles laced with silver and copper embroidery With craftsmen inheriting the skill from their ancestors Nowadays, with limited availability of imported materials, the North African trade is slowly disappearing. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SADDLE CRAFTSMAN, FARAG MOHAMED, SAYING: "The reason why I learnt the trade is because of my uncle, he had taught himself and was a natural. Most saddle makers are self-taught, and saddles generally are considered a home-grown craft. Libyan saddles are very special world-wide." The saddles are imprinted with Islamic art and Libyan tribal symbols. They range in price from 3 - 11,000 U.S. dollars and can take weeks or even months to weave. Libyans use the saddles during celebrations such as marriage ceremonies and in traditional horse racing competitions. But times have been tough. Libya spiraled into turmoil after a civil war ousted longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Rival groups of former rebels have since turned against each other in a fight for control. Leaving tens of thousands displaced and a prolonged economic crisis.