Photograph: Khalil Nemmaoui
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On display in the Exhibition(s)Geometric Decoration | Geometric Decoration in Architecture
Arabic Calligraphy | Monumental Calligraphy
Name of Monument:
Fez (Old Town / medina), MoroccoDate of Monument:
Hegira 751–6 / AD 1351–6Period / Dynasty:
Founded by Abu ‘Inan (AH 751–6 / AD 1351–6).Description:
This monument from the AH 8th / AD 14th century is distinctive from the other madrasas (religious schools) in Fez because of its great mosque, endowed with a minaret and a minbar, nowadays exhibited at the Batha Museum, as well as its two classrooms located opposite one another, its large ablutions hall and its hydraulic clock located opposite the main gateway of the madrasa.
On the north side of the madrasa, two adjacent doors open onto al-Tal'a Lakbira street, and a third door opens on the south side onto al-Tal'a Sghira street. Each door gives access to a hallway that leads to a staircase. The hallway on the south side is bent. The stairs in the two north hallways give access to a courtyard, around which the different elements of the building stand. The rectangular courtyard is paved entirely with marble and at its centre are the remains of a basin.
The Wadi Lamtiyyin, one of the branches of the Wadi Fez, crosses the south side of the courtyard and separates it from the mosque. The main façades of the courtyard lead to a classroom covered by a sculpted wood dome. The east and west galleries extend behind the two classrooms. They are separated from a courtyard by mashrabiyya (wooden lattice screens) set between the pillars.
Two small bridges, built on either side of the wadi, give access to the rectangular prayer room. Its north side opens out onto the courtyard through five large openings. The mosque is divided into two rows parallel to the south wall. The arcade that separates them is made up of five arches supported by six yellow-white marble columns. The mihrab set in the middle of the south wall is richly decorated. The square minaret rises from the northwest corner.
Opposite the main doorway of the madrasa, on the other side of the Tal'a Lakbira road, is the entrance to the dar al-wudu (ablutions house). The famous magana (hydraulic clock) is on the wall overlooking the road.
The madrasa has been restored several times since the AH 11th / AD 17th century following the earthquake suffered by the town. At the end of the AH 12th / AD 18th century, during the reign of the 'Alawid Sultan Mulay Sliman (r. AH 1207–38 / AD 1792–1822) entire sections were reconstructed, and in the 20th century, major restoration work was carried out to the load-bearing structure and the plaster, wood and zellij (small tiles) decoration.
View Short DescriptionHow Monument was dated:
The madrasa has been dated using an inscription included in the zellij that cover the interior walls. The inscription bears the name of Abu 'Inan and the date of its inauguration in 756 / 1357.Selected bibliography:
Bel., A., Inscriptions arabes de Fès, offprint of Journal Asiatique 1917–1919, Paris.Citation of this web page:
Golvin, L., “La medersa Bouinaniya”, in Fès médiévale (ed. M. Mezzine), Paris 1992, pp.92–9.
Pérétié, M. A., “Les madrasas de Fas”, Archives marocaines, Vol. 18, 1912.
Terrasse, C., Médersas du Maroc, Paris, 1927.
Andalusian Morocco: A Discovery in Living Art, pp.124–6.
Mohamed Mezzine "Buinaniya Madrasa" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2016. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;ma;Mon01;11;en
Prepared by: Mohamed Mezzine
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen
MWNF Working Number: MO 14