Name of Object:

Wooden frieze

Location:

Fez, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Batha Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 7th century / AD 13th century

Museum Inventory Number:

45.89

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Raised and sculpted cedarwood.

Dimensions:

Height 21.6 cm, length 107 cm, depth 3.5 cm

Period / Dynasty

Marinid

Provenance:

Fez.

Description:

An almost complete frieze that would undoubtedly have come from a religious monument. Its surface is decorated with a flowery and twisted kufic inscription repeating the end of Qur'anic verse 73 of Sura 22 ('Pilgrimage'). The kufic characters are embellished with vegetal elements in the form of tri-lobed demi-fleurons and five-lobed fleurons that prolong the angle of the bevel.
The text is carved on a plant background consisting of a dense floral composition with absolutely no empty spaces. This decorative element uses pinecones and palms carried by foliage or decorating the involutions: asymmetric smooth palms with calyxes and branches stretching into loops and veined double palms with acanthus leaves whose offshoot, which separates the veins into twos, assumes an oval shape reminiscent of a pinecone scale.
This frieze, with its low-relief decoration covering the entire surface and where a taste for abundance and ornamental opulence has supplanted Almohad rigour and simplicity, well illustrates the aesthetic choices of Marinid art, which adopts some elements of Almoravid art.

View Short Description

This incomplete frieze would almost certainly have come from a religious monument. It is decorated with a Qur'anic inscription in flowery, twisted kufic characters on an unbroken background of plant decoration in low relief, a good illustration of aesthetic choices in Marinid art.

How date and origin were established:

From stylistic analysis. The rendering of the letters and the floral forms, which can also be seen in the decoration of the Bab Mrissa gateway in Salé dating from the second half of the 7th / 13th century, as well as its decoration suggests the style of the beginning of the Marinid era.

How Object was obtained:

Salvaged.

How provenance was established:

Information taken from the inventory register.

Selected bibliography:

Cambazard-Amahan, C., Le décor sur bois dans l'architecture de Fès, Paris, 1989.
Marçais, G., L'architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1959.
Terrasse, H., L'art hispano-mauresque des origines au XIIIe siècle, Paris, 1932.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Wooden frieze" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;ma;Mus01_C;25;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 31

RELATED CONTENT

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Marinids and Wattasids


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Muslim West | Andalusian-Maghrebi Art

Download

As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)