Name of Object:

Excised zellij frieze

Location:

Fez, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Batha Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 751–7 / AD 1351–6

Museum Inventory Number:

C18

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed and excised earthenware tiles.

Dimensions:

Height 28 cm, length 47 cm

Period / Dynasty

Marinid

Provenance:

Buinaniya Madrasa, Fez.

Description:

This small fragment of wall covering is a specimen of excised or raised earthenware mosaic.
This technique was used to introduce curved lines into ceramic decoration, notably to reproduce inscriptions and plant decoration. Mostly using black glazed tiles, craftsmen skilfully excised the glazed surface with a sharp hammer, taking care only to expose the fired clay where it was to be used as a background. Thus, the curved vegetal and written figures appear in low relief on the background of ochre fired clay.
Here, inside a braided frame, cursive characters mix with spindly foliage dotted with nodes and bearing double palms and fleurons. The cursive inscription reproduces a pious formula: 'For me with the God of worshippers'.
This type of inscribed band, originally from the Buinaniya Madrasa, was placed above the ceramic panelling and below a frieze of geometric motifs known as charafa (reminiscent of crenelations) which provided a transition between the earthenware decoration and the plaster panelling on the walls.

View Short Description

This fragment, inscribed with a pious formula, is part of a glazed and excised earthenware mosaic in which it was possible to reproduce the curved lines of the inscription and the plant decoration, which is rendered in low relief on a background of ochre fired clay.

Original Owner:

Habus (endowment)

How date and origin were established:

This architectonic element, originally from the Buinaniya Madrasa, was made at the time the monument was constructed.

How provenance was established:

This frieze was salvaged during the restoration of the monument in the 20th century.

Selected bibliography:

Hedgecoe, J. et Samar Damluji, S. Zillig, L'Art de la céramique marocaine, Londres, 1993.
Marçais, G., L'architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1954.
Paccard, A., Le Maroc et l'artisanat traditionnel islamique dans l'architecture, 2 vol., Paris, 1979.
Terrasse, Ch., Médersas du Maroc, Paris, 1927.
Terrasse, H. and Hainaut, J., Les arts décoratifs au Maroc, Paris, 1925.
Andalusian Morocco: A Discovery in Living Art, pp.124–6, 232.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Excised zellij frieze" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;ma;Mus01_C;27;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 33

RELATED CONTENT

Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Marinids and Wattasids


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Ceramics

Download

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