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origin zellige

Thus, their decorative art generally features basic shapes in geometry, such as diamonds, squares, triangles, stars, crosses, or some less structural or mathematical forms that create interlacing and tessellated patterns. Within a single star pattern, variations abound—by the mix of colors, the size of the furmah, and the complexity and size of interspacing elements such as strapping, braids, or “lanterns. In order to seal the Zellige so that it will resist water, and sport the lovely colours traditionally used in Morocco, the tiles are glazed. Typically the clay is prepared in a measured lump that gets pounded on a smooth surface with the help of a large flat mallet which has a cutting side used to square off the tile. Although the meaning of the colours and patterns is now mostly lost to the tile artisans, this was not the case in much of the history of the Zellige. The old enamels with the natural colours were used until the beginning of the 20th century and the colours had probably not evolved much since the period of Merinids.

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Even wallpapers are made to imitate zellige patterns. Note that Europe’s Renaissance will name these tiles “faience” because of the zelige of Faenza in Italy that was an important centre of majolica see “glossary”.

The adoption of modern glaze preparation made the life of the tile maker easier and expanded the colours available. The architecture and decoration then origgin their highest level of sophistication, and zellige invade the inside walls of all the palaces, tombs, fountains, patios, hammams.


Cement tiles and zellige – Materiae

Between 14th and 17th century, when art was flourishing, blue, green and yellow colours origiin added; red colour was added as the last. Arabic Mughal Ottoman Persian. In smaller workshop, experience has taught the masters how to stack their kilns to take advantage of the variations in temperature throughout the kiln, so they can fire different colours together.

It is the largest mosque in Morocco and a showcase of typical traditional art. When this craft first appeared in Morocco, the tiles used were mainly of brown and white. The glazing materials will be suspended in a water slurry and each origon will be dipped face down. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Each tile is beveled so that the back is thinner than the front, to allow space between the tiles, for the cement or plaster that will glue the mosaic together. The shape of the anvil varies on the preference of the master. Zellige is typically a series of patterns utilizing colourful geometric patterns.

Fes clays have a homogeneous composition Fig. Often by pulverizing the dry clay, wetting it to a slurry, filtering out rocks and branches or other impurities, then letting the slurry settle and dry to a shapable consistancy. The anvil varies in size but provides a backing to hammer and oigin against. The pulp and pits that are left after the olive oil has been extracted.

Thanks to their complementarity, they form patterns that intersect and are repeated endlessly. It is obvious that this requires less effort to cut a ceramic tile than polishing pieces of marble coming from distant sources! Probably inspired by the Roman and Byzantine mozaics. The 20 th century saw new colours being introduced as glazes were imported and added to the traditional colours.


Detail of zellige in the Alhambra Palace of Granada, Spain, 14 th c. This is done in a traditional shaped beehive kiln fired by the waste of olive pressing. The tiles are stacked to allow the heat to penetrate evenly and avoid warping. Themes often employ Kufic script, as it fits well with the geometry of the mosaic tiles, and patterns often culminate centrally in the Rub El Hizb. Within a single star pattern, variations abound—by the mix of colors, the size of the furmah, and the complexity and size of interspacing elements origgin as strapping, braids, or “lanterns.


The Moorish art of zellige flourished during the Hispano-Moresque period Azulejo of the area known as Al-Andalus modern day Spain between By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Pinks and reds are notoriously difficult. Islamic decoration and craftsmanship had a significant influence on Western art when Venetian merchants brought goods of many types back to Italy from the 14th century onwards. He works against a metal anvil or another piece of tile, set into a heavy stone or piece of cement. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zellige. Wikipedia article on Moroccan Zellige Moroccan Tiles continues on page 2 emails: Droste effect Mathematical beauty Patterns in nature Sacred geometry.