Name of Object:

Stucco panel


Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Museum of Archaeology

About Museum of Archaeology, Rabat.

Date of Object:

Hegira 6th / AD 12th century

Museum Inventory Number:

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted and carved plaster.


Height left 107 cm, height centre 110 cm, height right 163 cm, length 62 cm

Period / Dynasty:



‘House of the Plain’, Chichaoua, Morocco.


This panel has several different decorated sections. The upper section consists of a protruding band with a double grooved braid above a large frieze with palmettes and acanthus leaves. Sculpted in relief, the lower two lobes of the seven-lobed palmettes are rolled and the upper one marked with a central slot. They alternate with and are framed by bouquets of acanthus with digitate leaves and disc-shape calyxes.
The lower section consists of a spandrel and an arcature. The triangular spandrel, surrounded by a double braid, is marked with a medallion made up of a fleuron consisting of three acanthus leaves. The central veined digitate leaf includes offshoots and is seen from the front, while the two side ones, bent to form a calyx, are seen from the side. This medallion is surrounded by two interlaced stems bearing acanthus leaves beside to pinecones set obliquely.
The arcature is crowned by two bands. The upper band consists of a crown of veined acanthus leaflets above the second arched band decorated with a double braid. Alternating below this band there are smooth voussoirs and projecting voussoirs sculpted in relief that are reminiscent of the voussoirs of the arch of the mosque of Córdoba. Intertwined foliage with axillary buds, with some side branches that interrupt the rectilinear frame of the voussoirs, decorate the protruding voussoirs. Their coils tightly surround symmetrical and asymmetrical palms with acanthus leaves and three-leaf fleurons.
All of this ornamental flora, as well as the deep carving technique which is found in the plaster work ornamentation of the Almoravid qubba at Marrakesh and the domes from the same period in the Qarawiyyin mosque, suggest that this arcature facing comes from the Almoravid period.

View Short Description

This panel is a piece of carved stucco cladding. It comes from an arch, probably a mihrab arch. The composition of its decoration, its geometric and floral motifs inspired by Taifa art, and the deep sculpting technique date it to the Almoravid period.

How date and origin were established:

Through stylistic and comparative analysis. The type of decoration and the carving technique are similar to the plasterwork decoration at the Almoravid qubba of Marrakesh and the Almoravid domes in the Qarawiyyin mosque, which can be dated to the reign of 'Ali ibn Yusuf ibn Tashufin, 500–37 / 1106–1142.

How Object was obtained:


How provenance was established:

Archaeological object found in situ.

Selected bibliography:

Berthier, P., “En marge des sucreries marocaines. La maison de la plaine et la maison des oliviers à Chichaoua”, Hespéris-Tamuda, 1062, III, fasc. 1, pp.75–7.
Meunié, J. et Terrasse, H., Nouvelles recherches archéologiques à Marrakech, Paris, 1957.
Meunié, J. et Terrasse, H., Recherches archéologiques à Marrakech, Paris, 1952.
Terrasse, H., La mosquée Al-Quaraouiyin à Fès, Paris, 1968.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Stucco panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;ma;Mus01;21;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 26


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