Name of Object:



Fez, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Batha Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 10th-11th centuries / AD 16th-17th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Carved cedarwood.


Height 47.5 cm, length 64.5 cm, thickness 4.6 cm

Period / Dynasty:



A house in Fez.


This spandrel fragment, curved on the bottom right-hand side, is framed on the top by a ribbon of small and four-leaf rosettes and the fillet in the form of a thick strip sculpted in relief, and in the bottom right by an arch segment strip.
Its surface is decorated with compact floral decoration distributed over two areas in low relief. The lower area consists of floral motifs attached to interlaced foliage: smooth, simple or double palms with round lobes and three-leaf fleurons reminiscent of fleurs-de-lys. The upper part is filled with floral arcatures made up of palms, one of which, doubled, contains pseudo-kufic characters tracing the mirror image of a eulogy, al-Mulk (power of God) and ends in a pointed summit that crowns a fleuron and encroaches on the rosette ribbon. The other, which contains a floral composition, is topped with a crown. This spandrel fragment, originally from a Sa'did building in Fez, was part of the wooden facing of a peristyle arch.

View Short Description

This spandrel fragment was part of the wooden panelling on a gallery arch. It is decorated with compact floral sculptures and floral arcatures containing pseudo-kufic characters presenting a mirror image of the word 'al-Mulk' (power of God).

How date and origin were established:

From stylistic analysis. The inventory register states that it belonged to a building from the Sa'did era, and this is confirmed by the choice of particular floral motifs and their composition, as well as the technique for carving in low relief.

How Object was obtained:

Salvaged by the Historical Monuments Department and deposited with the museum in 1930.

How provenance was established:

Salvaged in situ.

Selected bibliography:

Cambazard-Amahan, C., Le décor sur bois dans l'architecture de Fès, Paris, 1989.
Marçais, G., L'architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1954.
Terrasse, H. et Hainaut, J., Les arts décoratifs au Maroc, Paris, 1925.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Spandrel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;ma;Mus01_C;42;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 63


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