Name of Object:

Wooden panel


Fez, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Batha Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 6th / AD 12th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted cedarwood.


Height 95 cm, length 18.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:





This long decorative panel, carved in low relief and with slightly damaged ends, consists of five well-balanced sections arranged symmetrically along a longitudinal axis. These sections and the panel sides are framed with grooved and cabled borders.
The lower section is delimited with a lobed arcature containing an arch supported on floral capitals and twisted columns rendered in relief on a dense floral background. This consists of bouquets of palmettes and finely veined single and double palms on either side of ascending stems reminiscent of the tree of life theme.
The second section is decorated with circular foliage bearing, at regular intervals, veined nodules, single veined calyx palms, double digitate palms and concave coil palms.
The third section is decorated with geometric ornamentation: an octagonal braid in relief embellished with pearls crowns a composition of mixtilinear knotwork that radiates from an eight-pointed star. A longitudinal groove cuts across this strip.
The fourth section is similar to the second. The fifth consists of grooved knotwork combining squares and four-lobed curvilinear stars. These polygonal figures created by the knotwork lines are filled at different levels with floral motifs that soften the geometric composition: veined symmetrical calyx palms inserted between two asymmetrical palms with intertwined stems and six-petal rosettes.
All of these well ordered and finely executed decorative themes, inspired by flora, geometry and architecture, are found in different Almoravid buildings and objects.

View Short Description

This long ornate panel, carved in low relief, is decorated with finely executed and hierarchically arranged plant, geometric and architectural motifs, as found in different Almoravid buildings and objects known today.

How date and origin were established:

Through comparative study. Several of the motifs chosen to decorate this piece and their relief, ornamental composition and abundance are also found in other dated Almoravid pieces, such as the minbar of the Great Mosque of Algiers, the decoration on the domes of the Qarawiyyin and the Marrakesh qubba. This enables us to date this panel to the Almoravid period and specifically to the reign of 'Ali ibn Yusuf (500–37 / 1106–42).

How Object was obtained:

Salvaged along with other ancient wooden pieces.

How provenance was established:

Salvaged in Fez.

Selected bibliography:

Cambazard-Amahan, C., Le décor sur bois dans l'architecture de Fès, Paris, 1989.
Marçais, G., “La chaire de la Grande Mosquée d'Alger”, Hespéris, 1921, Vol. I, fasc. 4, pp.359–86.
Marçais, G., L'architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1959.
Meunié, J. et Terrasse, H., Nouvelles recherches archéologiques à Marrakech, Paris, 1957.
Terrasse, H., L'art hispano-mauresque des origines au XIIIe siècle, Paris, 1932.
Andalusian Morocco: A Discovery in Living Art, p.104.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Wooden panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;ma;Mus01_C;7;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 09


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