Name of Object:

Window frame


Meknès, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Dar Jamai Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 12th-13th centuries / AD 18th-19th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted, decorated, turned and painted wood.


Height 177 cm, length 112 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A twisted strip and a carved band decorated with a braid of eight-pointed stars runs around the outside of this quadrangular window frame. It consists of three sections: an upper frieze, a balustrade and the gemelled arcature of the opening. All of the wood is covered with a red base and painted in two shades of brown, yellow ochre, ivory white and some green.
The frieze and the balustrade consist of mashrabiyya latticework arranged in a chequered or a diamond pattern. Above this latticework, grooved strips on the balustrade form a knotwork pattern consisting of eight-pointed stars and, on the upper frieze, poly-lobed arches and eight-pointed stars on each side frame a square central medallion bearing the votive inscription 'Mohammed's blessing' in rectangular kufic characters.
The opening, surrounded by two frames, the first in turned wood and the second carved into eight-pointed star knotwork, consists of two gemeled horseshoe arches. These arches are supported on a small column and two small engaged demi-columns in turned wood that are fluted at the base and have simulated capitals. All of the components of this last section are decorated with polychrome plant motifs borrowed both from the Moroccan–Andalusian repertoire and the Ottoman repertoire: foliage, single and double palms, fleurons and carnations.
With its harmonious polychromy, this external window frame, which looked over the courtyard of a wealthy residence of the 13th / 19th century is a good example of the careful work of the Meknès carpenters who gained renown in this art when their town became the capital of the 'Alawid kingdom under the reign of Mulay Isma'il (AH 1083–1140 / AD 1672–1727).

View Short Description

The outer frame of a window overlooking the courtyard of an expensive house is an example of turned, painted wood from Meknès, an art form that flourished in the imperial city from the beginning of the 'Alawid era. The plant decoration is borrowed from Hispano-Maghrebic and Ottoman repertoires.

How date and origin were established:

From stylistic and comparative analysis. This type of carpentry, which gives pre-eminence to polychromy and can be found in other museum examples, was first seen in the late 11th / 17th century and became particularly widespread in the 13th / 19th century when middle-class residences, where this sort of work can still be seen, were built in increasing numbers.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased in 1963.

How provenance was established:

From the place it was purchased and its style, which is typical of Meknès.

Selected bibliography:

Barrucand, M., L'architecture de la qasba de Moulay Ismaïl à Meknès, Casablanca, 1978.
Marçais, G., L'Architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1954.
Paccard, A., Le Maroc et l'artisanat traditionnel islamique dans l'architecture, Vol. 2, Paris, 1979.
Terrasse, H. and Hainaut, J., Les arts décoratifs au Maroc, Paris, 1925.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Window frame" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2022.;ISL;ma;Mus01_A;30;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 40


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