Name of Object:



Fez, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Batha Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 690 / AD 1291

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Yellow copper, carving and openwork.


Upper diameter 67 cm, base diameter 24.3 cm

Period / Dynasty:





This copper object consists of a six-segment ring on a cylindrical drum supported by six consoles.
The ring acts as a plate to which were fixed the metallic supports that held the oil jars that were used as lamps. It is decorated with inscriptions and plant motifs, both combined with and independent of the inscriptions.
The inscriptions are engraved on two circular bands that delimit its surface. On the outer band, the inscription in cursive characters includes pious formulas and eulogies, as well as the date the chandelier was made.
The inner band, engraved in kufic characters, combines a eulogy and floral decoration.
Between the two bands there is a wide section of openwork and carved plant decoration, including palms on foliage (single or asymmetrical palms with calyxes and double palms with axillary buds).
The same decorative scheme can be found on the surface of the drum. Between two bands containing votive inscriptions in cursive characters, a wide openwork band bears a votive inscription in kufic characters and floral motifs emerging from foliage.
The flower-shaped consoles are decorated with plant motifs engraved in the spandrels and votive inscriptions in the rectangular frame.
This light is a simplified prototype of the plate chandeliers used since the Almohad period until the beginning of the 20th century to light mosques and prayer rooms in madrasas. These chandeliers, which belonged to sanctuaries, were carefully decorated, particularly under the Marinids. The chandelier of the Taza mosque and Al-'Attarin Madrasa in Fez are two of the best examples.

View Short Description

This lamp, decorated with inscriptions and plant motifs, is a simplified prototype of the plate chandelier, which had metal supports for the oil jars. They were used to decorate and light prayer rooms as late as the beginning of the 20th century.

How date and origin were established:

The inscription engraved on the outer band of the plate finishes by mentioning the date of manufacture: 'Made on 11 Dhu'l Qa'dah 690' (4 November 1291).

How Object was obtained:

Purchased in 1987.

How provenance was established:

The object was bought in Fez and resembles chandeliers from the Marinid mosques and madrasas of that town.

Selected bibliography:

Amahan, A. and Cambazard, C., 6000 d'Art au Maroc, catalogue, Paris, 1990.
Terrasse, M., “Le mobilier liturgique Mérinide”, Bulletin d'archéologie marocaine, Vol. X, Rabat, 1976, pp.185–208.
Andalusian Morocco: A Discovery in Living Art, pp.98–9.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Chandelier" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;ma;Mus01_C;20;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 24


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Marinids and Wattasids

On display in

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Metalwork


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