Name of Object:

Zellij panel


Fez, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Batha Museum

Original Owner:

The State

Current Owner:

Historical Monuments Department

Date of Object:

Hegira 986-1002 / AD 1578–93

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Polychrome earthenware mosaic.


Height 76.5 cm, length 76.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Badi Palace, Marrakesh, Morocco.


Panel of a wall covering from the Badi Palace consisting of a mosaic of glazed ceramic pieces or zellij. Its testir decoration is entirely geometric. Its design employs star shapes, squares and triangles, and its composition is radial.
Thin knotwork lines alternating between blue and black spread from a centrepiece consisting of a 16-pointed star surrounded by a black fillet to form a large cross shape delimited by black knotwork, inside which there is a myriad of small white twinkling stars. Other yellow-ochre, blue and black knotwork lines branch out from this figure to make other larger compositions and star motifs that extend to the edges of the panel.
This small sample of zellij facing is testimony to the finesse and magnificence of the famous panels with which the walls of the Badi Palace were covered, which its founder, the Sa'did monarch Mansur al-Dhahabi (the Doric) wanted to be more beautiful and larger than in the Alhambra in Granada. The coverings of its ceilings and walls were praised by both Moroccan chroniclers and foreign visitors who were received in the Badi Palace in its heyday, before it was entirely destroyed and pillaged at the beginning of the 'Alawid era.

View Short Description

This zellij panel has a radiating composition and is decorated with star, square and triangle shapes. It is evidence of the finesse and magnificence of the wainscoting in the Badi Palace, whose founder wanted panelling more beautiful than that of the Alhambra.

How date and origin were established:

The construction of the monument from which it came would have begun in AH 986 / AD 1578 and would have been completed in AH 1002 / AD 1594.

How Object was obtained:

Salvaged by the Historical Monuments Department after the site was excavated.

How provenance was established:

Object found during excavation of the monument.

Selected bibliography:

Deverdun, G., Inscriptions arabes de Marrakech, Rabat, 1956.
Deverdun, G., Marrakech des origines à nos jours, Rabat, 1959.
Paccard, A., Le Maroc et l'artisanat traditionnel islamique dans l'architecture, Vol. 1, Paris, 1979.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Zellij panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;ma;Mus01_C;43;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 65


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in


As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)