Zellige

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Description:
Zellige, zillij or zellij () is terra cotta tilework covered with enamel in the form of chips set into plaster.L'Opinion (May 6, 1992) It is one of the main characteristics of the Moroccan architecture though it is also used in other North African and Muslim countries. It consists of geometrical mosaics made ceramic used mainly as an ornament for walls, ceilings, fountains, floors, pools, tables, etc.

History

The art of zellige flourished at the Hispano-Moresque period (Azulejo). It then appeared in Morocco in the 10th century using nuances of white and brown colours.

The art remained very limited in use until the Merinid dynasty who gave it more importance around the 14th century. Blue, red, green and yellow colours were introduced in the 17th century. The old enamels with the natural colours were used until the beginning of the 20th century and the colors had probably not evolved much since the period of Merinids. The cities of Fes and Meknes remain the centers of this art.

Patrons of the art used zellige historically to decorate their homes as a statement of luxury and the sophistication of the inhabitants. Zellige is typically a series of patterns utilizing colorful geometric shapes. This framework of expression arose from the need of Islamic artists to create spatial decorations that avoided depictions of living things, consistent with the teachings of Islamic law.

Forms and trends

The colour palette of the zellige started to grow rich by...
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