Tiles of Morocco

By Claire Kalikman


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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]orocco is a colorful country, due in no small part to the intricate tile work that lines nearly every wall, from the King’s tomb to the streets of the Medina. The tile style is often called Zellige, and has roots in Spanish-Moroccan culture. As a result, the tile pattern is also often found in Andalucia, in the south of Spain. Tile production continues to flourish in Fez, which we visited, and also Meknes. Detailed tile work is a facet of Islamic art; Islamic law teaches that art should avoid the depiction of living things, thus detailed decorative work is more common.

We were particularly struck by the amount of tilework in our riad (hotel): I counted at least ten different patterns of mosaic, but somehow they all came together to look artful, not cluttered. The secret seemed to be to stick to a common color theme, in this case green and orange. It was our first introduction into the Moroccan mentality of the more color, the better. Below, some pictures of tiles from the Rabat and Fez medinas, our riad in Salé, and a café.  


Claire is a rising sophomore in Morse College. You can contact her at claire.kalikman@yale.edu