About this artwork
Geometric tilework comprised of individually cut pieces, or zillij, is a prominent feature of Moroccan architecture dating back more than 700 years. It is incredibly costly to make due to the skill involved in the design and layout of the mosaic. This imitation zillij tile achieves a similar effect while reducing the cost of labor and materials, and it speaks to the enduring importance of the zillij style as a highly prized art form in 19th-century Morocco. In an architectural context, numerous zilij tiles would have been arranged to create an elaborate network of interconnecting forms, such as those found in buildings like Madrasat al-Bu’naniyyah in Fez. The art of zillij is closely connected to a Moroccan sense of space; within public spaces and private homes, the use of zillij tiles could distinguish special rooms meant for important guests. Zillij continues to be a highly venerated art form in Morocco, where a community of dedicated artisans have carried on the traditional methods of the craft.
- Square Tile
- Polychrome pigment applied over opaque white glaze
- 11.9 × 11.7 × 1.8 cm (4 11/16 × 4 9/16 × 3/4 in.)
- Gift of Samuel A. Marx