I am enamored with these tiles.
Such creativity with installation; such enhancement in architecture.
This is exactly what Interior Design is all about.
In today’s blog we take a look into history and theory behind Zillij style: the foundation for all Moroccan and Spanish tile.
According to Zillij: The Art of Moroccan Ceramics, Zillij is “the subtle application of man’s feelings through form and color, exactly as the house is designed to reflect his requirements. Zillij is an expression of man’s interior world.”
Take a moment, if you will, to reflect on that statement. Building with purpose. Design with inner thoughts expressed through outer decoration and adornment. A true refection of self in design.
Zillij is an Islamic art that is based on learning, discipline, and faith. The geometric patterns reflect the Islamic belief that life is ordered by cosmic intelligence, even if people cannot always understand it. The abstract patterns reflect the Islamic desire to understand God’s creation through study rather than copy creation through representational art, which is shunned as a pathway to idolatry. Zillij patterns are constructed from archetypal shapes that have been refined by centuries of scientific study, artistic tradition, and religious belief.
Fundamentally, the purpose of zillij is decoration used to inspire the viewer into meditative reflection of the underlying laws governing the universe. Since Islamic tradition frowns on representational art, Muslims celebrate beauty through decorative arts, such as arabesques, textiles, architecture, tile work, and pottery design.
The Prophet Mohammad is quoted as saying “God is beautiful and loves beauty.” The Prophet’s love of learning, appreciation of beauty, and directive to avoid representational art provided an ideal set of constraints for the creation and support of zillij art work. It is hard to imagine this art form arising from any other tradition.
The lines in Moroccan geometry are straight as opposed to the curved lines used in Middle Eastern art traditions. This straight line is thought to be an influence of pre-Islamic architecture, constructed by the Berber (Amazigh) populations before Islamic culture arrived in North Africa. The Moroccan line can be seen in both the hard edges of zillij tiles and the rectangular, not round, minaret of mosques.
In 711 A.D. the Moors conquered Spain and introduced a variety of artistic techniques to Europe, including a unique way of painting ceramic tiles… thus begins the Moroccan Tile. Master craftsmen called ‘Maalam Ferach’ would study from a young age to learn how to design and create grand mosaics with the tiles, and not surprisingly it became a symbol of sophistication and wealth in many homes.
Modern-day Spanish Tiles range from elaborately decorated and colorful mosaic tiles to those with options for replicating wood floors. The tiles may be quite expensive but are extremely high-quality and durable. From bathroom and kitchen ceramic Spanish tiles to high quality wood look Spanish tiles you can find a host of different finishes. The origins of Spanish tile however, are modest and stretch back thousands of years.
Before then Muslim invasion of Spain in the year 711, ceramics had been utilized in structural design in the form of
unglazed bricks, mosaic prices, roofing tiles, water channels, eaves, etc. However, the introduction of glazed tiles or tiles enameled with metallic oxides was a contribution of Islamic culture. The first European use of such tiles was in Spain, and their use eventually spread throughout the Western world.
During Medieval times, ceramics were widely produced in Southern and Coastal Eastern Spain, such as tiles for decoration and construction, as well as earthenware utilitarian pieces. Great pieces of artisan tile were created for churches and palaces throughout Spain.
Tiles and other ceramic pieces were exported from Seville and Cadiz first throughout the Mediterranean and then later, the world. With time, the knowledge and styles of ceramics developed in Spain diffused throughout Europe, making Spain just one of many centers of tile and ceramic ware manufacturing. One of the greatest recipients of this tradition was Mexico, centering in the colonial capital of Puebla. Latin Accents is proud to bring you the products of this centuries old tradition.
Get Inspired with these General Room installations:
Feature Walls and Fireplaces
Elegant use in Exteriors:
As always, I hope today’s post encourages you to do great work.