Islamic Art From Spain, An Important Moroccan Or Nasrid Recycled Wooden Fragment Altered Into A Box, Probably Fez Or Granada, Morocco Or Andalusia, Probably 15th And 19th Century.

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Islamic Art From Spain, An Important Moroccan Or Nasrid Recycled Wooden Fragment Altered Into A Box, Probably Fez Or Granada, Morocco Or Andalusia, Probably 15th And 19th Century.

This very unusual rectangular shaped box was probably made out of recycled and much older thick wooden fragment that had been saved or taken from another object and been altered into a box.
For there is a clear contradiction between the top of the box and it’s other plane parts.

The unique characteristic, quality, style, resources and elements used in the making of the surface of the top of this box is very similar and reminiscent to early Islamic works of art from this part of the world, that have not been revived up to this standards on later and much recent centuries, but the shape and the empty sides of the box suggest that it was made in a much later period.

Early decorative Islamic woodwork that was used in covering plane surfaces and other Islamic furniture were thick in general. Therefore we suggest that a thick decorative wooden element was taken and had been cut into two parts and then been altered into a useable box, or an additional wooden piece was added to make the base of the box to match its modified upper part.

The Central part of the box top is decorated with a carved and inscribed wooden panel, the edges surrounding the central part are inlaid with marquetry woodwork of ivory and ebony which is inlaid with additional eight beautifully carved and engraved wooden panels.

Neither locks nor a keyhole was made to the box due to its very short heights.

The suggested alteration probably took place in the 18th or in the 19th century, in the city of Fez, this box was probably made or owned by
by Si Taieb El Kadri or (Mr Tyyib Al-Qadiri) as his name is clearly inscribed in old ink on the lined Moroccan leather covering the box base in both Arabic and French languages.

Who can possibly be Si Taieb El Kadiri?!
According to Wikipedia (both in Arabic & English languages)

Mohammed Ibn Al-Tayyib Al-Qadiri

He was born in Morocco and lived between 1712-1773 AD.,
He was a very well known Sufi historian and was a descendant of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jailani.
After the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in 1258 AD., his family immigrated to the city of Al-Kufa and then to Andalusia-Spain.
After the fall of the last Umayyad dynasty in Andalusia, his family immigrated and settled in the moroccan city of Fez.

The central part is beautifully inscribed by using the elegant Maghriabi Kufic style script, the Arabic inscription says

(بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم)

Translates to (In the name of Allah the Merciful).

Condition:- Very Good, some tear and wear, minor wood and ivory beading loss to the top.


30 cm wide.
6 cm height.
22 cm deep.


For similar decoration, please see

1- Maroc Medieval, Un Empire De L’Afrique A L’Espagne. L’album De L’exposition, The Louvre Museum edition.

The very similar woodwork and decoration of the fourteenth century Minbar in the mosque of Madrasa Bu’ inaniya Qasaba in Fez, lot illustrated on page 38.

The almost identical woodwork and decoration of the twelfth century Minbar in the mosque of Al Qasaba in Marrakesh, lot illustrated on pages 28 & 29.

The Stucco wall decoration at the mosque of Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, lot illustrated on pages 14 & 15.

2-The very similar techniques and decoration used in the making of the wooden octagonal box, Made in Andalusia-Spain around the (1400-1500 AD.), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.
The Rogers fund, 1950 Lot No. (50.86), the former owner Mr. Edwin M. Berolzheimer.

3- Morocco, Marrakesh-Fez-Rabat, Text by Rom Landau, Photographs by Wim Swaan, Elk Books Limited, 2 All Saints Street, London N1.

The Stucco and The Carved Cedar wood details in the court of Medrasa Bu Inaniya in Fez, pages 75-77 & lot 55, also see the carved wood on pages 90-91, and the court of the fourteen-century Marinid Dynasty (Attarin Medrasa) in Fez, pages 110, 111.
  • Identification Number: 261

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