The Unique Fez Style: Tiles

Moroccan inspired interior design and architecture has a warm, spicy flair-the perfect theme to create a private exotic oasis getaway right in your own home. Let your creativity flow as you delve into the artistic charm of this old world culture. With several official languages, Morocco is a crossroad of many cultures and styles. Often used as a source of inspiration for painters, writers and hippies, Morocco can be seen as a captivating oasis. The Moroccan style is so hot right now.

Moroccan tiles also know as Moorish tiles or Zillij mosaic tile, Zellidj, Zillij, Zellij, zellige and is an important element Moorish and Moroccan architecture and decorating. The word tile is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, derived from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay.
The process of production begins by mixing clay and water and kneeling them by hands and feet until they reach a high level of flexibility and homogeneity. Then, the mixture is cut into squares of 1 cm thickness each. The squares get dried up under the sun before they are put in a special oven for their first phase baking. The tiles are placed in different levels according to the degree of temperature required to attain a particular color. The white tile is often placed in the bottom followed by the blue, yellow, and the green on the top. The second phase starts removing the tiles from the oven and separate them by their colors; once done with this process, they start drawing the patterns of the intended design directly on tiles; this is done by ‘rasham’ followed by the cutting process which is performed by ‘naqqash’ who carefully separate the drawn pattern by a sharpened hammer. Last but not least, ‘khallas’ or finisher finishes the work by cutting the tiles’ edges assuring that they meet all requirements for production. With the help of a team, the zillij master draws the design layout on the ground and places each furmah or piece of tile in its exact place in the overall pattern. Interestingly enough, the placement of tiles is done upside down, which makes it even more difficult to absorb.

The art of handcrafting Moroccan tiles 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.

Moroccan tiles and the art of mosaic tiles dates back many centuries in the old city of fez in Morocco. Handmade, hand-glazed and hand-cut Moroccan mosaics are crafted using traditional and regional organic clays and glaze pigments. Moroccan tiles are historic tiles dated many centuries ago from the famous Al Hambra palaces and Granada in Spain to the luxurious homes in Fez Morocco. Moroccan tiles are rich of complex geometric patterns that refflect the beauty of the ancien art of geometry.

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