Moroccan pottery

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moroccan handmade pottery

Browse our exquisite collection of traditional Moroccan pottery, Moroccan ceramics, Moroccan Fez platters and Berber Design bowls and platters, ideal to serve fruit or large salads. Each ceramic piece is unique because it features techniques and influences from different regions in Africa inspired by ancient art and architecture. All Moroccan pottery can be used for serving or on display in your home. Casablanca Market brings you accent pieces 100% handmade by Moroccan artisans utilizing techniques passed down from generation to generation.

Moroccan Pottery, Tagines & Ceramics

Most of our pottery and ceramic items are one of a kind. They are made with lots of precision and detail. You can choose from metal inlaid, camel bone inlaid, or simply glazed pottery. If you don’t see what you are looking for, please contact us. We may just have that one piece here in stock.

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A land of great natural beauty, Moroccan ceramic art represents a particular synthesis of various cultural heritages: Berber (influenced by the Carthaginians and Greeks and by the tribal arts of sub-Saharan Africa), Arabic, Persian, Sumerian, French, English, Moorish, Egyptian and Andalusian. Moroccan ceramics are defined by vivid colors and complex geometric patterns that emanate from circular patterns with significant repetition, symmetry, and changes in scale that often create complex effects. The Moroccan artistic tradition generally distinguishes between two areas: urban and rural. In addition to decorative arts such as woodworking and weaving, ceramics manufacture has a long and honorable tradition.

As early as the Neolithic period, the Berbers used the winding technique to make functional pottery. However, in the fifth century B.C., during the period of Carthaginian rule, the wheel was introduced in the Moroccan coastal cities and was used to make pottery. In Roman times, from the second century BC to the seventh century AD, the methods of pottery production became more refined. The “Terra Sigillata” was largely made with impressive patterns and light glazes. Moroccan urban pottery seems to have been produced as early as 814 AD. (during the reign of Idriss II), when thousands of potters specialized in glazing methods came to Fez in Morocco from Cordoba in Spain. The Almoravid dynasty, in the 11th and 12th centuries, saw an increase in the manufacture of pottery and the advent of a flourishing ceramic industry. At the beginning of the 13th century, a study of the city commissioned by the Almohad ruler al-Nasir Muhammad (1199-1213) identified 188 ceramic workshops, and in the 14th century, glazed polychrome earthenware was introduced, using a double firing technique that successfully fixed the colors of the glaze.

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Zillij, an ancient Moroccan pottery tradition, dates back hundreds of years and is used to make hand-cut ceramic tiles. Inspired by Persian ornamentation and Roman mosaics, zillij is the Moroccan art of mosaic, which consists of decorating architecture, floors and walls with multicolored tiles cut by hand and decorated with complex geometric patterns. Moroccan mosaic work is not limited to the Islamic period, nor is it unique to Morocco. Not far from the city of Fez are the remains of Volubilis, a Roman city containing complex marble mosaics for the floor. In Muslim Spain (al-Andalus), the zillij reached a peak that remains evident in the palaces of the Alhambra and the Alcazar.

From the middle of the 11th century, the Almoravids, and later the Almohads, introduced zillij into the buildings of their imperial cities in Morocco and Spain. Examples can still be found in dynastic sites such as the minaret of the Kutubiyya Mosque in Marrakech, the Hassan Tower in Rabat and the Giralda in Seville. Today, zillij is also applied to table tops that are often placed on wrought iron bases. The production of zillij is extremely time-consuming and requires a large workforce, as well as the skills of highly skilled craftsmen. Private patronage is expensive to set up and remains a factor in the sustainability of the art. In the creation of zillij, individual ceramic pieces, called furmah, are carefully cut from glazed tiles. Thousands of furmah are then laid face down to create patterns. Precision is essential so that the edges meet perfectly. Once the pieces are in place, a concrete mix is poured on the back to create a slab that, once hardened, can be attached to a wall, floor or other surface. A zillij artist is called a zlayji in Moroccan Arabic. Many researchers and art historians believe that the art of zillij reached its peak in the 16th century in the Saadian tombs of Marrakech; however, the royal palaces and public buildings built between 1961 and 1999 by King Hassan II show exemplary contemporary mosaic works. Mosaics can also be found outside the madinah, in modern Fez, and can also be seen on the facades of buildings and in the entrance halls, at the counters of cafes and even in sidewalk planters. In the medina, the zillij adorns the Attarine and Bou Inaniyya madrasas or Islamic schools of the 14th century, the Qarawiyyin mosque and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, founder of Fez. The book Zillij: The Art of Moroccan Ceramics by John Hedgcoe and Salma S. Damluji is an excellent reference for further study.

moroccan traditional pottery

Today, there are four major pottery production centers in Morocco: Wadi Lan, Rabat, Safi and Fez. The rich red clay of Wadi Lans is ideal for the production of unglazed terracotta objects – oil lamps, coal burners, kitchen utensils and simple kilnware that are very popular with tourists. On the banks of the Abu Reg Reg River, located in the Rabat region, a large pottery colony creates a variety of glazed and unglazed items. The style of pottery in Rabat was strongly influenced by the French settlers, and traditional Islamic motifs are produced in conjunction with more contemporary styles. On the Atlantic coast of Al Jorfal Asfar (the “yellow coast”), yellow clays are used to make pottery in Safi, especially large dishes and bowls decorated with curved black lines and topped with a blue-green color called turquoise by the French. Safi ceramics are among the most popular in Morocco and are known for their colorful representations of both traditional and contemporary designs. Today, Safi is internationally recognized as one of the most important pottery manufacturing centers in Morocco.

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Fez, the oldest city in Morocco, is known worldwide for its blue pottery, called Bleu de Fez by the French and Fakhari by the locals. During the 13th century, a census revealed the presence of 124 potters’ workshops in Fez, and in the 16th century, a section of Fez called Fakhkharin was dedicated to the production of pottery. Two types of Bin Jelleih clay are widely used by the potters of Fez: a creamy yellow clay (from the upper layers) that is used in the production of storage pots and water cups, and a clay from the lower layers that is dried in the sun before firing cookies in kilns to obtain a white body ready for decoration.

Items made from lower-layer clay include a range of blue-on-white decorated pots, bowls, and dishes made by accomplished artisans, many of whom were apprenticed to the trade as children. One of the most popular items is the jebana, a dome-shaped container with a lid that was traditionally used to store local cheese called jbna. When modern refrigeration made the storage capacity of the jebana cheese obsolete, its function was translated into tureens, often sold today with bowls called zalafa and used during Ramadan to serve the hot soup known as haria. Tangines are also popular, glazed or unglazed terracotta objects, which consist of shallow round dishes with conical lids that capture both steam and flavor as the food simmers slowly.

The blue pottery of Fez is made from cobalt from the rocks and stones that are carried by the river into the gorge of Wadi Mellih. Crushed into a fine powder, these stones produced the materials needed to create blue enamels. Today, however, cobalt is no longer abundant and enamels are imported. The designs of the Blue of Fez are characterized by complex geometric patterns that adhere to Islamic precepts. The potters mix the finely ground powders obtained from mineral springs with a variable quantity of water to achieve different colors and tones. The decoration is applied by master craftsmen, often with hand-made horsehair and bamboo brushes.

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The Moroccan pottery is famous for its bright colors and for its floral decoration, its palm motifs and arabesques. In particular, it is defined by complex geometric patterns that emanate from circular patterns with repetition, symmetry and large changes of scale that often create complex effects. Deep dishes, vases, tea sets, and kitchenware are specialties of regional ceramists. Together, they suggest the rich heritage of Islamic art, Hispano-Moorish influences, and Berber utilitarian simplicity.

moroccan green glazed pottery

Our hand painted Moroccan ceramic products range from unique ceramic pieces to sets such as ceramic soup bowl, ceramic plate, ceramic kojak, ceramic tagine, ceramic candle holder, ceramic ashtray, ceramic plant pot, ceramic safe, ceramic vase, ceramic dish, ceramic bowl, ceramic plant pot, ceramic tadelakt, ceramic tray, decorative ceramic, ceramic teapot, ceramic fruit bowl, old urn, old rustic pot, ceramic fez urn.

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Moroccan Moorish ceramics is based on metal ceramic accent, painted ceramic accent, bone ceramic accent, caligraphy ceramic accent, brass ceramic accent, carved ceramic accent on safi ceramic.

antique moroccan pottery

Our hand-painted Moroccan ceramics are made using Moroccan techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation by artists. From mixing the clay by walking on the mixture to the use of the potter’s wheel operated by foot. Once a piece is molded, it is sent to the kilns which use dried wood to bake it.

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Then the last step is the decoration. Each artist has their own style of decoration, so some in Morocco can tell you who made each final product.

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