A gorgeously tiled and carved Moroccan court, at a reduced scale
May 20, 2015 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Building the Moroccan Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art [slyt, 17m44s] "In 2011, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, which house the Museum's renowned collection of Islamic art. A vital part of the installation was the Patti Cadby Birch Court, a Moroccan court built by a team of experts—from curators and historians to designers and craftsmen—over many months.... This video documents a marvelous journey from Fez to New York, and the creation of a twenty-first-century court using traditional fifteenth-century methods."
posted by ocherdraco (5 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. That was phenomenally beautiful. I clicked thinking I'd just watch a minute or two, but was enthralled & watched the whole thing. Breathtaking. Thank you for posting!
posted by philotes at 3:59 PM on May 20, 2015

Thank you so much for posting this. Amazing.
posted by user92371 at 4:42 PM on May 20, 2015

Thanks so much for posting this.

I saw the Moroccan Court in the MET a few years ago, and went through it with a museum docent. The docent mentioned that the structure had been built by artisans from Morocco, but it never occurred to me that there would be a video showing it. So this puts it all together, and I really like seeing the other side of it (ie, Morocco, the people who built it, etc.).

The video mentions this NY Times article, which I also missed out on. Linking it here for other people who might be interested.

A small thing that the article made me realize (it should have been obvious, museum, blah blah blah) was that the artisans don't even do this type of work now. So blurbs from the article,

Sheila R. Canby, who was recruited two years ago from the British Museum to lead the Met’s Islamic department and oversee the renovation of the galleries, said that the back and forth between the craftsmen and the curators had sometimes been tumultuous. The Moroccans, who are known for their restoration work on important mosques and other landmarks in the Middle East, are in essence living historians who have carried on patterns and designs preserved in practice for generations. But they have never attempted a job requiring this level of historical attention or artistry, one whose goal is to look as authentic to Moroccan eyes as to those of scholars.

...“They’d say to us, ‘But our great grandfathers did it this way,’ and we would tell them, ‘We’re taking you even further back into your history.’ ”

...Mohammed Naji and seven other plaster carvers had just set to work on the most painstaking part of the job, incising interlaced patterns into the still-soft wall, arabesques and other forms so tiny and complex that each man can sometimes complete only a four-inch square over the course of a day.

“This kind of work is really not done anymore in Morocco — it’s too time consuming, too cost prohibitive,”

Thanks again for posting the video. I will probably few more times. I might take myself over to the MET again to check it out now that I can put more context around it.
posted by Wolfster at 5:38 PM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

I like Islamic art. It finds beauty in chaos. GIS "Isfahan."
posted by rankfreudlite at 6:49 PM on May 20, 2015

Wow that was amazing! I'm now kicking myself for missing this after my recent visit to the MET.
posted by dhruva at 8:29 AM on May 21, 2015

« Older How Much Do Athletes Make?   |   A week in Yemen Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments