Who were the North African Moors



Moorish art


“Moorish art” is generally understood to mean the art of the Islamic West (Andalusia, Maghreb). Strictly speaking, however, the early phase, i.e. H. the Mezquita de Córdoba still belongs to the tradition of the Islamic East (Damascus). In its early days, Islamic art was still largely under ancient Roman and Byzantine influence, but the Islamic world emerged in the west (Maghreb) with the occupation of power by various Berber tribes - some of which were mutually hostile - in the 11th and 12th centuries. In the 19th century, an art style called 'Moorish' emerged. The artisans took over elements from the Arabic art of the Near East and combined them with materials and decorative motifs from their own tradition.


This becomes particularly clear in architecture: columns, domes, inner courtyards, etc. come primarily from ancient architecture, which the Arabs got to know and adapted in the course of their conquests and raids. Most of the decorative elements (braided ribbons, diamonds, hexagons, stars, etc.) - often combined to form endless patterns, were also preformed in late antique mosaic art, but were further developed into true masterpieces by the artisans of the Islamic world, especially of the Maghreb (see also: Sebka).


Typical materials of Moorish architecture are bricks for the load-bearing structure, tile mosaics, stucco and cedar wood as facing and green-glazed roof tiles (initially only for mosques, later also for mausoleums and palaces). Hewn natural stones were only used for columns and capitals.


In ceramic and jewelry art as well as in carpet and fabric weaving, motifs similar to those used in architecture were often used. Originally these had - in addition to their purely decorative purpose - disastrous (apotropaic) functions.

See also

as namesake:


  • Marianne Barucand, Achim Bednorz: Moorish architecture in Andalusia. Taschen-Verlag, Cologne, ISBN 3-8228-0424-X.
  • Arnold beds: Morocco. Antiquity, Berber Traditions and Islam - History, Art and Culture in the Maghreb. DuMont, Ostfildern 2012, ISBN 978-3-7701-3935-4.
  • Georg Bossong: Moorish Spain. History and culture. Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-55488-9.
  • Burchard Brentjes: The Moors. Islam in North Africa and Spain (642–1800). Vienna 1989, ISBN 3-7008-0381-8.
  • Burchard Brentjes: The art of the Moors. Islamic Traditions in North Africa and Southern Spain. DuMont, Cologne 1992, ISBN 3-7701-2720-X.
  • Michael Brett, Werner Forman: The Moors. Islamic culture in North Africa and Spain. Atlantis-Verlag, Lucerne 1986, ISBN 3-7611-0684-X.
  • André Clot: Moorish Spain. 800 years of high Islamic culture in Al Andalus. Patmos, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-491-96116-5.
  • Wolfgang Creyaufmüller: Nomad culture in the Western Sahara. The material culture of the Moors, their handicraft techniques and basic ornamental structures. Burgfried, Hallein 1983, ISBN 3-85388-011-8.
  • Catherine Gaignard: Maures et chrétiens à Grenade 1492–1570. Paris et al. 1997, ISBN 2-7384-5656-1.
  • Arnold Hottinger: The Moors - Arabic Culture in Spain. Fink, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-7705-3075-6.
  • Franz Wördemann: The booty belongs to Allah. The history of the Arabs in Spain. Piper, Munich / Zurich 1985, ISBN 3-492-02794-6.
  • Michael Kassar: Moorish architecture and culture in Andalusia using the example of the Real Alcázar of Seville. Salzburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-7357-3772-4.

Web links