The art of ‘atauriques’

The art of arabesques with vegetal motifs, called “ataurique” in spanish (from the arab attawriq), flourished in Al-Andalús in plasterwork on the walls of the palaces of Caliphs, Taifas and Nasrids. In Morocco today, traditional halls are still covered with this type of ornamentation, which takes its inspiration from all sort of flowers and plants – jasmine, acanthus, pineapple and leaves in general. But arabesques were also carved out of marble and even ivory, as can be seen on many decorated chests.

In the cover photography, an arabesque from the Alhambra of Grenade. At left, an arabesque from Madinat az-Zahra, Cordoba.

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