Almohad Frieze with multi-coloured epigraphic decoration
Dª Cecilia Puy
This unusual piece in wood is now on display for the first time. Its most striking feature is its carving in relief at a single level and its polychrome decoration. It is one of the few friezes whose colour has survived, above all with remains of whites, blacks and reds. This vivid polychrome hints at the splendour of Hispano-Muslim art and the visual plasticity that the Muslim craftsmen must have achieved in their artwork in wood, bestowing a great sense of naturalism on their work.
A large section of the frieze survives today in which the decoration is divided into two main parts with the inscriptions in the centre and the plant motifs filling the space around it, so offering a beautiful mingling of poetry and nature in which the floral decorations weave a perfect weft around the writing.
The different motifs are painted in different colours: the backgrounds are in deep red, the script in black and the palm and plant motifs are mainly in white. It also uses the black of the outlines as a drawing line that penetrates the shapes to produce a more natural image.
These inscriptions were normally of a secular nature often offering dedications and best wishes to the owner of the house (whose name did not appear), and were normally rounded off with the phrase “be for its owner”.
Visitors will find out about the importance of these pieces in both structural and ornamental terms, in that they are also a great source of knowledge for historians, as are the plasterwork and wall-tiling decorations so often found in the Alhambra.
Time: Saturdays at 12 h
Place: Room III, Museum of the Alhambra, Palace of Charles V