October 27, 2021

Islamic art history: the Almoravid and Almohad periods

In 1062, the Almoravid dynasty conquered morocco and established its capital in Marrakesh. Later, the Almoravids entered Al Andalus with Yusuf ibn Tashfin as their leader and took control of it in 1090. However, they still maintained their principal seat in Marrakesh. The Almoravids managed to govern some parts of the Sahara, Morocco, Spain, and Algeria.

Even though the Almoravid were a pretty conservative dynasty, they succumbed to the luxury culture of al Andalus. This led them to order extravagant architectural works, such as the minbars of the Kutubiyya mosque in Marrakesh and the Qarawiyyin mosque in Fes.

In 1150, the Almohads, a Berber dynasty from North Africa, replaced the Almoravids. They took control of Morocco, Badajoz, Seville, Cordoba, and Almeria. Besides, Seville was made the capital in Al Andalus and Marrakech the central power in north Africa.

The Almohad art was characterized by excellent use of geometric patterns and the schematization of ornaments. Some of their most outstanding works are the walls of Fes, Rabat, and Marrakesh, the Kutubiyya mosque in Marrakesh, and the Hassan tour in Rabat (unfinished).

Both the Almoravid and Almohad periods witnessed the introduction of abstract geometric decoration, defined by intertwining harmoniously polygonal and starry shapes. The monuments produced by both dynasties are still recognized worldwide, and many people desire to visit them.

Research sources: