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Introduction to Andalusian Maghribi Illumination

In this program, students will learn the basic techniques of Zakhrafa, the Andalusian tradition of Islamic Illumination.

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 Introduction to Andalusian Maghribi Illumination
 Introduction to Andalusian Maghribi Illumination

Time & Location

Oct 01, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM UTC


Course Details


Course Title: Introduction to Andalusian Maghribi Illumination

Course Schedule: Sunday 8 PM UTC | 3 PM CST (convert to local timezone)

18 Week Session

October 1 - December 17, 2023

[Winter Break]

January 7 - February 25, 2024

Course Format: Online corrections (2 hours) / recorded lessons 15-30 minutes

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Fouad Blili

Translator: TBD

Age Restriction: 15+


Andalusian Maghribi Illumination represents an Islamic decorative style that originated in the North African region and spread to Andalusia with the expansion of Islam in the region. This decorative style was widely used in Andalusian Moroccan architecture and handicrafts.

One of its prominent applications was the embellishment of Qur'ans and Islamic books, making it one of the notable uses of Andalusian Moroccan ornament. These decorations are characterized by intricate and complex details, combining botanical and geometric elements beautifully and harmoniously. They also feature precious materials such as gold and silver in their coloring and vibrant colors. This reflects a refined taste and high craftsmanship in design and manual execution, capturing the spirit of creativity and beauty in Andalusian Moroccan culture.

The course consists of three modules based on the fundamental stages of Moroccan-Andalusian ornament: the geometric design stage, the floral ornamentation design stage, and the application stage. The course begins with an introduction to Andalusian Maghribi ornament, its features, evolution, and applications. Students will analyze the components of the Moroccan-Andalusian decorative panel and become familiar with different decorative elements such as calligraphy, geometric patterns, and vegetal motifs.


- Module 1: Geometric Design

Students will practice drawing geometric designs and be assigned a  project to create a design of geometric patterns for their artwork.

- Module  2. Floral Ornamentation  Design

Students will learn to design floral ornamentation units and their various elements. Students will understand basic ornamentation and design elements, such as the basic unit of pattern structure, binary leaves, individual leaves, links, and flowers. Students will also construct plant units for the geometric design created in the first module.

- Module 3: Application Stage

Students will learn techniques for gilding, outlining, and coloring in ornament. Students will become familiarized with the tools and materials used in these techniques and will learn to apply gilding, outlining, and coloring techniques to the decorative panel designed.

Classes will be conducted online using Zoom, and instructional pre-recorded videos. Whatsapp will be used for communication, sharing information, and homework.


Students are expected to allocate 10 hours per week to attend live online classes, practice, and prepare their lessons for submission.


Students can buy supplies from Islamic Art Supplies (click to view) or an alternative store.


Fouad Blili is a professor of Maghribi Ornamental Art at Al-Qarawiyyin University in Fez, Morocco, with seven years of experience in this field. He has won several excellence awards and supervised projects in the design of the Holy Quran. He has several specializations in the Maghribi-Andalusian style.

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