Elementary Islamic Architecture: The Art of Wood Field Trip

This is the first part of our series on Elementary Islamic Architecture for children.  We will have later units on the symbolism and features of Islamic architecture as part of this new curricula.  This post concerns a field trip to the wood museum of the Fez Medina in Morocco.  We visited this museum to begin our introduction to Islamic architecture for children.  Wood is one of the important construction materials in traditional Islamic architecture.

In the symbolism of Islamic architecture wood brings warmth and soft texture to the home in contrast with cold elements like tile.

This room showed several examples of carved wooden doors.  The traditional doors of Fez are made from aged cedar wood.  After the cedar wood was harvested it would be aged and dried for 50 years before the doors would be made and carved.  Because of the length of this process these doors are no longer made.

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This room featured decorative wood panels that would be found in the space of a room where the wall meets the ceiling like crown molding.

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This room featured painted doors and windows embellished with geometric art.

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This room featured objets that were used by infants and children.  This object served as a sort of palanquin for elevating a child at a party.

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This room featured minbars that are used to elevate a speaker during the friday prayer service in a mosque.

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This room featured many examples of prayer beads called tasbih.  These beads are used to count special prayers recited at spiritual gatherings.

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The children were greatly impressed with the wood museum and this exercise stimulated interest in some of the elements of Islamic architecture that we hope to study soon in our new curricula.

Please share your ideas for teaching Islamic architecture to children.

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