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Marinid

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The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture What is This? Provides in-depth historical and cultural information on over a thousand years of Islamic art and architecture

Marinid

Islamic dynasty that ruled in northwest Africa from 1196 to 1465. The Marinids, a tribe of nomadic Zanata Berbers, took Marrakesh from the last Almohad ruler in 1269 and extended their power in the 14th century. Abu῾l-Hasan ῾Ali (r. 1331–48) conquered all of North Africa, thus reconstituting the great Almohad Empire, but was unable to sustain rule in Tunisia and was forced to withdraw in 1341. His son Abu ῾Inan Faris (r. 1348–59) renewed the successful campaign against the Hafsid realm of Tunis, but was obliged to withdraw hurriedly. The dynasty then began a decline that ended in its extinction in 1465, although a collateral branch, the Wattasids, continued to rule in Fez until 1549.

Marinid rule was marked by an unprecedented flourishing of literature, due to the patronage of the first generation of sovereigns. Their architectural legacy (see Architecture, §VI, D, 2) was considerable, beginning with Abu Yusuf Ya῾qub (r. 1258–86) who founded New Fez (Arab. fās al-jadīd) where he built his palace, a mosque and a Madrasa, the second of its kind in Morocco. The mosque at Taza and the great mosque of al-Mansura near Tlemcen with its lavishly decorated minaret are attributed to Abu Ya῾qub Yusuf (r. 1286–1308). Numerous houses and palaces were built under the Marinid princes, who also completed the various urban fortifications begun by Abu Yusuf Ya῾qub (see Military architecture and fortification, §III). Abu῾l-Hasan ῾Ali was the most prolific builder of the dynasty, and his works include the necropolis at Chella (see Rabat), numerous madrasas and mosques. Abu ῾Inan Faris constructed madrasas at Fez and Meknès, both of which are known eponymously. Marinid architectural decoration is characterized by an abundance of sculpted stucco and wood and tile on façades and courtyards, a style partly inspired by Nasrid architecture of Granada, but also preserving purely Moroccan characteristics.

Many Marinid foundations were embellished with fine objects. Bronze chandeliers, such as the ones made for mosques in Taza and Fez, continue Almohad traditions (see Metalwork, §III, D). Wooden minbars, such as the one in the mosque at Taza, also continue the proportions and techniques of strapwork decoration established in earlier centuries, but are decorated with ebony and ivory inlays (see Woodwork, §II, A). Fine silk textiles were undoubtedly produced under the Marinids, but only two banners (Toledo, Mus. Catedralicio), both made at Fez and captured at the battle of the Rio Salado in 1340, are known to have been woven in North Africa (see Textiles, §III, C). A rare example of a Marinid manuscript is a copy of the Koran (Paris, Bib. N., MS. arab. 423) commissioned by Abu ῾Inan Faris.

Bibliography

  • Enc. Islam/2: “Marīnids”
  • R. Le Tourneau: Fez in the Age of the Marinids (Norman, OK, 1961)
  • J. Revault, L. Golvin and A. Amahan: Palais et demeures de Fès (Paris, 1985)
  • S. S. Blair: “Sufi Saints and Shrine Architecture in the Early Fourteenth Century,” Muqarnas, vii (1990), pp. 35–49
  • S. S. Blair and J. M. Bloom: The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250–1800, Pelican History of A. (London, 1994), chap. 9
  • C. Palmer: “The Rise of the Marīnid Madrasa,” Fes Occasional Papers, ii (1996), pp. 16–20
  • B. Afatach: “La madrasa d’Abû al-Hasan al-Marînî de Salé, une oeuvre architecturale marocaine du XIVe siècle,” Rev. Hist. Maghréb, xxvi/93–4 (1999), pp. 183–95
  • A. Torremocha Silva and V. Martínez Enamorado: “Almorávides, almohades y meriníes,” Algeciras andalusí (siglos VIII–XIV). Catálogo de la exposición. Equipo redactor: Darío Bernal Casasola… (Algeciras, 2003), pp. 49–69
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