Intercultural

A Reflection on Sublimity: Moroccan Art

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Madeline Quasebarth is a student at Carnegie Mellon University and an ISA Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA Service Learning in Meknes, Morocco.

Upon arriving in Morocco, one is immediately taken by the sublimity which can be found in the Moroccan landscape. From the vast sky dominated by beautiful sunsets…

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Sunset over Meknes.

to the rolling mountains…

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View from Rif Mountain.

to the bustling Medinas…

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Marrakesh Medina.

it is clear that the sublime is present at every turn. Moroccan art, as art often does, serves as a reflection of culture, ecology, and environmental surroundings. It reflects this sort of immense-ness that is beyond comprehension and is crucial, from an outsider’s perspective in understanding and engaging with the Moroccan landscape and Moroccan culture. One can see this sublimity within Moroccan art, in such architectural wonders as Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, and within such everyday objects as a craftsman’s woven creations.

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Hassan II Mosque.

 

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Weaver in Fez.

There is a quality in the art here that has the ability to both overwhelm and to center, simultaneously.

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Metal Works in Meknes.

When one walks in the Hassan II Mosque they are overwhelmed with the vastness and sublimity of this creation. However within the minuscule details that are present in every corner there are these moments to offer a quiet reflection on the beauty which is life.

 

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Hassan II Mosque.

 

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Detail of Moroccan Craft.

It is this dual quality that I believe, gives insight into an over-arching theme in Moroccan culture which can be seen in the visual art of Morocco, and heard in such auditory art as the Muezzins call to prayer. My interpretation of the call to prayer is that it reminds believers to take a moment to look at life and see its beauty and vastness and to thank God for the creation of life and existence. This theme breaks down the essentials of Moroccan art, which is that one can only understand the importance of the very small, when placed next to the very large. In this way one can began to better learn the importance of the moment and be thankful to exist in such beauty.

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Quiet Sunset in Meknes.

The world awaits…discover it.

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