Light as Ornament
The sunlight in Morocco is spectacular. It adds or subtracts from the depth of color. It creates patterns that change through the day so that a simple trellis becomes a thing of wonder.
Watching how the pattern of light changes through a stain glass window, for example, brings insight into the role of geometric design in Moroccan ornament.
Wrought-iron windows, metal lanterns, and archways, which frame both light and darkness, give insight into the cyclical nature of time.
Geometric patterns found in tile work are also created naturally by light as it filters though a window or terrace shade.
Given that Islamic prayer practices require precise understanding of specific time (five prayer times per day) and direction (facing Mecca) it is no wonder that light, during both day and night, has become an integral part of Moroccan ornament. Moroccan lanterns duplicate the effect of the sun passing through the trees or the stars appearing at night, but it is really no substitute for watching the sun filter through a simple tessellation, which shows how time returns.