Moroccan Pottery and Ceramics | Morocco Travel

Moroccan Ceramics

Pottery and ceramic art are some of Morocco’s best features when it comes to culture and arts.

Pottery still exists as not only a commodity but also as a means to express one’s self or one’s culture.

With diverse traditional and historical touches, the end product of a simple pottery plate looks like it belongs in a museum.

The art style, as well as the functionality, have been influenced by Islamic, Byzantine, Roman, and Phoenician designs.

The historical significance:

While Morocco was inhabited by its native Berbers and Amazigh, the Arabs conquered the region in the 7th century which marked the expansion of Islamic teaching.

Therefore, Morocco adopted much of the culture and practices of the Arabic world.

However, this does not mean that the native culture died off, in fact, the Berber culture and artwork thrived during this time.

Moroccan artwork, in general, has been influenced by a wide range of cultures since the country was occupied by the Romans, Byzantines in Greece, Vandals, and the Arabs.

Nevertheless, the Arab conquest of Morocco was what led to the creation of pottery and ceramics in Morocco as we know them today.

The styles, practices, and methods used in the making of pottery in Morocco have changed drastically over the years and generations to accommodate for trends in the culture.

In fact, pottery and ceramics did not have as much popularity until art started gaining traction during Europe’s Age of Enlightenment.

The art of making ceramics and pottery in Morocco:

Workers in this industry are usually small family businesses that make pottery for a living.

In addition to making pottery and ceramics for art’s sake, they also make simple kitchen essentials such as cups, plates, and vases for themselves and their neighbors.

Their day starts with retrieving the dry clay from the sun and molding it into a paste using water and other ingredients that may alter the structure of the piece they are making.

After they finish molding the clay into a tough tacky piece, they move on to their pottery wheel which is used handmade and manually operated.

While the wheel is turning, the pottery maker will mold the shape and change the consistency using water.

After the pottery piece is finished, they can either do the decorations now using a small knife or tools for trimming, smoothing, carving, cutting, and modeling.

Mistakes are easily corrected using water and remolding since pottery-making is quite forgiving.

However, once the clay starts to take shape, there is no going back. This is usually the time they start decorations.

The reason why there are a lot of circular patterns is that the drawing and detailing happen inside of the wheel.

By applying paint on one point while the wheel is turning, the circular shapes start to emerge.

After the drawing process which is followed by several days of sun drying, workers will apply a light coat of protective material to make the pottery water-resistant.

In addition to that, the light coat will protect the artwork for many years to come.

The same goes for ceramics although the materials used can vary depending on the regions, style, and colors.


Pottery and ceramics artwork was not a very lucrative business, therefore, the workers could not export paint or materials for coloring.

This resulted in every region having its own color characteristics. For instance, cobalt oxide is a commonly used substance that can give you every shade of blue.

The distinctive blue work is something that fez is known for in pottery and ceramics.

Tamagroute pottery is known to have a shiny deep emerald green which is a result of mixing some metallic powders with henna to dry in the sun.

On the other hand, the city Safi is known to have metal inlays mixed with red clay powder and turquoise.

However, there are some pottery houses that have a variety of colors and finishes that dazzle the eye.

Thanks to importation and shipping, artists can now make custom-made pottery for their clients based on their style and preference.


The Andalous era in Morocco has helped evolve the style of artwork in Morocco in buildings, mosques, clothing, and even in pottery. Tribes fashion their own designs and style which can evolve with generations.

However, it remains to have its own identity. The geometrical shape drawing known as zakhrafa is a thing of beauty in pottery.


The shape of the artwork will reflect the art itself. For instance, circular objects such as plates and tajin have a more circular art style. Most pottery will have a centerpiece where the artist gets the details in.

The outsides or the rim of the ceramics piece will also have an outlined tracing with a few squares and geometrical shapes.


The materials used depend on the season as well as the region.

For instance, regions where they have a lot of red clay will often have a red hue to them.

Fez and Meknes’s artwork in pottery and ceramics usually has a metallic and blue tint reflecting the materials they have access to as well as the demand for blue in ceramics.

The two major styles:


Pottery and ceramics in the north are quite different from the ones that exist in the south. There are many reasons for this. The first is that pottery and ceramics artwork was based on what was available.

Most artists had to make due with what they had.

In addition to that, the artwork itself was based on what was passed down from generation to generation.

Most workers in the pottery workshop never attend school and all the knowledge they have is from their employers or family.


The same situation exists in the south as a lot of the colors are a result of the products and metals that one can find in the region.

For instance, the south is known to have a lot of henna which is why you see a lot of orange and reddish styles. The style is more subdued compared to the styles that Sale, Safi, Meknes, and Fez are known for.

In fact, if you go too deep in the souks of ceramics in the south, you might even notice that every shop has its own unique touch that no other shop has and that is because every shop does the artwork differently.

Where to buy Moroccan Pottery and ceramics:

There are around four centers of pottery and ceramics making in Morocco and they each have their own style.

The city known for pottery and ceramics making in Morocco is Safi which is located in the middle region of Morocco.

However, you will find a lot of pottery making in Fez, Meknes, Sale, and other regions. Fez and Meknes have a style that uses a lot of metallic and blue colors with lots of exotic colors.

Sale city does make pottery but it is known for being the biggest souk for pottery. If you want to get an authentic piece of pottery or ceramics, it is best to be in the region of Fez, Meknes, or Safi to get the true experience.

However, there are many websites online where you can get the real deal imported from Morocco.

Online shopping and importation can help you find authentic pottery without having to be there physically.

The costs can vary depending on the time it takes for pottery to be made.

Prices will be higher if you choose to get Moroccan pottery and ceramics online since packaging has to account for the delicate and fragile nature of pottery and ceramics.

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