Jali Woodwork

The intricate latticed woodwork of the Islamic world

By Turquoise Mountain

Kabul, Afghanistan

Jali Screens (2013)Turquoise Mountain

Jali refers to a latticed screen made of wood or stone that usually has an ornamental pattern based on geometric designs. This style is found throughout the Islamic world. In Morocco and much of the Middle East, it is known as 'mashrabiyya', while in Afghanistan and South Asia it is called jali.

Jali Screen (2014) by Photographed by Bill Pottenger and Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

Jali in Kabul

Jali screens were frequently employed in traditional domestic and public architecture in Kabul. Areas such as Murad Khani and Asheqan-o-Arefan, which was restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, have excellent surviving examples of this work.

Jali ball by World Economic ForumTurquoise Mountain

Creating Jali

To make jali, a woodworker traces a geometric design onto paper. He then cuts thin slivers of walnut or cedar wood with a fine saw. These pieces are matched to the tracing paper to ensure exact sizing. After the pieces are in place, the entire piece is clamped together to ensure a strong fit.

Jali ball by World Economic ForumTurquoise Mountain

Jali art piece (2013)Turquoise Mountain

Jali Coffee Table (2018) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

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