Islamic Architecture
How to do carved plaster
I'm looking for instructions on how to do applied carved plaster relief. I have taken a course in polished plaster, or tadlek. (The modern synthetic kind) It seems that the carved plaster is also called tadlek.I've been to Morocco and have seen a lot of carved plaster. Rather than going through a lot of trial and error, I would be very greatful if anyone could tell me where I could find directions.
Frida Bagel
How to do carved plaster
Hi Frida,

I am not a connoisseur of plaster of any kind but I thought that you may be interested in the recently completed restoration project (led by Iraqi archaeologist Selma Al-Radi) of Amiriya Madrasa in Raa'da, Yemen, which has been well-documented. It has two types of plaster carving; qudad ("traditional waterproofing mortar composed of lime and volcanic aggregate that is polished with a smooth stone and daubed with animal fat") and the regular gypsum plaster. The ArchNet page on this restoration has numerous images of restorers cleaning and re-carving portions of the gypsum plaster mihrab frame inside the first floor mosque.

The restoration project was heralded, as I understand it, for having helped local artisans rediscover the formula and carving methods for qudad. Seen mostly on the exterior, the qudad carvings are not half as fine as the interior plaster panels but have appeared on a documentary entitled Qudad: Reinventing a Tradition.
Ozgur Basak Alkan
How to do carved plaster
Thanks Ozgur, for that lead.

That didn't give me direct information on how to do it but, it had some links, that lead me to other links, that lead me to a book about lime. I will see if that helps me. In the meanwhile, if anyone has any more information, I would be very greatful.
Frida Bagel


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