Jose Carlos Villarejo García


Córdoba, España



This “guadamecilero” artist was born in Córdoba (Spain). Moved by an irresistible strength of the beauty and art world since his childhood, he developed in the ornament and leathers from Córdoba discipline along with the artist Ramón García Romero, his uncle and master.
The art Jose Carlos Villarejo, artist born in Cordoba in 1980, develops is unique in the world; he learnt from his uncle, Ramon Garcia Romero, the caliphate gilt leather panel technique, reconstructed throughout the books after being lost for centuries.

It is an ancestral technique to work the leather; it is so exquisite and luxurious that some caliphs used to show their power to the rest of the world with this piece. Lost for centuries, purged from the memory of the time and Humankind, a travelling artist and book lover in the 20th century recovered it, the already deceased Ramon Garcia Romero. Today, this technique still survives thanks to his nephew´s artwork, Jose Carlos Villarejo Garcia, who, since he was a child, felt a powerful attraction for this painstaking work. This way, the gilt leather panel from the Cordoba Caliphate came back to our time.

This research and recovery work of both artists made up a unique museum in the world, located in the city of Cordoba (Spain), devoted to this sumptuary art born in the era of the greatest splendour of the Umayyad Caliphate (10th century): the house-museum of the Umayyad gilt leather panel (exhibition of Ramon Garcia Romero and Jose Carlos Villarejo Garcia).

Since 2006, Jose Carlos Villarejo Garcia, gilt leather panel craftsman, starts and undertakes the management of the museum, a cultural, artisitic and interpretation centre specialized in the arrangement, protection and dissemination of the Umayyad techniques of the leather ornamentation. One of his personal objectives is the dissemination, as above said, of such techniques and the heritage from the Al-Andalus in an international framework.

"“Among the sumptuary arts which stood out in the Islamic Cordoba, the “guadamecí” (gilt leather panel) excelled, a master piece full of colour, bright and spirituality

Its main feature is its brigthness, colour, rich ornamentation, iron working and, always, an evocation of the Paradise”.


For Jose Carlos Villarejo Garcia, the Umayyad gilt leather panel is a continuous pray, full of light, which suffers, among divine branches and leaves, dark nights and which rises, through a symmetric labyrinth, towards the Eternal Garden.

This gilt leather panel is a spectacle of shapes which ends up in beauty and in The Beauty. It is an encounter with Al-lah, when it is created as well as admired.

The Umayyad gilt leather panel is the search of thousands of years of the transmutation of metals and to get gold, wealth, power, one of the humankind´s dream. The gilt leather panel is that silver piece covered with gold paint and which the chemists in the city of Medina Azahara made to remember their ancestors, but it was just gold paint on silver.

The gilt leather panel is the constant search of Humankind of the wealth on Earth and the spirituality which gets to Heaven.



The gilt leather panel as a technique is said to be born in the city of Ghadamés, in the 8th century, like an exclusive treatment of the leather pieces which were gilded or silvered. This artcraft was improved in the 10th century in the Umayyad Cordoba, thanks to the chemistry of the inhabitants of that city, since the goatskin suffered a change, turning from craftsmanship into art.

These masterpieces on silvered goatskin were brigth, colourful, richly ornamented, abusively iron worked (punches which emboss the gilt leather panel), where the drawing covers all the surface, filling all the silvered part. A technique which was born in the Caliphate capital city to decorate the walls in the noble houses of Medina Azahara, which astonished the embassadors of the Western and Eastern World, becoming lavish royal presents and a treasured object for the powerful ones who wanted the gilt leather panel from Cordoba to adorn their houses.

The main feature of these gilt leather panels from Cordoba was the plant or animal designs permitted, trees which inserted their canopy in the Paradise surrounding, cúfica engraving which proclaimed the Al-lah grandiosity and colour, really colourful.


Jose Carlos Villarejo García
Umayyad Guadameci Master
Córdoba, España

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