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Abbasid  

Robert Hillenbrand

Islamic dynasty that ruled from several capitals in Iraq between ad 749 and 1258. The Abbasids traced their descent from al-‛Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, and were thus able to claim a legitimacy that their predecessors had lacked (see Umayyad, §1). The Abbasids rose to power in north-east Iran by channelling disaffection with Umayyad rule, but they soon established their capitals in a more central location, founding ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair

Persian family of potters. The family is sometimes known, somewhat improperly, by the epithet Kashani [al-Kashani, Qashani], which refers to their home town, Kashan. It was a major centre for the production of lustre pottery in medieval Iran, and they were among the leading potters there, working in both the Monumental and the Miniature styles (...

Article

See Abu Tahir family

Article

Nabil Saidi

Ottoman calligrapher. Yaqut served as secretary to the last Abbasid caliph, al-Musta‛sim (reg 1242–58), and reportedly survived the sacking of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258 by seeking refuge in a minaret. He perfected the ‘proportioned script’ developed by Ibn Muqla and refined by ...

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Article

Alamut  

Abbas Daneshvari

Mountainous valley in Iran, 35 km north-east of Qazvin, and the name of one of the fortresses that defended the valley. From 1090 to 1261 it was the main headquarters of the Nizari branch of the Isma‛ili Shi‛ites, a religious community organized on a military basis. Their rigid hierarchy, esoteric practices and use of terrorism encouraged the development of romantic tales about them. Reputed to use hashish, they became known in the West as ‘Assassins’ (Arab. ...

Article

Antonio Fernández-Puertas and D. Fairchild Ruggles

The palaces of the Alhambra and Generalife in Granada, Spain, form the most important architectural ensemble to survive from the Nasrid period (1232–1492). Art created under the Nasrid dynasty in the Iberian Peninsula (see Islamic art, §II, 6(iv)(e) ) provided the spark of originality for art in the neighbouring Christian kingdoms and for Marinid and Abd al-Wādid art in Morocco and Algeria. By the 9th century the citadel on the Sabīka spur of the Sierra Nevada overlooking Granada was called ...

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Article

Almohad  

Karl-Heinz Golzio

Islamic dynasty that ruled parts of north-west Africa and Spain from 1130 to 1269. Muhammad ibn Tumart (d 1130), a Masmuda Berber, preached a faith based on the Koran and the Sunna, stressing above all the oneness of God (Arab. tawḥīd), a doctrine from which the movement took the name al-Muwaḥḥidūn (‘believers in the oneness of God’). Ibn Tumart, who declared himself also as the infallible Mahdí, was able to unite disparate groups of Berbers and in ...

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Amol  

Gordon Campbell

City in northern Iran, close to the Caspian Sea and, from the 11th century to the 13th, centre for the production of a distinctive white slip pottery with incised designs.

Article

Basilio Pavón Maldonado

Spanish term for a type of intricately joined wooden ceiling in which supplementary laths are interlaced into the rafters supporting the roof to form decorative geometric patterns (see fig.). Artesonado ceilings were popular in the Islamic architecture of North Africa and Spain from the 13th to the 15th century and were also used widely in Jewish and Christian architecture. They continued to be popular into the 16th century when they were effectively integrated with Renaissance motifs....

Article

Artuqid  

Islamic dynasty that ruled in south-east Anatolia from 1098 to 1408. The Artuqids were descendants of a Turkoman military commander in the service of the Saljuq dynasty; his family settled in Diyarbakır and carved out two principalities, one in Diyarbakır and the other in Mardin and Mayyafariqin. The branch in Diyarbakır fell to the ...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time....

Article

Ayyubid  

Islamic dynasty that ruled 1169–1252 in Egypt, 1180s–1260 in Syria and south-east Anatolia, and 1174–1229 in the Yemen, with minor branches continuing until the end of the 15th century. The Ayyubids were the Kurdish clan brought to power in 1169 by Salah al-Din (Saladin; reg...

Article

Ruler of Mosul from 1222 to 1259. He was a freed slave, as his name Lu’lu’ (‘Pearl’) indicates, and became regent (Turk. atabeg) for the last members of the Zangid family dynasty in Mosul in 1210. After the last Zangid died in 1222, the Abbasid caliph recognized Badr al-Din as ruler with the title al-Malik al-Rahim. Throughout his reign he sided with the ...

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Term used to describe the distinctive relief decoration commonly used on stucco, wood and other arts of the early Islamic period. Characterized by a slanted cut (Ger. Schrägeschnitt), the decoration usually consists of rhythmic and symmetrical repetitions of curved lines with spiral terminals. The style is first documented in the mid-9th century ...