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Article

Asinou  

Susan Young

[Gr. Panagia Phorbiotissa: ‘Our Lady of the Pastures’]

Byzantine church in Cyprus, situated on the west side of the island, 4 km south-west of the village of Vizakia. The church was originally part of the monastery of the Phorbia (destr.), and a marginal note in a synaxarion copied in Cyprus or Palestine in 1063 indicates that the manuscript once belonged to this monastery. The church is renowned for its well-preserved cycles of wall paintings and painted inscriptions, two of which attribute the foundation and decoration of the church to Nicephoros Ischyrios, the Magistros, in 1105–6. A third, damaged inscription mentions a certain ‘Theophilos’ and ‘the people’, who were probably responsible for a programme of redecoration in 1332–3. The wall paintings were cleaned and restored in 1965–8 by Ernest Hawkins and David Winfield under the auspices of the Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC.

The church is a single-aisle structure with a semicircular apse and barrel-vaulted nave supported by transverse ribs and engaged piers, forming three blind niches in the north and south walls. In plan it resembles the parekklesion of the Cypriot monastery of St John Chrysosthomos, but it does not have a dome. Although the original walls were of stone mortared with mud, probably in the late 12th century, yellow sandstone of better quality was used for the construction of a domed narthex with north and south absidioles; this arrangement is found elsewhere in Cyprus, at the monasteries of St John Chrysosthomos, and the Panagia Apsinthiotissa. The church was later given a secondary steeply pitched wooden roof of a type common among the Cypriot mountain churches....

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.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Haydar  

Sheila S. Blair

[Sayyid Ḥaydar ibn ?Aṣīl al-Din]

(d 1325–6).

Calligrapher. He was one of the six disciples of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi and earned the nickname ‘writer in large characters’ (Pers. kand-navīs), presumably because of his masterful work designing architectural inscriptions in carved stucco. Two superb examples of his work in this medium survive in Iran: a band (1307–8) across the intrados of the north iwan of the mosque in the shrine complex at Natanz, and the mihrab (1310) in the winter prayer hall of the Friday Mosque at Isfahan. He was a renowned teacher whose pupils included such famous calligraphers as ‛Abdallah Sayrafi, and the viziers Taj al-Din ‛Ali Shah and Ghiyath al-Din, the son of Rashid al-Din. His son Muhammad was a calligrapher, too, and signed several calligraphic specimens (e.g. Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2160, fol. 29v and H. 2310, fol. 97v).

Qāżī Aḥmad ibn Mīr Munshī: Gulistān-i hunar [Rose-garden of art] (...

Article

Lucy Der Manuelian and Armen Zarian

Armenian monastery (13th–14th centuries), 3 km north-east of the Amaghu village in the mountainous district of Yeghegnadzor, Armenia. The region was part of the historic province of Syunik‘. After its liberation from the Saljuqs in the early 13th century, Noravank‘ came under the control of the Ōrbelian royal family who built new structures with the help of the architects Siranes (second half of the 13th century) and Momik (early 14th century), transferred the episcopal see of Syunik‘ there, and made Noravank‘ (Arm.: ‘new monastery’) into a major cultural and scholarly centre. It also served as the family’s burial-place.

The tufa buildings inside the walls are documented by inscriptions and by historical records. The ruins of the single-nave, barrel-vaulted church of the Forerunner (Karapet; 9th–10th centuries) lie next to the main church, also dedicated to the Forerunner and erected (1216–23) by Liparit Ōrbelian. The latter is a domed hall-type church with engaged piers and pendentives that supported the octagonal drum of the dome (destr. ...