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Katherine Forsyth

Illuminated Gospel book (Cambridge, U. Lib., MS. Ii.6.32) made in the 10th Century. This is the oldest extant Gospel book with a securely Scottish provenance. Housed since 1715 in Cambridge University Library, it belonged in the early 12th century to the monastery of Deer, Aberdeenshire, as shown by a series of property grants recorded in its margins. These notes constitute, by some three centuries, the oldest surviving documents in Scottish Gaelic. The Book is a small-format, abbreviated Gospels intended for personal devotion and intimate pastoral use. As such it is an exceptional survival from the period. It contains the complete Latin text of John’s Gospel, and the beginnings of the other three. At an early date the text of a communion service for the sick and dying was inserted on a separate leaf. The Book was produced c. 900 in a Gaelic-speaking milieu at an unknown location, possibly in north-east Scotland, perhaps at Deer itself. The scribe appears also to have been the artist. Despite its small size, the Book follows many of the conventions of Insular book art and is comparatively heavily illuminated. Its programme consists of ‘three cruciform pages, five Gospel incipits with decorated initials, five full-folio and one half-folio figurative miniatures, and a variety of marginalia’ which relate to points of significance in the text (Henderson ...


Ben C. Tilghman

Irish illuminated Gospel book (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. 4. 23. (59)), with a short Missa pro infirmis inserted between the gospels of Luke and John, made in the 8th century. It consists of 74 folios and measures 175×142 mm, and is one of the distinctively Irish manuscripts known as ‘pocket gospels’, due to their small format. The traditional association of the manuscript with Dimma, a scribe and later bishop who miraculously wrote a copy of the gospels in 40 days for the 7th-century saint Cronan, cannot be sustained. The inscriptions in which his name appears include evident signs of erasure, indicating that the name of the original scribe was replaced with ‘Dimma’ in perhaps the 10th or 11th century, possibly at the same time that the Missa pro infirmis was added. The manuscript is in fact the work of several scribes. The synoptic gospels are written in an insular miniscule script alternating between bookhand and cursive forms, highly abbreviated and cramped in some places. The script for John is bolder, more regular, and refined. As with most other pocket gospels, each gospel is written on a separate quire, and each gospel begins with an evangelist portrait facing a page with display lettering. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are each represented as men holding books, while John is again differentiated by being represented as his symbol, the eagle. The book was enshrined in a ...


Ben C. Tilghman

Illuminated manuscript (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. 4. 15. (57)) containing the Vulgate translation of the four Gospels, plus prefatory material derived form the Old Latin tradition, made in the 7th century. It measures 247×228 mm, contains 248 parchment folios, and is in a modern binding. No firm internal evidence indicates the date and location of the manuscript’s production, and the question of its origins has a contentious history, influenced occasionally by nationalist ideologies. A later colophon attributing it to St Colum Cille [St Columba] cannot be accepted as fact, but it is widely assumed that the book was made in a Columban monastery, whether in Ireland, Scotland, or Northumbria. It can be dated to the 7th century on stylistic and palaeographical grounds. The main body script is an Irish half-uncial, punctuated by display lettering at six major textual divisions and letters ringed in red dots at minor divisions. The programme of illumination includes a full-page depiction of the four evangelist symbols together around a cross, full-page depictions of each of the evangelist symbols (e.g. ...


Roger Stalley

Manuscript of the four Gospels, in Latin, written and illuminated on vellum probably in the second half of the 8th century ad. It is the most extravagant and complex of the Insular Gospel books, representing the climax of a development that began in the 7th century ad with such manuscripts as the Book of Durrow (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 57; see fig.). The 340 folios (originally about 370; present size 330×255 mm) are now bound into four volumes (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 58). As well as the four Gospels the manuscript contains a sequence of ornate canon tables, decorated with architectural frames and symbols of the Evangelists, and other introductory material. St Matthew’s Gospel opens with a whole page devoted to the symbolic beasts (fol. 27v), one of several such pages designed to underline the harmony of the four Gospels. This is followed by a portrait of ...


R. Soekmono


Indonesian monumental site, located in central Java, c. 40 km north-west of Yogyakarta. Indonesia’s largest religious monument, Candi Borobudur was erected c. ad 800 to glorify the founder of the ruling Buddhist dynasty of the Shailendras. In addition to demonstrating high esteem for the ancestors, it was also intended to express in visual form the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. This dual purpose accounts for its unique plan. The stepped pyramid surmounted by a stupa symbolizes the merit accumulated by the dynasty along the way shown by the Buddha. Candi Borobudur was constructed on a natural hill some 15 m above the extensive Kedu Plain. The construction required about two million blocks of volcanic stone. Rising from a redented square base 107×107×3.7 m, the monument is set back 6 m from its edge, so that a broad platform is created. Each of the five succeeding square terraces is set back just 2 m from the one below, forming narrow galleries that have balustrades on their outer sides. The superstructure, set on the uppermost square terrace, is composed of three circular platforms, each of which supports a ring of latticed stupas or dagobs (72 in total). Surmounting the whole edifice is an unlatticed central stupa, the top of which is more than 30 m above ground-level. Access to the upper part of the monument is by stairways on the axes that bisect the sides of the pyramid. They lead through a series of gates directly to the circular platforms, intersecting the corridors of the square terraces....


Kirit Mankodi

[Bharmaur; anc. Brahmāpura]

Capital of the Varman dynasty, 75 km east of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, India, notable for its wooden temples. Numerous shrines were built at Brahmaur, deodar trees (Cedrus deodara) supplying the material as elsewhere in the Himalayas. Heavy snow and earthquakes have necessitated renovations, but some 9th-century ad portions of the Lakshanadevi Temple have survived. These include a façade, hall pillars, a ceiling and the inner sanctum doorway. Influence from Kashmir is evident in the trefoil pediment over the doorway and in the figure of Vishnu contained within. The temple, dedicated to Durga Mahishasuramardini (She who Slays the Buffalo Demon), enshrines a metal image of the goddess (h. 1.25 m) bearing an inscription of King Meruvarman of the Varman dynasty. Figures of the god Ganesha and of Shiva’s bull, Nandi, at Brahmaur also carry inscriptions of Meruvarman; all were cast by the artist Gugga in the 8th century ...


Church of the former Benedictine monastery in Northamptonshire, England. It is one of the most substantial Anglo-Saxon buildings to remain largely intact above ground-level. The present structure is not necessarily the first to be built on the site: results of excavations carried out in 1981–2 suggest an 8th-century date. It is referred to in the early 12th-century Peterborough chronicle of Hugo Candidus, which implies that a monastery was founded there after c. 675. The first monks probably came from Peterborough, as in the case of the parallel foundation at Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire, which other documents confirm was established by 690. Brixworth may have been identical with Clofesho, an otherwise unidentified Mercian royal monastery at which councils were held in the 8th and 9th centuries. At Domesday the manor belonged to the king and one priest is recorded, which may imply that the church had declined to parochial status. Nevertheless its former rank and the survival of its endowments are suggested by the fact that it was given as a prebend by Henry I to the Chancellor of Sarum in the early 12th century. A 14th-century stone reliquary with its relic have survived in the church and have been associated with a cult of St Boniface, attested from ...


Erberto F. Lo Bue

[Buḍhā Nilkaṇṭha]

Village 8 km north of Kathmandu, Nepal. It is the site of a stone image of the Hindu god Vishnu lying on the coiled mass of the serpent Ananta (l. 7 m), the largest sculpture in the Kathmandu Valley and one of its outstanding masterpieces.

The Jalashayana Narayana of Budhanilkantha village is second in importance only to Changu Narayan in the worship of Vishnu in Nepal. It was carved from a single block of a variety of basalt found a few kilometres outside the Kathmandu Valley. Several artists must have contributed to the sculpture, although it appears to have been conceived by a single mind. Notwithstanding its huge size, the figure is well proportioned and seems to float in the spring-fed pool surrounding the cushion-like coils of Ananta, who shelters the god under the canopy of his eleven hoods. The statue was consecrated in ad 641–2 by Vishnugupta, a de facto...


N. N. Negmatov


Site near the town of Shakhristan (Shahristan) in northern Tajikistan. Capital of the medieval state of Ustrushana, which occupied the region between the Syr River and the Hisar Range from Samarkand to Khodzhent, Bundzhikat was described in 10th to 12th-century sources as a large and densely populated town in a beautiful location with plenty of water and gardens. The city proper was surrounded by a special wall with two gates, while the nearby citadel had its own fortifications and the suburb its own wall with four gates. All three parts of the city, as well as the country palaces, houses, gardens and vineyards, were surrounded by an enceinte. Among the largest buildings were the central mosque in the city, the prison in the citadel and the king’s palace in the suburb. The town got its water from the small Sarin River and six canals leading from it, along which there were over ten mills....



V. D. Goryacheva

[formerly Balasaghun; Balasagun; Kuz-Balyk; Kuz-Ordu

Medieval site 12 km south of Tokmak and 6 km from Ak-Beshim in the eastern part of the Chu Valley in northern Kyrgyzstan. Identified with Balasaghun, the capital of the Qarakhanid dynasty (reg 940–1211), Burana takes its name from the surviving minaret (10th–11th century) called Manār-i burāna by the 16th-century historian Mirza Muhammad-Haydar Dughlat. Archaeological investigation of the site, which was destroyed by earthquakes in the 14th and 15th centuries, has been conducted since 1927. The central group of ruins, identified by Masson as the city proper, covers an area 600×560–80 m and includes a palace complex, the minaret and various buildings dating from the 10th to the 14th century. This was the administrative and religious centre of medieval Balasaghun. The minaret (h. 24 m; rest. 1974) has a square base, octagonal socle and tapering cylindrical shaft articulated by bands of decoration. A door 5 m above ground level (indicating the height of the roof of the now-destroyed mosque) leads to an internal spiral stair. nearby were the tombs of the Qarakhanids (destr.), of which three have been excavated. One was an octagonal prism with a dome or conical cap; the two others were cylinders with monumental portals and either a dome or conical cap. They were decorated with bricks laid in patterns, terracotta and carved plaster. A ...


Donald F. McCallum

[Kuratsukuri no Tori; Shiba Kuratsukuribe no Obito Tori]

(fl early 7th century).

Japanese sculptor. He is associated with the inception of Buddhist image production in Japan and is generally considered to be the first great master of Japanese Buddhist sculpture (see also Japan §V 3., (i)). Tori Busshi is believed to have worked on the most important monumental sculpture of the Asuka period (c. 552–710), the bronze Great Buddha (Jap. Daibutsu) enshrined in the Asukadera (Japan’s first fully fledged temple complex, on the Yamato Plain c. 25 km from Nara). In addition, his name is inscribed on the mandorla of the gilt-bronze Shaka Triad of the Golden Hall (Kondō) at Hōryūji in Nara (623). He may, however, have operated primarily as a supervisor rather than a craftsman. Scholars usually associate most Asuka period images with his studio, which produced work modelled on the stone sculpture of Chinese Buddhist cave temples of the Northern Wei period (386–535). This is termed ...



E. Errington

[from Pers. butkada, ‘house of images’]

Group of three sites east of Saidu Sharif, Swat, Pakistan. The sacred precinct of the great Buddhist stupa at Butkara I (3rd century bc–10th century ad) and the graveyard known as Butkara II (c. 4th century bc) were excavated by the Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Extremo Oriente; Butkara III, a smaller Buddhist site (c. 1st–4th century ad), was excavated by the Department of Archaeology, Peshawar University. Finds are in the Swat Museum, Saidu Sharif, the Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, Rome, and the Department of Archaeology Museum at Peshawar University.

Butkara II, a necropolis of 48 tombs, pre-dates the arrival of Buddhism in the area. The burials were of two types: inhumation, with funeral vases, some jewellery and, occasionally, weapons or working utensils; and cremation, the burnt bones being placed in a large closed jar encircled by funerary vases. The red or grey wheelmade pottery was glazed and polished, with some incised decoration. Only one painted fragment and two terracotta figurines (one animal, one human) were found. The graves were identified by ...



T. F. C. Blagg

[It. Butrinto; anc. Gr. Bouthroton; Lat. Buthrotum]

Site in southern Albania, set on a hill beside a coastal lagoon connected to the sea by a natural channel. The city flourished in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine times. Excavation and display of its extensive and deserted remains, begun by the Italians in 1928, have been continued by Albanian archaeologists; finds are displayed in the site museum (renovated 1988) and in the National Historical Museum, Tiranë. It was probably a colony of Kerkyra (Corfu), from which its site is visible. Earliest occupation on the hilltop is shown by Corinthian pottery of the 7th–6th centuries bc and a wall of polygonal masonry, rebuilt in the 5th century bc. By the following century the expanding city required new walls, which survive up to 9 m high and include the Lion Gate, named after the Archaic relief reused as its lintel (6th century bc). Butrint became a centre for the surrounding Epirot people, the ...



Robert Hillenbrand


Islamic dynasty that ruled in Iran and Iraq from ad 932 to 1062. Civil wars, the erosion of caliphal power by a Turkish military caste, corrupt administration and racial tensions during the 9th century terminally damaged the Abbasid state, and gradually the extremities of the empire in North Africa, Spain, Central Asia and Afghanistan established a de facto independence. In Iran, burgeoning national sentiment found expression in the Shu‛ubiyya (the controversy over the respective merits of the Arab and Persian literary traditions), in heterodox religious movements and in a revival of pre-Islamic Persian culture, notably among the breakaway Tahirid (reg ad 821–73), Saffarid (reg ad 867–c. 1495) and Samanid dynasties. These tendencies crystallized after 932 with the gradual rise to power of Abu Shuja’ Buya and his clan of condottieri from the mountainous area south of the Caspian Sea. He and his three formidable sons masterminded the liberation of western Iran and Iraq from caliphal control. The youngest son, Mu‛izz al-Dawla (...


In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...


Claudia Brittenham

Pre-Columbian site in Tlaxcala, central Mexico. It flourished c. 250 bcec. 950 ce and is notable for its wall paintings (in situ).

The ruins of Cacaxtla lie in the hilly uplands between Tlaxcala and Puebla, c. 100 km east of Mexico City, on ancient routes of communication between the Central Highlands and both the Gulf Coast region and the Southern Highlands of the Mixteca. Only portions of the site have been excavated, and its history is not yet fully understood. Archaeological evidence indicates human occupation since the Late Pre-Classic period (c. 300 bcec. 250 ce), with intense occupation during the Classic period (c. 250–c. 900 ce). The site had a longstanding relationship with the neighboring hill of Xochitecatl. Pottery, traces of talud–tablero architecture, and residential structures suggest that Cacaxtla may have had ties to Teotihuacan during the early part of the Classic period (...



David M. Jones

Site in the USA in East St Louis, IL, of a huge Pre-Columbian city. Founded c. ad 700, it was the largest prehistoric city ever built north of Mexico and was probably influenced by political and civic ideas from Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian. At its height, between c. ad 1050 and c. 1250, Cahokia encompassed c. 13 sq. km and had a population of c. 10–15,000. Although located in the north-west part of the middle Mississippi Southern Cult area, it was the political, economic and religious centre for more than 50 towns (see Native North American art, §I, 4, (v)). The exact nature of its power or rule, however, is uncertain. A potential rival in the south-east of the cult area was Moundville, AL, nearly as large. Cahokia began to decline after c. 1250, although some of its satellite towns, at such sites as Angel, Aztatlan, Dickson and Kinkaid, continued to flourish as local centres. A drastic population decline ...


W. Iain Mackay

Peruvian city and capital of the department of Cajamarca in northern Peru. It is also notable for being the site of a Pre-Columbian culture represented primarily by a localized pottery style dated c. ad 400–c. 1000. It is situated at an altitude of c. 2750 m in a fertile Andean valley and has a population of c. 70,000. Settlements dating back to the Early Horizon or Chavín period (c. 900–c. 200 bc), such as Huaca Loma and Layzón, have been discovered on the outskirts of the town. In the hills above the town, 14 km to the south-west, the Cumbe Mayo aqueduct, which is 7.8 km long and probably contemporary with Chavín culture, feeds the fertile Cajamarca valley. Also in the vicinity is the site of Otuzco, with its Middle Horizon cemetery, comprising mainly niches carved into the stone and an associated fortress. The modern city is a popular holiday destination for Peruvians....


David M. Jones

Site of the Pre-Columbian Maya culture in Campeche, Mexico. It was the largest and most populous Maya city ever built and is notable for the number of stelae and monoliths erected by its ancient inhabitants. It was occupied from the Middle Pre-Classic period (c. 1000–c. 300 bc) onwards and flourished in the Late Classic period (c. ad 600–c. 900) as one of several powerful Maya states. Some of its carved stelae, columns and figures are in the Museo Arqueológico, Etnográfico e Histórico del Estado, Campeche.

Calakmul was rediscovered in 1931 by C. L. Lundell and studied by various scholars, including Sylvanus Morley and Karl Ruppert in the 1930s and 1940s. Since the late 1970s, William Folan and numerous Mexican scholars have mapped some 6500 structures at the site and determined that the ancient city covered c. 30 sq. km. Regional analysis shows that Calakmul was the centre of an independent political sphere, possibly with a certain deference paid to the Maya city of ...


David M. Jones and Jaime Litvak King

Site in the Toluca Valley, Mexico. It was the capital and principal ceremonial centre of the Matlazinca people. The name derives from calli (Náhuatl: house) and ixtlahuaca (field or plain), thus ‘Place of houses on the plain’. Calixtlahuaca is one of the few Matlazinca sites known with substantial remains, and its architectural ruins, scattered on the hillside between the modern villages of Calixtlahuaca and Tecaxic, combine elements from central and northern Mesoamerica. Most of the site lies beneath the villages or the fields between the villages. Surface survey and excavations were carried out between 1930 and 1938 by José García Payón.

Calixtlahuaca was occupied between c. 1700 bc and ad 1510, when it was destroyed by Aztec forces. After the Spanish Conquest, Matlazinca survivors returned and established the two villages. Occupation has been divided by archaeologists into five periods: from c. 1700 bcc. 200 bc, Pre-Classic remains represented by figurines and traces of terrace walls; from ...