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Besakih  

D. J. Stuart-Fox

Balinese Hindu temple (pura) complex. It is situated on the south-western flank of the volcano Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest mountain, in the north-east of the island. Associated probably since prehistoric times with the Lord of the Mountain, now identified with the Hindu god Shiva, it has been a dynastic temple of several royal families since at least the 15th century. The complex consists of 22 temples, spread along three parallel ridges over a distance of more than a kilometre. The complex was not planned as an entity but seems to have been constructed piecemeal, and the overall structure that links the temples is more ritual and symbolic than physical. The annual cycle of more than 70 rituals culminates in the enormous centennial Ekadasa Rudra ceremony.

The symbolic and ritual centre of the complex is Pura Penataran Agung, the largest temple, which over the centuries has undergone numerous changes. Its 57 separate structures are arranged on six terraces. Originating probably in a simple prehistoric sanctuary, it has a terraced form suggesting a series of successive enlargements. The earliest structures were probably simple shrines and stone seats, represented now in developed form by the two uppermost shrines dedicated to the Lord of the Mountain. On current evidence, the pagoda-like shrines (...

Article

(fl 1388; d after 1450).

Italian painter and illuminator. Milanese writers from the humanist Uberto Decembrio (1350–1427) to Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo in the 16th century described Michelino as the greatest artist of his time. He was especially praised for his skill and prodigious talent in the naturalistic portrayal of animals and birds. Records of payments made in 1388 to a ‘Michelino pictore’ who painted scenes from the Life of St Augustine in the second cloister of the Augustinian convent of S Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, Pavia, are thought to be the earliest references to the artist. He was still resident in Pavia in 1404, when the Fabbrica (Cathedral Works) of Milan Cathedral decided to consult him as ‘the greatest in the arts of painting and design’. The frescoes in S Pietro in Ciel d’Oro and a panel by Michelino dated 1394 that was in S Mustiola, Pavia, in the 17th century have not survived, but two of the manuscripts with illumination firmly attributed to Michelino date from his time in Pavia: St Augustine’s ...

Article

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 ad at the Abbasid capital of Samarraا in Iraq, where the walls of enormous mud-brick palaces were rendered with plaster, moulded or carved in three styles of relief decoration. Although two styles (A and B) preserve recognizable vegetal forms ultimately derived from Late Antique ornament, the third (C) or Bevelled style is far more abstract, and the traditional distinction between subject and ground has dissolved. The same style of decoration was also used at Samarraا for wooden furnishings, such as panels and doors and for other sculpted media, such as rock crystal.

The Bevelled style quickly became popular throughout the Abbasid realm: it is found, for example, at the ...

Article

Beylik  

Howard Crane

Term applied to a number of Turkish principalities in Anatolia from the last years of Saljuq family rule at the end of the 13th century to the final incorporation of Anatolia in the Ottoman family state in the late 15th. While some Beyliks achieved only a brief independence, others were quite durable. Chief among them were the southern principalities of Karaman (1256–1483) centred on Ermenak, Konya and Karaman; Dulkadir (1337–1515) in Elbistan and Maras; Hamid-Teke (c. 1300–1390) of Uluborlu, Eğridir and Antalya; and Eşref (late 13th century–1328) in Beyşehir. The principality of Eretna (1335–81) controlled Kayseri, Sivas and Erzurum—the former Ilkhanid lands in central and east Anatolia—while Candar (c. 1290–c. 1395) ruled Kastamonu, Sinop and the Black Sea littoral. The Aegean and Marmara coastal lands in the west were ruled by the principalities of Menteşe (c....

Article

H. B. J. Maginnis

A small painted panel, initially created as a cover for official documents of the civic government of Siena between the 13th and 17th centuries. The Italian word derives from the chief financial office of Siena, the Biccherna, a name that first appears at the beginning of the 13th century; it was supposedly inspired by the imperial treasury of the Blachernae Palace in Constantinople. The term has also been extended to designate painted covers and small panels connected with other Sienese civic offices and institutions, such as the tax office (Gabella), the hospital of S Maria della Scala, the Opera del Duomo and various lay confraternities. Most biccherne, however, are from the office of the Biccherna itself.

The officials of the Biccherna comprised a camarlingo, charged with expenditure on behalf of the Comune, and four provveditori, responsible for revenues and for approving disbursements. All officials were appointed for six-month terms, at the end of which the working accounts were transferred to parchment registers to be presented to the Consiglio Generale of Siena for inspection. Initially these were prepared as two distinct volumes: the ...

Article

Bruno Santi

(b Florence, c. 1350; d Florence, ?second decade of the 15th century or ?1427).

Italian painter. He was the first important artist in a family of artists that ran a workshop that passed from father to son for more than a century. His father was probably also a painter but all that is known of him is the name Bicci, the patronymic of Lorenzo (and probably a nickname for Jacopo). By 1370 Lorenzo had enrolled in the Florentine painters’ guild. His first documented work, datable to shortly after April 1380, is a panel depicting St Martin Enthroned (Florence, Depositi Gal.) painted for the Arte dei Vinattieri (the wine-merchants’ guild), to be mounted in the Florentine church of Orsanmichele on a pilaster assigned to that guild on 30 April 1380. The predella (Florence, Accad.) depicts the episode of St Martin Dividing his Cloak with the Beggar. In 1385, together with the painters Agnolo Gaddi, Corso di Jacopo, and Jacopo di Luca and two goldsmiths, Piero del Migliore and Niccolò de Luca, Lorenzo was called on to value the statues of ...

Article

Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Earliest surviving illuminated Ashkenazi Haggadah (Jerusalem, Israel Mus., Ms. 180/57), copied around 1300 for an unknown patron by a scribe named Menahem. The style of the figures depicted against the bare parchment and designed in unified contrasting colours is paralleled in manuscripts of the early 14th century Upper Rhine region. The programme of decoration focuses on text illustrations, including ritual and biblical scenes, dispersed along the outer margins. They are arranged in several narrative clusters and some of them bear polemic meanings. Full-page miniatures appear at the beginning and end of the manuscript: the master of the house seated with his wife at the festive Seder table opens the Haggadah (fol. 1v), while an image of the heavenly Jerusalem fills the last page (fol. 47r), in direct association with the concluding phrase, ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’, written in large letters on the opposite folio. Birds’ beaks are assigned to most of the human figures in the Haggadah, sometimes with the addition of pigs’ ears, a combination giving them the appearance of griffins. Bird- and animal-headed figures are a phenomenon typical of 13th- and 14th-century Ashkenazi illumination whose meaning has yet to be fully understood....

Article

Bizen  

Richard L. Wilson

Japanese centre of ceramics production. High-fired ceramic wares were manufactured from the end of the 12th century in and around the village of Inbe, Bizen Province (now Okayama Prefect.). This region had been a centre for manufacturing Sue-style stonewares and Haji-style earthenwares from the 6th century ad (see Japan, §IX, 2, (ii), (a)). At the end of the Heian period (794–1185) the potters moved from the old Sue-ware sites around Osafune village to Inbe, just to the north. In response to increased agricultural development, the new kilns manufactured kitchen mortars (suribachi), narrow-necked jars (tsubo) and wide-necked jars (kame). During the 13th century the wares show less of the grey-black surfaces typical of the old Sue tradition and more of the purple-reddish colour characteristic of Bizen. In the 14th century Bizen-ware production sites shifted from the higher slopes to the foot of the mountains. Kilns expanded in capacity, ranging up to 40 m in length. Vast quantities of Bizen wares, particularly kitchen mortars, were exported via the Inland Sea to Kyushu, Shikoku and numerous points in western Honshu, establishing Bizen as the pre-eminent ceramics centre in western Japan. By the 15th century the Bizen repertory had expanded to include agricultural wares in graded sizes; wares then featured combed decoration and such functional additions as lugs and pouring spouts. Plastic–forming was assisted by the introduction of a fusible clay found 2–4 m under paddy-fields. This clay, which fires to an almost metallic hardness, is still in use today....

Article

J. Steinhoff-Morrison

The impact of the Black Death of 1348 (also called ‘the Great Pestilence’, ‘the Great Plague’, and ‘the Great Mortality’ in its own time) on medieval European culture continues to be investigated by social, economic, demographic, and medical historians. The influence that the Black Death may have had on art also has been debated, especially since the mid-20th century. For many decades the theory proposed by Millard Meiss in Painting in Florence and Siena After the Black Death (1951)—that the Black Death triggered a cultural response of ‘guilt, penance, and religious rapture’ that expressed itself in art in the form of regressively abstract style and conservative iconography—dominated thinking about art produced in the second half of the 14th century, particularly in Italy. Although Meiss’s theory is often still invoked, many art historians now question the viability of this argument. Questions arose early on from specialists who disagreed with Meiss’s characterization of the post-plague artistic style as uniformly anti-naturalistic. Numerous subsequent studies confirm that such qualities as frontality and flatness were case-specific, used for example in non-narrative images intended to replicate earlier venerated icons, or in works made for burial contexts. Re-evaluation of Meiss’s theory was also fuelled by discoveries of new documents that re-date to the pre–Black Death period a few of his central examples. Art-historical scholarship now tends to focus on the specific circumstances of a medieval work’s patronage, production, and purpose, and generally discard notions of a generalized cultural mindset caused by the plague....

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Article

Bobbio  

Michael Richter

Monastery in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Approximately 50 km south of Piacenza in the Apennines, it was founded c. ad 613 through the cooperation of the Lombard king Agilulf (reg 590–615) and the Irish abbot and saint Columbanus (c. 540–615). Its nucleus was an older dilapidated church dedicated to St Peter. Columbanus died on 23 November 615, but his name and renown remained alive in the following centuries. Through cooperation with the Lombard monarchs as well as later the Carolingian kings, Bobbio became a very prominent monastery in Northern Italy. In 628 it was granted the earliest monastic exemption from supervision by the local diocesan, the bishop of Tortona. The community of Bobbio apparently lived according to the Rule of Columbanus as well as the Rule of Basil of Caesarea. The presence of the Rule of St Benedict cannot be documented there before the early 9th century. Bobbio became a known not only as a centre of Irish learning but also as a centre of grammatical as well as computational studies. Its early library also contained Classical texts as well as important palimpsests (a ‘catalogue’ survives from the late 9th century). In the late 9th and early 10th centuries (a period of economic decline) important illuminated manuscripts were produced there. The abbatial church was rebuilt under Abbot Agilulf (...

Article

Joan Isobel Friedman

(b ?nr Florence, 1313; d Certaldo, Dec 21, 1375).

Italian writer. He was the natural child of an unknown mother and Boccaccino di Chellino, a merchant banker. At the age of 14 Boccaccio was sent to Naples and apprenticed to a Florentine counting house; subsequently he attended the University of Naples, where he studied canon law and met many of the city’s leading scholars and humanists, including Paolo da Perugia, Andalo del Negro, and Cino da Pistoia. Boccaccio’s desire to pursue a literary career eventually supplanted all other interests. One of the most influential writers of the 14th century, he is now known primarily for his works in Italian, in particular the Decameron. During his lifetime, however, such works in Latin as De claris mulieribus (1361), De casibus virorum illustrium (1355–60), and the immensely influential encyclopedia De genealogia deorum gentilium (written 1350–60; revised 1371–4) were the major sources of his fame and were often the subject of manuscript and book illustrations, especially in the 15th century....

Article

Bohun  

L. E. Dennison

English family of patrons. Between the 1340s and the 1390s the Bohun earls of Hereford and their relations were the most significant patrons of manuscript illumination in England. There was a tradition of book-collecting in the family. An Apocalypse in French of c. 1280 (Oxford, New Coll., MS. 65) was probably made for Joanna de Bohun (d 1283). Humphrey de Bohun IV (c. 1276–1321/2) commissioned the Longleat Breviary (Longleat House, Wilts, MS. 10) and had additions made to the Alfonso Psalter (London, BL, Add. MS. 24686), partly by the so-called Subsidiary Queen Mary Artist (see Queen Mary Psalter), probably after the death of his wife Princess Elizabeth in 1316. In the 1340s Elizabeth (d 1355), wife of William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, commissioned a Dominican Psalter-Hours (ex-Astor priv. col., Ginge Manor, Berks), the chief illuminator of which can be associated with Cambridge....

Article

Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (1309–61), the 6th Earl of Hereford and 5th Earl of Essex and his nephew Humphrey de Bohun VII (1342–73), the 7th earl of Essex and 2nd Earl of Northampton, Humphrey VII’s wife Joan Fitzalan (d 1419) and their daughters Eleanor (1366–99), who married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (see Plantagenet, House of family §(5)), son of King Edward III, and Mary (c. 1369–94), who married Henry of Bolingbroke (1366–1413; from 1399 King Henry IV), son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Known to have been active between c. 1360 and ...

Article

Alessandro Conti

(fl Bologna, 1349–1403).

Italianilluminator. He was one of the most successful illuminators working in Bologna at a time when it was a major centre of manuscript production. He is unusual in that he signed some of his illuminations, but his earliest known work, a Book of Hours (Kremsmünster, Stiftsgal., Clm. 4), predates the first signatures as well as the earliest documentary references. It was undersigned by the scribe Bartolomeo de’ Bartoli, and it bears the date 1349, and it is signed again in an illuminated frieze Andreas me pinsit. This must have been the contractor of the decoration and, it has been suggested, should be identified with Andrea de’ Bartoli, but the decoration is unquestionably linked to the early style of Niccolò di Giacomo and to the late works of the Master of 1346. The earliest example of a signed work by Niccolò di Giacomo is the illumination of a copy of the ...

Article

Masatomo Kawai

[Gyokukei]

(1348–c. 1420).

Japanese Zen monk, scholar, calligrapher, poet and painter. He began his training as a monk at Nanzenji in Kyoto, under Shun’oku Myōha, the nephew and disciple of Musō Sōseki, one of the leading Zen prelates of the Muromachi period (1333–1568). His other teachers included the Zen recluse Shakushitsu Genkō and Gidō Shūshin, under whom he studied literature. A trusted adviser of the fourth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimochi, Gyokuen was appointed to the prestigious abbacies of Kenninji (c. 1409) and Nanzenji (1413) in Kyoto. His true wish, however, was to retire from the world, and in 1420, after a disagreement with Yoshimochi, he left Kyoto to lead a life of seclusion. An accomplished poet, Gyokuen also brushed colophons on many shigajiku (poem-painting scrolls) of the period, including Josetsu’s Catching a Catfish with a Gourd (c. 1413–15; Kyoto, Myōshinji). His own painting, which shows the influence of the mid-14th-century Chinese priest–painter Xue Chuang and of Tesshū Tokusai, strongly reflects his literary disposition. He is especially well known for his subdued monochrome ink paintings of orchids (emblems of moral virtue), 30 of which have survived (...

Article

Christopher de Hamel

Late medieval prayerbook containing, as its principal text, psalms, and devotions (primarily invoking the Virgin Mary) for the eight canonical hours of the day: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. They were intended for private reading and meditation by the laity, forming a shorter version of the cycle of daily prayers and psalms recited from the Breviary by members of religious orders. Each office is usually no more than a few pages long, and the books are generally small and portable, often of octavo size. Most surviving Books of Hours were made in the 15th century and early 16th, and they were produced in such numbers that they still form the most common surviving group of European illuminated manuscripts.

The offering of psalms eight times a day can be traced back to early monasticism, and parallel forms of worship are found in lay devotions (see Service book...

Article

M. A. Michael

The elaboration of the margins of a manuscript with decorative or figural motifs. The development of decoration for otherwise blank margins on a page with text is associated with the evolution of the decorated and historiated initial (see Initial, manuscript; for borders accompanying full-page miniatures, see Miniature §I). It forms part of a developing scheme of hierarchies in the decoration of the manuscript, which in turn is linked to the page design and punctuation of the text. In its earliest phase, border ornament was closely tied to the form of the initial, so that by the 12th century parts of the initial were elongated to the extent that they affected the design of the page. In the Gothic period, however, borders became a more independent form of decoration, and pages of lesser importance were also included in the decorative scheme.

Another factor in the development of border decoration was the use of penwork initials, particularly in the Canon law and theology books copied at the university towns of Bologna, Paris, and Oxford in the Early Gothic period. In these textbooks, the decoration of initials of varying importance formed part of the visual organization of the page to enable easier reference. This hierarchical system of decoration for secular texts may have influenced the introduction of a similar system into the growing numbers of liturgical books owned by the laity. In addition, there seems to have been an association between the increased decoration of a text and its veneration, so that Psalters and Books of Hours, in particular, used as part of a programme of private devotion, were lavishly decorated both in a way that made them more accessible to the layman and in order to emphasize their sacredness. The amount of decoration used in a book can also help to gauge the cost of its production. This consideration, combined with the hierarchy of borders that had emerged by the end of the 13th century, was important in shaping the decorative programme of a manuscript; whether borders covered one or more margins on a page would depend on the amount of money spent and the relative importance of the text they framed....

Article

Santiago Alcolea Blanch

(b Girona; fl 1380; d Barcelona, between Dec 19, 1424 and Feb 23, 1425).

Catalan painter. He was the second son of Guillem Borrassà (fl 1360–96), a painter of Girona, and is first mentioned on 21 January 1380, when he received payment for the repair of a stained-glass window in Girona Cathedral. Soon afterwards he moved to Barcelona, where in 1383 he was working on an important altarpiece (untraced) for the convent of S Damian, which was paid for by King Peter IV ‘el Ceremonioso’ of Aragon (reg 1336–87). Borrassà was already a citizen of Barcelona in 1385, and documents show clearly that his artistic gifts were soon recognized. In spite of his success, however, he maintained dual citizenship for several years and frequently returned to Girona to obtain commissions and payment for completed work; his elder brother Francesc (fl 1399–1422), who inherited the family workshop, often acted as his agent or partner. Lluís Borrassà evidently became the most outstanding and prolific painter in Catalonia of his time, carrying out important commissions not only in Barcelona and Girona but also in central Catalonia and in the area between Tarragona, Igualada, and Vilafranca del Penedès. He exercised some influence in the area of Lleida as well, which was dominated in the first third of the 15th century by the painter Jaume Ferrer....

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