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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 Baghdad in 762. Although they initially encouraged the support of Shi‛ites, the Abbasids quickly distanced themselves from their erstwhile allies to become champions of orthodoxy. Upon accession, each caliph adopted an honorific title, somewhat like a regnal name, by which he was later known. For the first two centuries, the Abbasids’ power was pre-eminent, and their names were invoked from the Atlantic to western Central Asia. From the middle of the 10th century, however, real power was transferred to a succession of Persian and Turkish dynasts (...


[Æthelwold; Ethelwold]

(b Winchester, c. ad 908; d Beddington, Surrey, 1 Aug 984; fd 1 Aug). Anglo-Saxon saint, Church leader, reformer and patron. With Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury (reg 959–88), and Oswald, Archbishop of York (reg 972–92), he was the moving spirit behind the English monastic revival of the late 10th century.

Aethelwold’s career began at the court of King Athelstan (reg 924–39). After ordination he joined Dunstan’s reformed monastic community at Glastonbury. About 954 he established his own monastic house at Abingdon. According to later tradition, he was a skilled worker in metals and personally contributed to the embellishment of the abbey church. Appointed Bishop of Winchester in 963, he introduced reformed communities into both Old and New Minsters and established a regular monastic life in several other centres, notably Ely, Peterborough and Thorney. He was an enthusiastic patron: the masterpiece of the Winchester School of illumination, the ...


Lucien Golvin

Islamic dynasty that governed Tunisia, Algeria and Sicily from ad 800 to 909. The province of Ifriqiya, roughly corresponding to modern Tunisia, had been administered from Kairouan since the Islamic conquest in the 7th century by governors named by the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. The caliph authorized one of these governors, Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab (reg 800–12), to appoint his own successor, thereby engendering a dynasty that maintained its position by paying the caliph an annual tribute. Ibrahim immediately built a satellite city, which he named al-‛Abbasiyya, with a palace, known as the Qasr al-Abyad, and a congregational mosque. His sons ‛Abdallah I (reg 812–17) and Ziyadat Allah I (reg 817–38) continued to put down insurrections, and Tunis was temporarily outside the authority of the Aghlabid amir in Kairouan. The conquest of Sicily (827) was conducted like a holy war against the Byzantines, and the troops, encouraged by indoctrination in fortified convents (Arab. ...


L. James

(b ?Constantinople, c. ad 461–3; d Constantinople, c. 527–9). Byzantine patron. As the great-granddaughter of Galla Placidia and daughter of Flavius Anicius Olybrius (Emperor of the West, reg 472) she was the last major figure of the Theodosian house. In 512, during a popular uprising against Emperor Anastasius I (reg 491–518), the imperial crown was pressed on her husband Flavius Areobindus Dagalaifus, an honour he avoided by flight. Her imperial connections and social standing gave her an important status at court and she was an active patron. She is chiefly remembered for the Dioskurides codex (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., med. gr. 1), which was produced in Constantinople c. 512 (see Early Christian and Byzantine art, §I, 2, (ii)). The inscription around her portrait (fol. 6v) indicates that the manuscript was commissioned for her by the people of Onoratou, a suburb of Constantinople, in gratitude for a church she built for them....


I. G. Bango Torviso

Spanish dynasty of rulers and patrons. The 8th- to 9th-century Asturian kingdom on the north-west coast of Spain was the nucleus of resistance to the Muslim invaders. It became organized into a genuine state, with proper ecclesiastical and court systems, in the reign of (1) Alfonso II. Following Alfonso’s victories over the Muslims, the kingdom expanded and consolidated; it was maintained during the reign of (2) Ramiro I, while (3) Alfonso III took advantage of Muslim weakness and annexed the whole Duero Valley, repopulating the newly acquired lands with people from the north and Mozarabs (Christians who had preserved their faith in areas under Muslim control). Alfonso’s sons began a new dynasty with the capital in León.

, King of Asturias (reg 791–842). He had to overcome great difficulties in order to reach the throne, and his reign was marked by a number of conspiracies. From childhood he was under the protection of monastic communities, which influenced his whole life. He lived like a monk, surrounded by a monastic élite that was to be the inspiration for the whole administrative and political theory underlying the Asturian kingdom. There were numerous diplomatic contacts with the Carolingian empire. With the discovery of the tomb of St James the Great in Compostela, Alfonso began the construction of the first great basilica over the Apostle’s grave. In ...


Eric Cambridge

[Biscop Baducing]

(b Northumbria, ad 628; d Monkwearmouth, 689–90; fd 12 Jan). English saint and patron. He rejected his position as a Northumbrian nobleman prominent in the royal service, and in ad 653 became a pilgrim, making the first of several visits to Rome, and acquainting himself with the leading monasteries of Gaul and Italy, including Lérins in Provence, where he became a monk. Unexpectedly Pope Vitalian ordered him to accompany Archbishop Theodore to Canterbury. On their arrival there in 669, Benedict temporarily became head of the monastery of SS Peter and Paul. His final years were spent in establishing and ruling his own monastic community in Northumbria where, under royal patronage, he founded Monkwearmouth in 674, and Jarrow, his community’s second home, in 685.

Benedict’s activities brought about the dissemination of artefacts characteristic of Mediterranean Christian Antiquity to the ‘barbarian periphery’ of Europe: books, relics, and pictures from Rome; masons and glaziers from Gaul. These were not simply practical necessities; they were also the symbols of his monastery’s allegiance to the Roman Church. Others in 7th-century England and northern Gaul were similarly engaged. What distinguishes Benedict is the single-mindedness with which he pursued his devotion to Antique forms. More than any other recorded figure, he laid the foundations on which the 8th-century Northumbrian renaissance was built....


(b c. ad 960; bur Hildesheim, Nov 22, 1022; can 1192).

German saint, bishop, and patron. He was born into a noble Saxon family, possibly that of a count. At Hildesheim cathedral school he was taught by Thangmar. The Life of St Bernward, begun by Thangmar and completed in 1030–40 by monks from St Michael’s Abbey, Hildesheim, records that Bernward was the secretary of Archbishop Willigis of Mainz (reg 975–1011), who was Chancellor to Otto I and Otto II. Bernward was summoned to court in 987 as tutor to Otto III. To mark his consecration as Bishop of Hildesheim (15 Jan 993), Otto III presented him with a fragment of the True Cross, which Bernward placed in a reliquary in the form of a golden cross adorned with precious stones, and housed in a specially-built chapel (ded. 996). He visited Rome in the Emperor’s retinue in 1000–01, using the opportunity to acquire valuable relics. In September 1007 he travelled to Saint-Denis Abbey and also visited the tomb of his patron saint, St Martin, in Tours....



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 ...


H. V. Trivedi

[Cāhamāna; Chahamanas of Rajasthan; Chauhan]

Indian Rajput clan, several branches of which ruled in Rajasthan from medieval times. The earliest Chahamanas originated with Vasudeva, who established himself at Sakambhari, or Sambhar, near Jaipur, in the early 7th century ad. This house came into prominence when one of its scions, Durlabharaja, a feudatory of the Gurjara-Pratihara king Vatsaraja (reg c. 777–808), defeated Dharmapala of Bengal (reg c. 781–812) in the last quarter of the 8th century. The Chahamana dominions extended to Sikar, where they built an impressive Shiva temple in the 10th century. To the north of Sikar was the kingdom of the Tomaras of Delhi, with whom the Chahamanas were on hostile terms: one of their records states that Chandna, a scion of the dynasty, defeated and killed the Tomara prince Rudra (Rudrena) in the 9th century. The last ruler of the house was Prithviraja III (reg c. 1178–92), who, after a glorious career of conquest, fell fighting with Muhammad Ghur (...


Carol Radcliffe Bolon and K. V. Ramesh

Indian dynasty with sundry branches. Apart from the Chalukyas of Badami (see §1 below) and the later Chalukyas of Kalyana (see §2 below) there was a branch in western India known as the Chalukyas of Gujarat (see Solanki) and a branch known as the Eastern Chalukyas, or Chalukyas of Vengi, who ruled in Andhra in the 7th century ad.

Indian dynasty that ruled portions of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra from c. ad 543 to 757. Over 200 inscriptions of the Chalukyas provide a fairly complete history of the dynasty. They first emerged under Pulakeshin (reg c. 543–566/7), with their capital at Badami, (anc. Vatapi). The Vaishnava cave (no. 3) at Badami, dated ad 578 (Shaka year 500) and the earliest dated monument in south India, was dedicated by Mangalesha (reg 597/8–609/10) before he ascended the throne. Other early monuments are found nearby at Aihole...


Michael D. Willis

[Candella; Candrātreya; Candrella]

Dynasty of Rajputs who ruled parts of northern India from the 9th century to the early 14th. The Chandellas were an important regional house that came into prominence with the decline of the imperial Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty in the mid-10th century. Best-known for their patronage of temple architecture at Khajuraho, the Chandellas were at the height of power under Yashovarman (c. 925–54) and Dhangadeva (c. 954–1002). The region they ruled, now called Bundelkhand, is bounded on the north by the River Yamuna, on the east by the River Tons and on the west by the River Betwa. During Chandella times this territory was called Jejakabhukti or Jejakadesha after the ruler Jayashakti (Pkt Jejā or Jejjāka), who ruled c. 865–85. The important centres of Chandella power were Mahoba, Ajayagarh and Kalanjara. The interesting ruins of the fort of Kalanjara have yet to be thoroughly studied.

The earliest known record of the Chandella dynasty is the Lakshmana Temple inscription from ...


(b Aachen, 2 April ad 742; reg 768–814; d Aachen, Jan 28, 814; can 1165).

Frankish emperor and patron (see fig.). By means of political opportunism, military acumen and an alliance with the Roman Catholic Church, he expanded the Frankish kingdom to encompass an empire extending from Rome to the English Channel and northwards to beyond the River Elbe. His first experience of the Late Antique world was on his expedition to Italy, to conquer Lombardy, in ad 773–4; he attempted to realize the restoration of the Roman Empire (‘renovatio Romanorum imperii’) by reviving the culture of ancient Rome, more specifically that of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in 800. Throughout his dominions, assisted by a group of advisers largely composed of international scholars, he re-established high standards of Classical and biblical studies. He ruled with the assistance of churchmen, and the reform of the Frankish Church, in particular the imposition of the Roman liturgy, generated the need for buildings, paintings, books, furnishings, and vestments. Charlemagne’s buildings included imperial residences, cathedrals, and monasteries. One of the earliest and most important examples of ...


(b Frankfurt am Main, June 13, 823; reg 840–877; d nr Nantua, Oct 6, 877).

Frankish emperor and patron. The grandson of Charlemagne, he was one of the most prolific patrons of the early Middle Ages. He became king of the western portion of the Carolingian empire in ad 843 on the death of his father, Louis the Pious (reg 814–40). His patronage began soon after 843, when his position was affirmed by the Treaty of Verdun, and it continued until his death. This coincidence of rule and patronage was not accidental; for Charles the Bald artistic patronage and political activity were inseparable. He was the most important Carolingian patron, not only on account of the number of objects made for him and their material and intellectual richness but also for the range of his patronage. He commissioned luxurious works in architecture (his palatine chapel at Compiègne (destr.) seems to have been a copy of Charlemagne’s chapel at Aachen), manuscript illumination, ivory-carving, and metalwork from every important artistic centre of the later Carolingian period. The ...


Carol Michaelson


Chinese dynasty that ruled in southern China between ad 557 and 589. It was the last of the so-called Six Dynasties (222–589), who were the ‘legitimate’ successors to the Han dynasty (206 bcad 220) and made Jiankang (now Nanjing) their capital.

In 557 Chen Baxian (later Emperor Wudi; reg 557–9) deposed the Liang (502–57) emperor and established the Chen dynasty. The government attempted to resuscitate the economy but the area under its rule was the smallest of the southern dynasties, with fewer territories than its predecessors and a northern border reaching only to the southern bank of the Yangzi River. The Chen government was strong enough initially to resist incursions by the Northern Qi (550–77) and Northern Zhou (557–81) but was not in a position to take advantage of the divisions in the north.

Jiankang continued to be a cultural and political centre to which merchants and Buddhist missionaries came from South-east Asia and India, and it became one of the world’s greatest cities. The capital was also a major Buddhist centre; several Buddhist temples, many of them caves or niches, had been constructed in the preceding Liang period. To the north-east of the city lay an imperial burial ground, notable for its carved tomb guardians in the form of chimeras (...



J. Marr


Dynasty in south India that was prominent until the 13th century ad. The Cholas, best known for their patronage of temple architecture, were one of the principal royal lineages of the Tamil country. They are mentioned in the edicts of Ashoka (3rd century bc) and figure in the earliest Tamil literature (1st–4th century ad). However, little archaeological evidence exists for the Cholas before the 9th century ad. The first ruler, Vijayalaya (reg c. 846–71), captured Thanjavur from his Pallava overlords. Aditya I (reg c. 871–907) annexed the Pallava kingdom in Tondaimandalam (now Tamil Nadu) in 903, and Parantaka I (reg c. 907–55) attacked and conquered the Pandya rulers of Madurai. The two greatest Chola rulers were Rajaraja I (reg 985–1014) and his son Rajendra I (reg 1012–44), made co-regent in 1012. Apart from their conquests, which extended from Sri Lanka to Sumatra, they were responsible for splendid temple buildings. That at Thanjavur, the ...



Richard Gem

(b ?910 or later; d Canterbury, 988; fd 19 May).

Saint, Archbishop of Canterbury, and patron. He was educated at Glastonbury Abbey, where he was appointed abbot c. 940–46. In 956–7 he was exiled to Ghent. Returning to England he was appointed successively Bishop of Worcester and London in 958 and Archbishop of Canterbury in 959.

Dunstan’s first biographer ‘B’ (?Byrhthelm) refers to him as adept in the arts of writing, playing the harp, and painting and records his providing a design for a stole to be embroidered by a noblewoman. Surviving evidence of his artistic endeavours is sparse. A drawing of a monk prostrate at the feet of Christ (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Auct. F.4.32, fol. 1r) has an inscription probably in Dunstan’s own hand identifying the monk with himself, but the drawing is by a different hand. Later writers claimed that Dunstan was an expert metalworker; but this may have been inferred from inscriptions on metalwork presented to churches by Dunstan, such as a water vessel recorded at Malmesbury....


Joachim E. Gaehde

(d Hildesheim, ad 851).

Frankish patron. The son of a royal serf of Saxon stock, Ebbo was raised as a foster brother of the future emperor Louis the Pious (reg 813–40) and became Archbishop of Reims in 816. He seems to have invited one or more of Charlemagne’s former court artists to Reims, thereby establishing a school of manuscript illumination, which evolved a highly distinctive style by infusing Late Antique illusionism with a new expressive energy. This style is defined in particular by the Ebbo Gospels (Epernay, Bib. Mun. MS. 1) and the Utrecht Psalter (Utrecht, Bib. Rijksuniv., MS. 32; for illustration see Utrecht Psalter), both made at the abbey of Hautvillers in the diocese of Reims, possibly before Ebbo’s mission to the Danes in 822–3 but certainly before 834. Among other manuscripts produced during or shortly after Ebbo’s tenure are the Physiologus (Berne, Burgerbib., MS. 318) and a Psalter (Troyes, Trésor Cathédrale, MS. 12). Although short-lived at Reims, the style of these manuscripts was to influence medieval art in northern Europe for centuries to come. Ebbo supported the forced abdication of Louis in 833, and therefore had to leave Reims after the Emperor’s reinstatement in 834. He was officially deposed at the Synod of Diedenhofen in 835, but was restored to his see by Lothair I (...


Franz J. Ronig

(b c. ad 950; reg 977–93; d ?Trier, 8–9 Dec 993).

Patron. He was the son of Dirk II, Count of Holland (reg c. 940–88), and Hiltigard of Flanders. Educated at Egmond Abbey, he then studied with Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne (reg 953–61). He must already have been at the Court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I, and became chancellor in 976 and Archbishop of Trier in 977. In the upheavals during the minority of Otto III, he sided with Henry, Duke of Bavaria, against Empress Theophano (d 991). Egbert promoted monastic reforms in Trier and Lotharingia, while scholarship also flourished at Trier and Mettlach; the Archbishop himself corresponded with such Church figures as Gerbert (later Pope Sylvester II, reg 999–1003). In Church politics he represented the ‘Primatus sedendi in synodis Galliae et Germaniae’. There are two works of art portraying Egbert that support this claim: the splendid Ruodprecht Psalter (Cividale del Friuli, Mus. Archeol. N., Cod. 136), which with its series of miniatures of the bishops of Trier traced back to St Peter served to demonstrate that the apostolic succession belonged to Trier; and the gold sheath for the staff of St Peter (988; Limburg, Domschatzkam.) with representations of bishops of Trier and Roman popes....



David Parsons

(d 15 June 822). Bavarian abbot and patron. He was Abbot of Fulda from 818 to 822. A nobleman related to Abbot Sturm (reg 744–79), Eigil entered the monastery (see Fulda §1) as a child between 754 and 759. It is thought that he played a leading role in the revolt against Ratgar (reg 802–17). After the latter’s deposition there was an interregnum until Eigil’s election, during which the community was re-established. At his institution Eigil undertook to govern wisely and to restrict the abbey’s building programme, which had become over-ambitious under his predecessor. Nevertheless, he not only completed the internal decoration of the ‘Ratgar basilica’ (his biographer Candidus was responsible for wall paintings in the western apse) but also added a modest crypt at each end of the church before its dedication on 1 November 819. These hall crypts of three by three bays were designed by another monk, ...