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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

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

[Satra]

Greek city situated on the island of Crete, by the north-west foothills of mount Psiloritis (anc. Ida), 30 km south-east of the present-day city of Rethymnon. It was a centre for Aegean and Greek culture from the Prehistoric to the Byzantine periods (4th millennium bc–7th century bc).

Ancient Eleutherna is a typical example of a Cretan polis (city) inhabited continuously from at least from the 9th century bc (the so-called ‘Dark Age’ of Greek history) to the late Roman and Byzantine period (6th–7th century bc). Even before that, archaeological finds suggest the existence of a continuous presence on the site from the late Neolithic (4th millennium bc) through to a flourishing Minoan site of the 3rd to 2nd millennia bc. Although later construction all but eliminated traces of prehistoric architecture, there is still significant evidence to confirm unbroken habitation. In historical times (9th century...

Article

Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the Periculoso, a directive issued by Pope Boniface VIII (reg 1294–1303) in 1298. Various architectural solutions developed throughout the Middle Ages to reconcile the necessities of enclosure with the access required by male clerics to celebrate Mass and provide pastoral care. Nuns’ choirs, where the women would gather for their daily prayers, were often constructed as discreet spaces in the church, which allowed women to hear or see the Mass without interacting with the cleric, as in the 10th-century choir in the eastern transept gallery at St Cyriakus in Gernrode, Germany. In some Cistercian examples, the nuns’ choir appeared at the west end of the nave. Dominican and Franciscan architecture was largely varied. Double monasteries, which housed men and women, also required careful construction. A 7th-century text describing the church of St Brigida in ...

Article

Stephen T. Driscoll

Scottish royal centre in Perthshire, which reached its zenith in the late Pictish period (8th–9th centuries ad) and is the source of an assemblage of high quality ecclesiastical sculpture. Occupying the fertile heart of Strathearn, Forteviot has been more or less in continuous use as a ceremonial centre since the 3rd millennium bc and is the focus of élite burials from the Early Bronze Age (c. 1900 bc) through to the Pictish era. Cinead mac Alpín (Kenneth mac Alpine), the king traditionally identified with the foundation of the Gaelic kingdom of the Scots, died at the palacium (palace) of Forteviot in ad 858. It was eclipsed as a royal centre by Scone in ad 906, but remained a significant royal estate until the 13th century.

The only surviving fabric of the palace is a unique monolithic arch, presumably a chancel arch, carved with three moustached Picts in classical dress flanking a crucifix (now in the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh). Fragments of at least four additional sandstone crosses indicate the presence of a major church, perhaps a monastery. The celebrated Dupplin Cross (now in Dunning Church) originally overlooked Forteviot from the north. This monolithic, free-standing cross (2.5 m tall) bears a Latin inscription naming Constantine son of Fergus, King of the Picts (...

Article

Kang Woo-Bang

(fl c. ad 755).

Korean sculptor. He is the only known sculptor of the Unified Silla period (ad 668–918). The name Kanggonaemal is composed of two elements: Kanggo, the name of the artisan, and naemal, also written nama, which is the title of the 11th of the 17 government ranks of the time and indicates the high position of the artisan. It is probably because of his aristocratic status that his name was recorded.

The 13th-century Samguk yusa (‘Memorabilia of the three kingdoms’) describes a gilt-bronze statue of the healing Buddha, the Yaksa Yorae (Skt: Bhaisajyaguru), made in the 14th year of the reign of Kyŏngdŏk (742–65), that is, 755. The statue was made for Punhwang Temple at Kyŏngju, the Silla capital, one of the seven great temples of Korea. The Samguk yusa states that the weight of the statue was 306,700 kŭn (1 kŭn equals 601.04 g) and its maker was Kanggonaemal. The statue itself has not survived. In estimating the size of the statue, a comparison can be made with the Divine Bell of King Sŏngdŏk (Kyŏngju, N. Mus.), begun during Kyŏngdŏk’s reign but not completed until after Hyegong came to the throne in 765. The ...

Article

Samuel C. Morse

(b c. ad 700; d 774).

Japanese sculptor. He worked in the Buddhist tradition of the Nara period (ad 710–94; see also Japan §V 3., (ii)). Like many artists of that time, Kimimaro was of foreign descent, his grandfather having immigrated from the Korean kingdom of Paekche in the 660s. His original family name was Kuni, but when he was rewarded in 749 with the honorary rank of muraji (a hereditary title granted to government officials), it was changed to Kuninaka after the village where the family resided. Kimimaro directed work on the monumental bronze Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Tōdaiji (see Nara §III 4.), which became the symbol of Buddhism as state religion. Since his name first appears in a record dated 745 (Tenpyō 17), he may also have worked on the predecessor to the Great Buddha, which was begun in 743 at Kogadera near the Shigaraki Palace to the north of Nara (anc. Heijō). Emperor Shōmu moved the project back to Nara in 745 and appointed Kimimaro chief sculptor in 747. At the same time, Kimimaro is recorded as having requisitioned materials for the mandorla for the statue of ...

Article

Colin McEwan and Maria-Isabel Silva

Pre-Columbian culture that flourished on the Pacific coast of Ecuador c. ad 800–c. 1500. Manteño artisans were skilled in metalworking, especially copper, in textile-weaving, and in ceramics, but it was the late elaboration of free-standing stone sculpture that introduced a novel dimension to their artistic production.

Despite its limited repertory, Manteño sculpture stands as one of the rare pre-Inca stoneworking traditions in the northern Andes. Best known are the seats and stelae sculpted from monolithic blocks of stone of variable quality and thickness, according to the locally available raw materials. Several hundred examples, in varying states of repair, have been recovered from the abandoned ruins of major Manteño ceremonial and political centres such as Cerro Jaboncillo, Cerro de Hojas, and Agua Blanca, all in the south of Manabí Province. Both the type of stone used and the details of stylistic treatment differ from site to site, suggesting the existence of local schools of artisans. Almost invariably either a feline or a crouching male prisoner is depicted under the U-shaped arms of the seats. Although zoomorphic shamans’ stools of wood are widespread among the lowland tropical forest cultures of the New World, the Manteño seats also served to denote hierarchical ranking analogous to that of the Incas. The Spanish chronicler Guaman Poma de Ayala described how the type and size of seat awarded to an official in the political hierarchy was carefully graded according to his status. The stone stelae are engraved with images featuring the ‘heraldic woman’ motif and a reptilian ‘earth monster’, both of which were evidently integral elements of a seasonal fertility cult. Other forms found in the corpus of Manteño stone sculpture include free-standing human and zoomorphic figures in a rigidly constrained style reminiscent of Aztec monumental stone sculpture (...

Article

Thorsten Opper

[now Torre Annunziata]

Roman settlement on the seaward slopes of Mt Vesuvius about five km north-west of Pompeii, in what is now Torre Annunziata. The name Oplontis is attested in the Tabula Peutingeriana, a 13th-century copy of an ancient map of the Roman Empire (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. 324). Baths were discovered at the locality of Punta Oncino in 1834 while systematic excavations between 1964 and 1984 unearthed two villas and remains of a portico in the nearby area of Mascatelle.

Villa A is a grand residence with origins in the 1st century bc and extended in the Claudian period (mid-1st century ad). It is also known as Villa of Poppaea, after Poppaea Sabina, second wife of the Roman emperor Nero (an amphora inscribed with the name of one of her freedmen was found on the site). The villa was empty and undergoing restoration work at the time of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in ...

Article

Carola Hicks

Term used to describe the art of the Picts, who were the inhabitants of northern and eastern Scotland in the years between the Roman occupation of Britain (mid-1st century ad) and the 9th century. Their use of tattooing probably inspired the Roman name of Picti, or painted people. Pictish art is best known through sculpture, although there are also examples of silverwork. Several hundred carved stones provide evidence of a remarkable tradition whose style, technique, and range of ornament are without exact comparison in the rest of the British Isles.

The stones have been divided into three main groups that overlap chronologically. Class I consists of simple undressed stones decorated with a precise range of incised designs known as symbols. Class II is represented by more carefully shaped slabs; the decoration is in relief and is marked by a cross and other scenes on the face, with the symbols relegated to the back. On Class III monuments the symbols are no longer present, but there is a wider selection of ornament and narrative iconography. There is some difference in distribution: Class I is evenly spread through the eastern mainland, Class II has a greater concentration in the south of the Pictish kingdom, and Class III has some outliers in the west and north....

Article

Pomposa  

Charles B. McClendon

Italian former Benedictine abbey near the mouth of the Po River and 45 km north of Ravenna in the province of Emilia Romagna. Although first documented in ad 874, a monastic settlement probably existed there at least two centuries earlier. Pomposa rose to prominence in the 10th and 11th centuries through the support of the Holy Roman emperors. Over the course of the 14th century, a notable series of wall paintings in three different buildings were sponsored despite the monastery’s waning fortunes. In 1663 the monastic community was suppressed by papal decree. The site was secularized in 1802 and became property of the Italian state after 1870.

The proportions of the wooden-roofed basilican church, along with the polygonal outline of its main apse, reflect influence from nearby Ravenna and Classe and suggest a date in the 8th or 9th century. An elaborate pavement of mosaic and cut stone (opus sectile...

Article

Ravello  

Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. Ravello has been documented as an urban centre since the 10th century and as a bishopric since 1087. The centre, near the Toro quarter, is high up between the two rivers that separate the city from Scala and Minori. The city’s fortifications were damaged and the city itself was sacked by a Pisan assault in 1135 and in 1137. At the end of the 14th century, its inhabitants also clashed with the neighbouring city of Scala. In the 13th century a mercantile oligarchy with power throughout all of Sicily and close relations to the Crown took control of the city, celebrated in Boccaccio’s Decameron (II.4), and enriched it with numerous monuments and artworks.

The cathedral, dedicated to S Pantaleone, dates to 1087 but was extensively altered in the late 18th century. The cathedral has three naves and the façade has three portals—the central one has a bronze door (...

Article

Warwick Bray and Trent Barnes

Pre-Columbian culture of the Northern Andean region that flourished between c. 800 bc and c. ad 1630. It is named after the small town of San Agustín in the department of Huila, southern Colombia. It is classed archaeologically as a culture of the Intermediate area (see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II). The region where San Agustín culture developed covers several hundred square kilometres and contains approximately 40 Pre-Columbian archaeological sites, each with its own history. The more important of these include Alto de Lavapatas, Alto de Lavaderos, Alto de los Idolos, Las Mesitas, Isnos, El Vegón, and Quinchana. The entire landscape shows evidence of human habitation: ancient trackways and field systems, house terraces, carved boulders, cist graves, shaft tombs, and a series of mounds covering stone-built chambers containing carved statues. These monuments were first described by Juan de Santa Gertrudis in 1758 and have been studied sporadically ever since....

Article

Elizabeth B. Smith

Italian Benedictine abbey in the Abruzzo region. Founded in the 9th century by Emperor Louis the Pious (reg 814–40) and dedicated to St Clement I, whose relics it claimed, the abbey flourished under Abbot Leonate (reg 1155–82), a member of the papal curia. Leonate began an ambitious rebuilding project starting with a new façade, complete with rose window, and a portico for the church, both of which were decorated with monumental stone sculpture carved by masters who were probably not local but rather of French or north Italian origin, perhaps on their way to or from the Holy Land. An elaborately carved pulpit and paschal candelabrum also date to the time of Leonate, as does the Chronicon Casauriense (Paris, Bib. N., MS. lat. 5411), a compilation of documents pertinent to the abbey combined with a history of its existence up to the time of Leonate’s death. Although Leonate died before completing his rebuilding programme, his successor Joel installed the bronze doors still on the central portal of the façade. Construction continued on the church in the early 13th century....

Article

Scala  

Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. According to the 10th-century Chronicon Salernitanum, where it is referred to as Cama, Scala is the oldest centre along the entire Amalfi coast and has its origins in Late Antiquity. However, documentary proof that the city existed is only available from the beginning of the 10th century. Throughout history it has been home to a commercial aristocracy with commercial and political power throughout the entire Kingdom of Sicily. The Sasso and d’Afflitto families stood out from others in this group. Monasteries have been recorded in the city from the 10th century and it was under the control of the Duchy of Amalfi for the entire medieval period.

The settlement is characterized by numerous villages, such as Pontone and Minuta, which are found high up in the mountains behind Amalfi as well as in front of Ravello . Although the city is defended by a series of fortifications, it was damaged and sacked by a Pisan assault in ...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Yangji  

Kang Woo-Bang

( fl c. ad 632–46).

Korean sculptor, calligrapher and priest. He was prominent during the reign of Queen Sŏndŏk (reg 632–46) of Silla. According to the 13th-century Samguk yusa (‘Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms’) he was proficient in many arts. Three pieces of his work survive from the site of Yŏngmyo Temple, Kyŏngju, North Kyŏngsang Province: a Buddhist trinity, figures of guardians and tiles of halls and of a pagoda. Other works attributed to him include the eight guardian generals at the base of the pagoda at Sach’ŏnwang Temple, Kyŏngju, a Buddhist trinity and the deva kings to the right and left of it at Pŏmnim Temple, Kyŏngju, inscribed hanging boards at both Yŏngmyo and Pŏmnim temples, a further engraved pagoda and 3000 small Buddha figures (destr.)

Yangji’s Buddhist sculptures were all made from clay, which he was adept at moulding. He lived at Sŏkchang Temple in Kyŏngju, the Silla capital. When the temple site was excavated, many clay artefacts assumed to be Yangji’s work were discovered, among them heavenly spirits carved freely in unrestrained postures and sporting finely detailed muscles. A brick engraved with a Buddha and pagoda was also unearthed. All that remains of what have been described as the guardian generals of Sach’ŏnwang Temple amounts to no more than a single brick relief of a ...