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Abbasid  

Robert Hillenbrand

[‛Abbasid]

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 (...

Article

Alamut  

Abbas Daneshvari

[Alamūt]

Mountainous valley in Iran, 35 km north-east of Qazvin, and the name of one of the fortresses that defended the valley. From 1090 to 1261 it was the main headquarters of the Nizari branch of the Isma‛ili Shi‛ites, a religious community organized on a military basis. Their rigid hierarchy, esoteric practices and use of terrorism encouraged the development of romantic tales about them. Reputed to use hashish, they became known in the West as ‘Assassins’ (Arab. hashhīshiyyīn). Like all Isma‛ili fortresses, Alamut is strategically located on rocky heights and has an elaborate storage system for water and provisions so that the fortress was never taken by force. It consists of two parts: a higher and larger western fort and an eastern one.

Enc. Iran. F. Stark: The Valley of the Assassins (London, 1934) W. Ivanow: Alamut and Lamasar (Tehran, 1950) P. Willey: The Castles of the Assassins (London, 1963)...

Article

Karl-Heinz Golzio

[al-Murābiṭūn]

Islamic dynasty that ruled parts of the Sahara, Morocco, Algeria and Spain from 1056 to 1147. The Sanhaja Berber chief Yahya ibn Ibrahim, on returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, founded a reform movement intended to strengthen orthodoxy among the Saharan Berbers, who were only superficially Islamisized, but according to many Arab historiographers they adhered to Kharijite doctrine. With the support of the Malikite jurist Ibn Yasin and the Lamtuna Berber chiefs Yahya ibn ‛Umar and his brother Abu Bakr, a fortress for a Muslim brotherhood (Arab. ribāṭ) was established on an island at the mouth of the Senegal River. The fortress soon became a centre for the tribes living nearby, and the increasing power of those who lived there (al-murābiṭūn) led to the submission of all the Sanhaja tribes. Their renewal of Islam showed strong ascetic trends along with a simple piety that resulted in a holy war against the corrupt culture and errant Muslims of the Maghrib. In ...

Article

Amol  

Gordon Campbell

Article

Abbas Daneshvari

[Ardistāni; Ardestān]

Iranian town in the province of Isfahan, just east of the road from Natanz to Na’in. It occupies an ancient site and preserves the ruins of a Sasanian fire-temple, but the most important monuments date from the medieval period, when Ardistan was a flourishing agricultural centre, renowned for its silk. By the 10th century the town was fortified and had five gates. Its congregational mosque, which now has a four-iwan plan, was first built during this period; a tunnel-vaulted arcade in the south-west corner with a fragmentary kufic inscription and polylobed piers can be attributed to the 10th century, when similar work was done on the Friday Mosque at Isfahan (see Islamic art, §ii, 5(i)(a)). In 1158–60 the mosque was remodelled on the orders of Abu Tahir Husayn ibn Ghali ibn Ahmad by the master Mahmud ibn al-Isfahani known as al-Ghazi (see Islamic art, §ii, 5(i)(b)). The domed bay in front of the mihrab and the adjacent qibla iwan date from this rebuilding and are notable for their original decoration, which includes three stucco mihrabs, brickwork highlighted in red and white and plaster decoration in purple, yellow, white and blue. In ...

Article

Artuqid  

[Ortukid]

Islamic dynasty that ruled in south-east Anatolia from 1098 to 1408. The Artuqids were descendants of a Turkoman military commander in the service of the Saljuq dynasty; his family settled in Diyarbakır and carved out two principalities, one in Diyarbakır and the other in Mardin and Mayyafariqin. The branch in Diyarbakır fell to the Ayyubid dynasty in 1232, but the other branch survived, sometimes in vassalage, until it was extinguished by the Qaraqoyunlu dynasty. In the 12th century the Artuqids battled against the crusader County of Edessa; it was an Artuqid who took captive Baldwin at Harran in 1104.

Four large Artuqid congregational mosques survive, at Diyarbakır, Mardin, Mayyafariqin (now Silvan) and Dunaysir (now Kızıltepe), all with plans based on that of the Great Mosque of Damascus (see Islamic art, §II, 5(ii)(e)). The one at Diyarbakır (12th century) has a courtyard in the Classical revival style then in vogue in Syria, but the other buildings, of the late 12th century and early 13th, show a synthesis of Syrian and Anatolian decoration, as does the architectural style of the Saljuq dynasty of Anatolia. This style is continued at Mardin in the Sultan ‛Isa Madrasa (...

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

Ayyubid  

Islamic dynasty that ruled 1169–1252 in Egypt, 1180s–1260 in Syria and south-east Anatolia, and 1174–1229 in the Yemen, with minor branches continuing until the end of the 15th century. The Ayyubids were the Kurdish clan brought to power in 1169 by Salah al-Din (Saladin; reg 1169–93) and his nephew Shirkuh when they occupied Egypt on behalf of the Zangid family ruler of Damascus, Nur al-Din (reg 1146–74). Shirkuh soon died, and Salah al-Din became master of Egypt. He ended the Shi‛ite Fatimid dynasty of Egypt in 1171 and brought Aleppo and Damascus under his control in 1183 and 1186. Salah al-Din is best known in both East and West as a tireless foe of the crusaders, and for his liberation of Jerusalem in 1187. The Ayyubid lands were governed by leading members of his family. The sultan ruling in Cairo was paramount, and Damascus was the second capital, but Ayyubid possessions extended to the Yemen and into Anatolia. The counter-crusade continued throughout the Ayyubid period; notable is the failed treaty between al-Malik al-Kamil (...

Article

Bazaar  

Mohammad Gharipour

Bazaar, which is rooted in Middle Persian wāzār and Armenian vačaṟ, has acquired three different meanings: the market as a whole, a market day, and the marketplace. The bazaar as a place is an assemblage of workshops and stores where various goods and services are offered.

Primitive forms of shops and trade centres existed in early civilizations in the Near East, such as Sialk, Tepe in Kashan, Çatal Hüyük, Jerico, and Susa. After the 4th millennium BC, the population grew and villages gradually joined together to shape new cities, resulting in trade even with the remote areas as well as the acceleration of the population in towns. The advancement of trade and accumulation of wealth necessitated the creation of trade centres. Trade, and consequently marketplaces, worked as the main driving force in connecting separate civilizations, while fostering a division of labour, the diffusion of technological innovations, methods of intercultural communication, political and economic management, and techniques of farming and industrial production....

Article

Denys Pringle

[Coquet Castle; Arab. Kawkab al-Hawā, Kaukab el Hawā; now Heb. Kôkhov ha-Yardēn, Kokhav Hayarden]

Crusader castle in Israel built by the Knights Hospitaller c. 1168 and occupied until 1219. It is situated c. 12 km south of the Sea of Galilee, on the eastern edge of a plateau from where it overlooks the Jordan Valley and the site of what in the 12th century would have been the principal river crossings between the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and its Muslim neighbours. Some form of castle already occupied the site before April 1168, when it was sold to the Hospital of St John. All trace of this early structure, however, seems to have been removed by the Hospitallers, who almost at once began to build there the ‘very strong and spacious castle’ recorded by the pilgrim Theodoric in his Libellus de locis sanctis around 1172, and which William of Tyre described in 1182 in his Chronicon as a ‘new castle, whose name today is Belueir’....

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

Alison Manges Nogueira

Monumental, marble paschal Candlestick of the late 12th to early 13th century with reliefs signed by Nicolaus de Angelo and Vassallettus now in S Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome. The imposing column (h. 5.6 m), adorned with six registers of reliefs and surmounted by a fluted candle holder, rests upon a base of sculpted lions, sphinxes, rams and female figures. The upper and lower reliefs bear vegetal and ornamental patterns while the three central registers portray Christ before Caiaphas, the Mocking of Christ, Christ before Pilate, Pilate Washing his Hands, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension. The culminating Easter scenes reflect the paschal candle’s function during the Easter season as a symbol of Christ resurrected, as evoked in an inscription on the base. A second fragmentary inscription refers to the unidentifiable patron’s desire for commemoration. A third inscription identifies Nicolaus de Angelo as the master sculptor and Petrus Vassallettus as playing a secondary role. Both were active in the second half of the 12th to the early 13th century and came from leading families of Roman sculptors: the Vassalletti and Cosmati (Nicolaus’s family). The candlestick is the only work signed by and securely attributed to Nicolaus and the scope of his contribution remains uncertain. A plausible theory attributes the base and first register to Petrus, based upon similarities to works signed by him and ascribed to his family, such as the cloister of S Giovanni in Laterano in Rome and the narthex of S Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. Nicolaus probably executed the Christological scenes, distinguishable for their more dynamic, expressive figures and decorative chisel work, and appropriate for the master sculptor because of their centrality and significance. Early Christian sarcophagi and Carolingian ivories may have provided models for the figural types. This form of paschal candlestick was probably inspired by Roman columnar monuments carved with triumphal scenes....

Article

V. Beridze

Complex of cave monasteries in the Garedzhi Desert, 60–70 km south-east of Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. In the early 6th century the monk David, one of the 13 ‘Syrian fathers’ who preached Christianity in Georgia, and his pupil Lukian inhabited the caves, thus forming the basis of the Lavra of David. During the following centuries 11 further monasteries were founded in the cave complex, including Tsamebuli, Natlismtsemeli (John the Baptist), Chichkhituri, Dodos-Rka, Bertubani and Sabereyebi. They are spread over a wide area and include hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living-quarters hollowed out of the rock face.

Despite the harsh environment, David Garedzhi remained an important centre of religious and cultural activity for many centuries; at certain periods the monasteries owned extensive agricultural lands and many villages. King David III the Builder (reg 1089–1125) made David Garedzhi a royal property. Its main period of development was in the late 12th century and the early 13th, with the construction and decoration in fresco of numerous cave churches and refectories. These structures are much larger than the earlier ones and are decorated with exceptionally beautiful murals, displaying a distinctive school of Georgian monumental painting. Among the portraits of historical figures are those of ...

Article

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

The art produced by the peoples of the Roman Empire from the early 4th century ad to c. 600—as well as specifically Christian art from c. 250—and that produced in the eastern half of the Empire, centred around Constantinople (Byzantium) to 1453. The Byzantine empire (see fig.) was the institutional setting for much of the medieval art of the eastern Mediterranean, and from the early 4th century ad for the Orthodox Church and so for Early Christian art. Byzantines regarded their empire as having arisen from the happy coincidence of the foundation of the Roman Empire under Augustus with the incarnation of Jesus Christ; for modern historians the empire has a clear end (1453, when the city fell to the Turks) but no clear beginning. The foundation of Constantinople (324–330) by Constantine on the site of the small town of Byzantion is the conventional point of departure, when ironically Byzantion both ceased to exist and took on a new existence; it became known later as The City, and under the Turks Istanbul (...

Article

Fatimid  

Jonathan M. Bloom

Islamic dynasty that ruled in Ifriqiya (now Tunisia) from ad 909 to 972 and in Egypt from ad 969 to 1171. The Fatimids were Isma‛ili Shi‛ites who traced their ancestry back to Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, via Isma‛il, the seventh Shi‛ite Imam. They believed that their rightful position as leaders of the Muslim community had been usurped by the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. The first Fatimid success was the toppling of the Aghlabid rulers of Ifriqiya in 909. The Fatimid leader ‛Ubayd Allah assumed the title of caliph and the regnal name al-Mahdi (reg 909–34). He soon moved his capital from the hostile religious environment of Kairouan to Mahdia on the Mediterranean coast, a base more appropriate for the expected Fatimid conquest of the rest of the Islamic world. The port soon became a centre for Mediterranean commerce, whose revival was one of the cornerstones of Fatimid prosperity. The indigenous Berber population of North Africa rose in repeated rebellions, often fomented by the Fatimids’ Umayyad rivals in Spain. In 947 the caliph ...

Article

V. Beridze

Architectural complex founded in 1106 as a monastery and academy on the south bank of the Tskaltsitela River, 12 km from Kutaisi, Georgia. It was founded by King David III the Builder (reg 1089–1125) and is generally regarded as the most important centre of medieval Georgian culture and art. Among the many outstanding scholars there was the Neo-Platonist philosopher Ioann Petrisi (fl c. 1080–1120), who translated texts of Aristotle and Proclus into Georgian and wrote commentaries upon them. The wealth of the monastery was based on land grants and contributions from the Georgian kings and from private individuals.

Three churches now remain, together with a bell-tower and the ruins of the academy building. The main church (1106–25) is dedicated to the Dormition and has a cruciform plan (35.5×35 m) with three projecting eastern apses and a dome resting on two piers and the corners of the altar apse. Three chapels were subsequently added to the east, south and north sides in the 12th and 13th centuries. The walls are built with hewn stone and decorated on the exterior with a complex system of arches. The interior decoration includes a mosaic (...

Article

Robert Hillenbrand

Islamic dynasty that ruled in Afghanistan, Transoxiana, eastern Iran and northern India from ad 977 to 1186. The founder was Sebüktigin (d 997), a Turkish slave employed by the Samanid dynasty, who eventually defied their authority and set up his own principality with its capital at Ghazna, now in Afghanistan. His son Mahmud (reg 998–1030) transformed this principality into a highly militarized empire. At first this expansion was achieved at the expense of the Samanid, Buyid and Qarakhanid dynasties, but Mahmud’s streamlined military machine also had a more ambitious target: 17 near-annual raids were launched between 1001 and 1024 against northern India, an ongoing holy war that made Mahmud’s name a byword for religious orthodoxy. It also brought vast booty and briefly made Ghazna a famous metropolis, with a fabulous mosque prinked out in gold, alabaster and marble, a university, madrasas, libraries, aqueducts and other public works. These campaigns also tilted Ghaznavid policies away from Iran, a weakness successfully exploited by the Saljuq dynasty at the battle of Dandanqan (...

Article

Patrick Donabédian

Armenian monastery in the village of Haghpat c. 10 km north-east of Alaverdi in the district of T’umanyan, northern Armenia. It is one of the largest and best preserved architectural complexes of medieval Armenia. Its principal buildings are grouped together in a fairly compact manner, surrounded by a vast fortified precinct. Only a small portion of the annexes have survived. Several structures are located outside the complex, including a fort, a hermitage and a fountain (1258).

The monastery was probably founded c. 976, at the time the main church of the Holy Sign (Armen. Sourb Nshan) was built by Queen Khosrovanush, wife of King Ashot III of Ani (reg 952–77). The church’s construction may have been supervised by the Armenian architect Trdat (fl 989–1001) and was completed in 991 by the founder’s two sons, King Smbat (reg 977–89) and Gurgēn, the leader of the small local kingdom of Loṙē. It is a typical example of an Armenian cross-in-rectangle church, with a cylindrical drum surmounted by a conical shaped dome (rest. between the 11th and 13th centuries) and supported by pendentives and arches that spring from piers with engaged columns. The façades are articulated with pairs of tall V-shaped slits. On the east façade, the rectangular recess beneath the gable contains a relief of the two donor brothers holding a model of the church and crowned according to their respective ranks: Smbat wears a voluminous turban presented to the Bagratid kings by the caliphs, whereas Gurgēn wears a sort of helmet....

Article

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

In