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Article

Algarve  

Kirk Ambrose

Southern-most region of mainland Portugal. Its name is derived from ‘the West’ in Arabic. This region has relatively few medieval buildings: devastating earthquakes in 1722 and 1755 contributed to these losses, though many buildings were deliberately destroyed during the Middle Ages. For example, in the 12th century the Almoravids likely razed a pilgrimage church, described in Arabic sources, at the tip of the cape of S Vicente. Mosques at Faro, Silves and Tavira, among others, appear to have been levelled to make room for church construction after the Reconquest of the region, completed in 1249. Further excavations could shed much light on this history.

Highlights in the Algarve include remains at Milreu of a villa with elaborate mosaics that rank among the most substantial Roman sites in the region. The site further preserves foundations of a basilica, likely constructed in the 5th century, and traces of what may be a baptistery, perhaps added during the period of Byzantine occupation in the 6th and 7th centuries. The period of Islamic rule, from the 8th century through to the 13th, witnessed the construction of many fortifications, including examples at Aljezur, Loulé and Salir, which were mostly levelled by earthquakes. Silves, a city with origins in the Bronze Age, preserves a substantial concentration of relatively well-preserved Islamic monuments. These include a bridge, carved inscriptions, a castle, cistern and fortified walls, along which numerous ceramics have been excavated. Most extant medieval churches in Algarve date to the period after the Reconquest. These tend to be modest in design and small in scale, such as the 13th-century Vera Cruz de Marmelar, built over Visigothic or Mozarabic foundations. The relatively large cathedrals at Silves and at Faro preserve substantial portions dating to the 13th century, as well as fabric from subsequent medieval campaigns. Renaissance and Baroque churches and ecclesiastical furnishings can be found throughout Algarve....

Article

Thomas E. Russo

(b Tralles; fl early 6th century ad). Greek architect, scientist and mathematician. Together with Isidoros of Miletus he was engaged by Justinian I (reg ad 527–565) to design Hagia Sophia (see Istanbul, §III, 1, (ii), (a)). Prokopios (Buildings, I.i.24) called him ‘the most learned man in the skilled craft which is known as the art of building’ and described the dome of Hagia Sophia as ‘suspended from heaven’ (...

Article

Dorothy Verkerk

Illuminated manuscript of the first five books of the Old Testament (now incomplete), dating from the late 6th or early 7th century (Paris, Bib.N., MS. nouv. acq. lat. 2334) and named after the English collector Bertram Ashburnham. Also known as the Pentateuch of Tours, the Ashburnham Pentateuch is one of the oldest surviving pre-Carolingian Vulgate manuscripts of the Old Testament. In its present condition, it lacks the last verses of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy; while 18 pages of illustration and 1 frontispiece survive from the original 65 pages with illustrations. The illustrated pages comprise several scenes generally arranged in two or three bands, although some pages have one or two large scenes, others combine illustration and text. Painted tituli that follow the Vulgate accompany the miniatures; however, beneath the painted titutli are preliminary inscriptions penned in ink that follow the Vetus latina text.

Based upon stylistic, iconographical and codicological evidence, the Pentateuch appears to have been made in a late 6th- to early 7th-century Italian scriptorium. Twelve pages were added in the 8th century by scribes from Fleury; an additional restored page (fol. 33) was added in the 7th century by a Touronian scribe. The illustrations often deviate from the exact retelling of the biblical text. The column of smoke and fire, for example, in the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea is depicted as a large candle held in two hands, a reference to Easter Vigil liturgical ceremonies (fol. 68...

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

Adam S. Cohen

revised by Shirin Fozi

Illuminated manuscript (292 × 225 mm; London, BL, Add. MS. 49598) containing liturgical prayers recited by the bishop, produced in Winchester between ad 971 and 984 for Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, a leader of Anglo-Saxon monastic reform. It is a sumptuous work, with 28 full-page miniatures (another 15 have been lost) and 2 historiated initials lavishly executed in gold and vibrant colours (see Initial, manuscript). The decoration includes the finest examples of Winchester school borders, consisting of acanthus designs that fill the frame and shoot forth from the corner medallions. An inscription describes the manufacture of the book by the scribe Godeman and refers specifically to the ‘many frames well adorned’. The figural style, like the decorative and iconographic elements, is derived primarily from Carolingian models and is consistent with contemporaneous Anglo-Saxon art; what distinguishes the manuscript is its extremely luxurious illuminations and the complexity of its iconographic programme....

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

Delia Kottmann

Italian village in Lazio, north of Rome, known for its church. The church of SS Anastasius and Nonnosus is all that remains of the 6th-century Benedictine monastery, which submitted to Cluny in ad 940. Apart from some re-used fragments, the architecture is Romanesque, with a Cosmati pavement in opus sectile as well as an ambo and ciborium. The church is famous for its wall paintings from the first quarter of the 12th century. The apse and its adjacent walls, showing the 24 elders, are influenced by Romano–Christian motifs. Christ in the middle of the conch is flanked by Peter and Paul in a Traditio legis depiction, with a procession of lambs below. Underneath, Maria Regina has to be reconstructed in the middle, between two conserved angels followed by female saints in a Byzantine manner. No Romano–Christian iconography seems to have influenced the vast apocalyptic cycle painted on the side walls of the transept. A band of prophets runs beneath the roof on all the walls of the transept. An inscription in the apse indicates three Roman painters....

Article

Yi Sŏng-mi

[cha Haech’ŏn; ho Koun]

(b Kyŏngju, North Kyŏngsang Province, 857; d 915).

Korean calligrapher. He is considered to be one of the two most prominent calligraphers of the Unified Silla period (668–918), the other being Kim Saeng. Ch’oe was also a famous statesman, Confucian scholar and man of letters. In 868, at the age of 12, he travelled to China, and in 874 he passed the Chinese civil service examination for foreign scholars. In 885 Ch’oe returned to Korea and served in various official capacities.

Several examples of his calligraphy survive in the form of stelae, the most famous of which is the Chin’gam sŏnsa taegong t’appi (887), a stele dedicated to the Sŏn Buddhist master Chin’gam and now in the Ssanggye-sa Temple, Hadong, South Kyŏngsang Province. The title in seal script and the main text in regular script show his calligraphy at its best. In character composition Ch’oe seems to have modelled his calligraphy loosely on the style of the Chinese master Ouyang Tong (...

Article

Bent L. Pedersen

[ Chao Ch’ang ; zi Changzhi]

(b Guanghan, Sichuan Province, c. ad 960; d after 1016).

Chinese painter . He was a painter of birds, flowers and insects, following the style of Teng Changyou ( fl ad 907–20). Although paintings attributed to him are not genuine, they provide an indication of his style. These works can be divided into two groups: one of relatively small paintings of flowers and another of larger pictures, with birds, insects, trees, rocks and flowers.

Zhao is known to have studied his subjects thoroughly before painting them. The flowers he depicted tended to be the cultivated varieties he saw in the gardens of contemporary Sichuan Province or in the capital, Bianliang (now Kaifeng, in Henan). Although the flowers possess many realistic features, they are sometimes painted in a formal way, producing a decorative effect. Zhao was famous for rendering flowers in such a way that the thickness of the ink and colour pigment could be clearly seen. This is evident in the fan painting ...

Article

Charter  

James D’Emilio

Legal document typically written in documentary script on a single parchment sheet and authenticated by subscriptions, notarial signs or seals. In archives, originals were sometimes stitched into booklets or rolls. Notarial charters were registered, while deeds of ecclesiastical and civil institutions were copied in cartularies organized by place, date or issuer. Charters include contracts, property transactions, marriage agreements, dispute settlements, official privileges and decrees.

Besides their value as historical documents, collections of early medieval charters, such as those at St Gall, Lucca or Catalonia, furnish insights into law, literacy and linguistic change. In the mid- to late Middle Ages, the texts, scripts and physical features of papal bulls, charters from monastic or episcopal scriptoria, and the burgeoning output of royal chanceries and civil notaries chart pathways of education and cultural exchange geographically and through social strata. In relation to medieval art, charters have fourfold importance. As historical sources, some document artists, patrons or artworks. Signed and dated originals of known provenance help to date manuscripts and reveal practices of scribes and scriptoria responsible for book production and illumination. In contrast with the dearth of medieval artists’ signatures, signed charters represent a sizeable corpus of securely attributed work with ample contextual information that facilitates study of individual style and artistic careers. Lastly, some are of artistic interest for their execution in a book hand or embellishment with decoration comparable to that in manuscripts: decorated lettering; calligraphic flourishes; the chrismon, cross and other religious symbols; validation signs, monograms and seals; and, rarely, illuminations....

Article

Joan Stanley-Baker

[Li Ch’eng; zi Xianxi; hao Yingqiu]

(b ad 919; d 967).

Chinese painter. His ancestors, members of the imperial clan, were natives of Chang’an (now Xi’an, Shaanxi Province), the Tang-dynasty (ad 618–907) capital. During disturbances at the end of the 9th century the clan split into two branches. Li’s grandfather, who settled in Qingzhou (now Shandong), and his father both held official posts. From 956 to 958 Li was in government service in Bianliang (now Kaifeng), at the invitation of his friend Wang Pu, then Commissioner of Military Affairs for Emperor Shizong (reg 944–54). Li came to know many important scholar–officials, but, despondent after the death of Wang, took to poetry, music, painting and drink. His paintings became sought after, but he remained at first socially aloof. Later he became a habitual wanderer, until, some time after 964, he accepted an invitation to live in Huaiyang (Henan Province), where he died of overindulgence in wine.

Li Cheng exemplifies the Chinese phenomenon of a profoundly admired artist whose true style was, within a century of his death, obscured by unreliable attributions, the relationships of which to the original can no longer be determined. His fame was established early in the Northern Song period (...

Article

Joan Stanley-Baker

[ Hsü Tao-ning ]

(b Chang’an [modern Xi’an], Shaanxi Province, c. ad 970; d c. 1052).

Chinese painter . Originally a vendor of medicinal herbs, he initially painted landscapes to attract potential customers. After attaining fame, he ‘frequented the manorial homes of princelings and officials’, for whom he painted murals, hanging scrolls and handscrolls. He was a familiar guest of the rich and powerful in both Chang’an and the capital, Bianliang (modern Kaifeng), in Henan Province. Famous clients included Huang Tingjian’s father, Huang Shu (1018–58). Huang Tingjian later eulogized one of Xu’s paintings:

I met Drunken Xu in Chang’an …

Quite tipsy, he would wield a worn brush dripping with ink,

With the force of an avalanche, his hand never stopping.

In a few feet, mountains and rivers would stretch over ten thousand miles,

And fill the hall with a bleak and chilly air.

A rustic monk returns to his temple, followed by the boy.

A fisherman is hailed by the traveller waiting to ford the stream....

Article

Joan Stanley-Baker

[ Wu Daoxuan, Wu Tao-hsüan ; Wu Tao-tzu ]

(b Yangzhe [modern Yu xian, Henan Province]; fl c. ad 710–60).

Chinese painter . Later known as Wu Daoxuan, he is a legendary figure said to have depicted human beings, landscapes, architecture, Buddhist deities, demons, birds and animals. Reportedly, he derived his inspiration from wine and had a mercurial, responsive brushstyle, producing breathtaking vistas of natural scenery and figures across vast areas of temple wall.

Hearing of his extraordinary talents, the Emperor Xuanzong (Minghuang; reg 712–56) summoned Wu to his palace at Chang’an (modern Xi’an). Between 742 and 755 the emperor dispatched Wu to the Jialing River in Sichuan Province to paint the scenery. On his return, Wu stated, ‘I have made no draft, but have committed all to memory.’ He proceeded to paint the walls of the hall known as the Datong dian with 300 or more li (c. 150 km) of Jialing River scenery in a single day. Five dragons in the Inner Hall, painted by Wu on another occasion, supposedly had scales so lifelike that each time it was about to rain, they emitted misty vapours (the dragon symbolized imperial power over rain and irrigation). Contemporary accounts report that Wu covered 300–400 wall surfaces in Buddhist and Daoist temples in the two Tang-dynasty (...

Article

Einhard  

D. A. Bullough

[Eginhard; Einhart]

(b c. ad 770; d 837).

German patron, writer, and possibly metalworker. He married Emma, sister of Bernharius, Bishop of Worms, and they possibly had a son, Hussin. He received his early education at Fulda Abbey, where he wrote documents between 788 and 791, although he was not ordained or professed as a monk. He then moved to the court at Aachen, which had recently been established, to continue his studies under Alcuin (c. 735–804) and others. His most notable product was the Life of his patron Charlemagne, written in the late 820s. It was after Charlemagne had died that his son Louis the Pious elevated Einhard to the post of private secretary. It was in this post and under Louis’s patronage that he wrote the Vita Karoli Magni, which is still one of the principal sources for much of our knowledge of Charlemagne. Contemporaries recorded his small stature and lively conduct, and his nickname Be(se)leel, after Bezaleel, the worker in precious metals in Exodus 31:2–5....

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

Peter C. Sturman

[ Chou Fang ]

(b Chang’an (now Xi’an), Shaanxi Province; fl c. ad 765–800).

Chinese painter . He was active at the Tang dynasty (618–907) court in the capital, Chang’an, after the An Lushan Rebellion (756). He painted both religious and secular figures but is particularly associated with the depiction of palace ladies ( see also China, People’s Republic of §V 3., (vii) ), a genre in which he is considered peerless. He was reportedly of noble birth. His father served as a Master of Ceremonies in a princely household and then as Investigating Censor. Between 766 and 779 under Emperor Daizong (reg 762–79), Zhou Fang served as an administrator of Yuezhou (modern Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province); not long after, he held the position of administrative aide in Xuanzhou (modern Xuancheng, Anhui Province). From Xuanzhou, Zhou Fang seems to have returned to the capital.

In his time, Zhou Fang was celebrated as a painter of religious subjects, particularly the ‘water-and-moon Guanyin’, a version of the ...

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

Han Gan  

Joan Stanley-Baker

[Han Kan]

(b Chang’an [now Xi’an, Shaanxi Province]; fl c. ad 742–83).

Chinese painter. He was celebrated for his paintings of figures, goblins and spirits and, especially, for his depictions of saddled horses. He came from a poor family but as a young man was patronized by the great poet Wang Wei, who sponsored his painting studies under Cao Ba (fl713–42), the pre-eminent horse painter of the day. Han Gan’s achievement and influence eventually outstripped those of Cao.

In the Lidai minghua ji (‘Record of famous painters of all periods’; 847), Zhang Yanyuan wrote that Emperor Xuanzong (reg ad 712–56) ‘loved large horses and ordered Han to paint the most noble of his more than 400,000 steeds’. Han thus depicted imperial favourites such as Feihuang, Fouyun, Wuhua, Yuhuacong and Zhaoyebai, showing their extraordinary pelts, rounded bones and joints and thick hooves. Often they were seen in precarious situations, turning abruptly or toiling through deep swamps. Han also portrayed favoured steeds stabled among the imperial horses. Perhaps in reaction to the sinewy style established by such artists as Yan Liben and Zhan Ziqian, Han evidently liked to paint plump horses, a preference for which his contemporary, the poet Du Fu, had chided him, writing of the ‘large, fat horses … pure flesh without bone, … allowing their spirit to dissipate’. The rebellion of An Lushan in 756 almost destroyed the large horses as a species, and Han was thus rendered idle. The story is told, however, that in response to a request, he painted a horse for a dead person and burnt the work in offering, to be rewarded later by a ghost riding forward to thank him....