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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jaroslav Folda and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair

[Crusader States]

One of four Crusader States that were established on mainland Syria-Palestine during and after the First Crusade (see Crusades), which was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II (reg 1088–99) to protect the Holy Land against the Muslims. Besides the Latin Kingdom itself, three main states at least nominally recognized the suzerainty of the king who resided in Jerusalem: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch and the County of Tripoli, whose lords lived in the title city. The Crusader States came to an end in 1291.

Located mainly in south-east Anatolia, it was both the first Crusader State to be established in 1098 and the first to be eliminated, between 1144 and 1151. The County was considerably smaller than the Latin Kingdom, measuring only slightly over 240 km across its longest dimension. It had a large population of Armenians, who had invited in and supported the Franks, and Syrian Jacobites, who favoured the Muslims. Baldwin I of Boulogne (...

Article

Susan Pinto Madigan

In 

Article

Barbara Zeitler and Susan Pinto Madigan

[Komnenian dynasty; Comnenian dynasty]

Line of Byzantine emperors and art patrons (1057–1185). The Komneni were prolific builders and commissioned numerous works in a variety of media. Alexios I Komnenos (reg 1081–1118) and Manuel I (reg 1143–80) both made additions to the Great Palace (see Istanbul §III 12.) and to the Blachernai palace at Constantinople. Literary sources speak of their decoration as elaborate and influenced by Islamic art; one building in the Great Palace was entirely designed in Seljuk style. Wall paintings and mosaics celebrating imperial exploits and conquests became particularly popular in Manuel’s reign, and are known to have adorned the walls of his palaces. Manuel’s patronage also extended to the Holy Land, where he paid for parts of the decoration of the Holy Sepulchre and, together with King Amalric of Jerusalem, financed the mosaic decoration of the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (1169).

Among the most important examples of Komnenian ecclesiastical architecture are the Monastery of Christ Pantokrator, founded by John II (...

Article

Hafez K. Chehab

[Crac de Montréal; Montréal; Mons Regalus; Shaubak; Shawbak]

Castle in Jordan, south of Amman. Built in 1115 by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem (reg 1100–18) to menace the pilgrimage road to Mecca, the castle of Monreal surrendered to the Ayyubid ruler Salah al-Din (Saladin) in 1189. It was given to his brother al-Malik al-Adil (reg 1196–1218), whose son al-Mu‛azzam (reg 1218–27) enlarged and restored the fortress in 1226. Under the Mamluks (reg 1250–1517) it was known as Shawbak and became the centre of a district of the province of Kerak. Remains include several round towers and a deep well with a stairway said to lead to a spring, as well as two fragmentary churches with pointed vaults. Most of the fortress was rebuilt by the Ayyubids and Mamluks, but by 1340 the site was described as abandoned.

E. Brünnow and A. von Domaszewski: Die Provincia Arabia, 1 (Strasbourg, 1904), pp. 113–19P. Deschamps: ‘Les Deux Cracs des croisés’, ...

Article

Alan Borg

[Arab. Ḥisṇ al-Akrād]

Crusader castle in Syria. It is generally considered to be the finest of all crusader castles, but this reputation is to some extent an accident of scholarship, for it remains the only such castle to have been thoroughly investigated and restored. This work was done by a French team, led by Paul Deschamps. Krak represents the ultimate development of crusader fortification, however, and the earlier phases are better studied at the equally impressive sites of Saone (Sahyun) and Margat (al-Marqab) in Syria and Kerak (al-Karak) in Jordan. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

The stone castle of Krak occupies a dominant hilltop, near two Roman roads and overlooking a fertile valley (see fig.). The site was apparently occupied by a fortress as early as the 13th century bc. It was mentioned in Arab texts in ad 1031, when a settlement of Kurds was established, with a small castle. These fell to a crusading force in ...

Article

Patrick Donabédian

Armenian monastery in a suburb of Alaverdi in the district of T’umanyan, northern Armenia. It was founded by Queen Khosrovanush, the wife of King Ashot III of Ani (reg 952–77), at the same time as she founded the Haghpat Monastery. The main periods of construction were under the Bagratid and Kiwrikid dynasties during the 10th and 11th centuries, and the Zak’arid princes from the end of the 12th century to the early 13th; restoration work was undertaken in the 17th century and in the 1980s. The principal buildings are arranged either side by side or at a short distance from one another, thus creating a vast, compact and symmetrical ensemble that almost forms a quadrilateral.

The earliest building is the church of the Holy Mother of God (second quarter of the 10th century), which is a domed cross-in-rectangle. A second church (966–72) dedicated to the Saviour and lying several metres to the south marks the foundation of the monastery proper. Although much larger than the church of the Holy Mother of God, it possesses the same cross-in-rectangle plan with a dome resting on engaged columns. Its proportions have been altered somewhat by a reduction in the height of the drum following restoration work either at the end of the 12th century or during the 17th....

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....