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Article

Sheila S. Blair

[Abu Ṭāhir]

Persian family of potters. The family is sometimes known, somewhat improperly, by the epithet Kashani [al-Kashani, Qashani], which refers to their home town, Kashan. It was a major centre for the production of lustre pottery in medieval Iran, and they were among the leading potters there, working in both the Monumental and the Miniature styles (see Islamic art, §V, 3(iii)). As well as the lustre tiles for many Shi‛ite shrines at Qum, Mashhad, Najaf and elsewhere, they made enamelled and lustred vessels. Three other families of Persian lustre potters are known, but none had such a long period of production. At least four generations of the Abu Tahir family are known from signatures on vessels and tiles, including dados, large mihrabs and grave covers. The family may be traced to Abu Tahir ibn Abi Husayn, who signed an enamelled bowl (Cairo, Mus. Islam. A.). A lustre bowl in the Monumental style (London, N.D. Khalili priv. col.), signed by ...

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Article

[Khwāja ‛Abd al-Ḥayy]

(fl c. 1374; d Samarkand, 1405).

Illustrator and painter. According to the Safavid chronicler Dust Muhammad, ‛Abd al-Hayy trained under Shams al-Din at Baghdad during the reign of the Jalayirid sultan Uways I (reg 1356–74) and became the leading painter under his son Ahmad (reg 1382–1410), who was also ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil. When Timur took Baghdad, ‛Abd al-Hayy was sent to Samarkand, either in 1393 or in 1401, where he spent the rest of his life. He seems to have specialized in monochrome ink drawings: Dust Muhammad recorded that ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil, Ahmad Jalayir, contributed a black-and-white drawing to a manuscript of the Abūsa‛īdnāma (‘Book of Abu Sa‛id’), and a number of examples attributed to the late 14th century and preserved in various albums (e.g. Berlin, Staatsbib. Preuss. Kultbes., Orientabt. Diez A. 70–73) bear the notation that they were copied from ‛Abd al-Hayy’s drawings by Muhammad ibn Mahmud Shah Khayyam. In his album (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair

[ Pīr Yaḥyā ibn Naṣr al-Ṣūfī al-Jamālī ]

( fl 1330–51).

Ilkhanid Calligrapher . According to the Safavid chronicler Qazi Ahmad, Yahya studied calligraphy with Mubarakshah ibn Qutb Tabrizi ( fl c. 1323), one of six pupils of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi ( see also Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)(c) ). Yahya was a mystic, hence his epithet al-Sufi, and, after working for the warlord Amir Chupan, he moved to the court of the Injuid ruler of Shiraz, Jamal al-Din Abu Ishaq (reg 1343–54), hence his epithet al-Jamali. He penned several manuscripts of the Koran, including small, single-volume copies (1338–9, Istanbul, Mus. Turk. & Islam. A., MS. K 430; 1339–40, Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1475) and a large, 30-volume copy (4 vols, 1344–6; Shiraz, Pars Mus., MS. 456). The latter manuscript was probably commissioned by Abu Ishaq’s mother, Tashi-khatun, who bequeathed it to the Shah Chiragh Mosque at Shiraz. Each folio has five lines of majestic mu ḥaqqaq script, although the illumination by ...

Article

[Aḥmad ibn al-Shaykh al-Suhrawardī al-Bakrī]

(b Baghdad; fl 1302–28).

Calligrapher. He came from a well-known family of mystics and was probably the grandson of the Sufi master Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‛Umar al-Suhrawardi (1145–1234). He was often called Shaykhzada (‘Son of the shaykh’). Ahmad was one of the six disciples of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi (see also Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)) and is said to have transcribed the Koran 33 times. He penned several small, single-volume copies (e.g. 1301–2, Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1467; 1318, Istanbul, Mus. Turk. & Islam. A., MS. 486), but the most famous is a large 30-volume manuscript (dispersed, Tehran, N. Mus.; Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib.; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib.; New York, Met.; see fig.) copied at Baghdad between 1302 and 1308 and illuminated by Muhammad ibn Aybak ibn ‛Abdallah. Although no patron is mentioned, the stunning size of the manuscript (500×350 mm) suggests that it was probably produced under royal auspices. Each folio has five lines of majestic ...

Article

J. M. Rogers

[Muh‛ammad ibn al-Zayn; Ibn al-Zayn]

(fl early 14th century).

Arab metalworker. He is known from signatures on two undated inlaid wares, the Baptistère de St Louis (Paris, Louvre, LP 16, signed in six places) and the Vasselot Bowl (Paris, Louvre, MAO 331, signed once). His style is characterized by bold compositions of large figures encrusted with silver plaques on which details are elaborately chased. His repertory develops themes characteristic of later 13th-century metalwork from Mosul (see Islamic art, §IV, 3(ii) and (iii))—mounted or enthroned rulers, bands of running or prowling animals, an elaborate Nilotic composition, courtiers bearing insignia of office, and battle scenes on scroll grounds with strikingly naturalistic fauna. His work is marked by a realism of facial expression, in which Turco-Mongolian physiognomy, dress, headgear and even coiffure are prominent, and a vigour of movement, gesture or stance that enlivens and transforms even the running animals and rows of standing courtiers, some in Frankish costume. The technique and style of these pieces allow their attribution to the Bahri Mamluk period in Egypt and Syria (...

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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

Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (1309–61), the 6th Earl of Hereford and 5th Earl of Essex and his nephew Humphrey de Bohun VII (1342–73), the 7th earl of Essex and 2nd Earl of Northampton, Humphrey VII’s wife Joan Fitzalan (d 1419) and their daughters Eleanor (1366–99), who married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (see Plantagenet, House of family §(5)), son of King Edward III, and Mary (c. 1369–94), who married Henry of Bolingbroke (1366–1413; from 1399 King Henry IV), son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Known to have been active between c. 1360 and ...

Article

Masatomo Kawai

[Gyokukei]

(1348–c. 1420).

Japanese Zen monk, scholar, calligrapher, poet and painter. He began his training as a monk at Nanzenji in Kyoto, under Shun’oku Myōha, the nephew and disciple of Musō Sōseki, one of the leading Zen prelates of the Muromachi period (1333–1568). His other teachers included the Zen recluse Shakushitsu Genkō and Gidō Shūshin, under whom he studied literature. A trusted adviser of the fourth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimochi, Gyokuen was appointed to the prestigious abbacies of Kenninji (c. 1409) and Nanzenji (1413) in Kyoto. His true wish, however, was to retire from the world, and in 1420, after a disagreement with Yoshimochi, he left Kyoto to lead a life of seclusion. An accomplished poet, Gyokuen also brushed colophons on many shigajiku (poem-painting scrolls) of the period, including Josetsu’s Catching a Catfish with a Gourd (c. 1413–15; Kyoto, Myōshinji). His own painting, which shows the influence of the mid-14th-century Chinese priest–painter Xue Chuang and of Tesshū Tokusai, strongly reflects his literary disposition. He is especially well known for his subdued monochrome ink paintings of orchids (emblems of moral virtue), 30 of which have survived (...

Article

Catherine Harding

(b Lomello, Dec 24, 1296; d Avignon, c. 1354).

Italian parish priest, manuscript illuminator and scholar. His drawings explored the connections between vision, reason and spirituality. In particular, he was drawn to the idea of training the ‘inner eye’ of reason, and he hoped that his images would provide tools for spiritual discernment. He worked as a schoolmaster and priest until 1329, when he fled Pavia for political reasons and entered the papal court in Avignon. One year later, he was employed as a scribe in the office of the papal penitentiary.

He produced two illuminated works, both of which are untitled (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, Pal. lat. 1993 and Vat. lat. 6435). The former, known simply as the Palatinus manuscript, encompasses 52 large individual parchment sheets drawn in pen and ink with images on both sides; they feature schematic compositions that combine portolan charts, zodiacs, calendars and human figures, to form complex composite images. The second work, the Vaticanus manuscript, is done in pen and ink on paper and is more of an author’s daybook, collecting thoughts, meditations and images on a variety of topics. His work was not known until the publication of the Palatinus manuscript by R. G. Salomon in ...

Article

Thérèse Metzger

(b ?Soria, Old Castile; fl c. 1300–12).

Spanish scribe and illuminator of Jewish origin. He worked at Tudela, Navarre, and at Soria, Castile. His colophons allow his hand to be securely identified in five manuscript Bibles. In one case (1306; Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Kenn. 2), he used a conventional colophon; elsewhere, he concealed clues either in the painted illuminations (1302; Paris, Bib. N., MS. hébr. 21) or, more frequently, in the micrography and ornamental forms of the masorah (apparatus criticus; see Micrography) that he copied (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 16; Lisbon, Bib. N., MS. Il.72, dated 1300; Paris, Bib. N., MS. hébr. 20, dated 1300; and a single page of the Paris Bible of 1302; see also Jewish art, §V, 1).

From the formulae and placing of Joshua’s different colophons, it is possible to deduce the extent and nature of his contribution to the copying and illumination of the manuscripts he signed. As a copyist, writing in square script, he probably worked on the ...

Article

Domenico G. Firmani

(b 1339; d Florence, Oct 5, 1399).

Italian illuminator. He was a Camaldolese brother at the monastery of S Maria degli Angeli, Florence, of which he became Prior in 1398. The importance of the scriptorium was noted by Vasari in his Vita of Lorenzo Monaco; the latter’s entry into the monastery in 1391 completed a triumvirate of painters, Don Silvestro, the eldest painter in the group, Don Simone Camaldolese, and Don Lorenzo, that constituted the most important late medieval school of painters in Florence.

Several paintings on panel, including a Crucifixion (New York, Met.) and a Noli me tangere (London, N.G.), have been attributed to Don Silvestro, but his greatest contribution, and his considerable renown, was as a manuscript illuminator. Many manuscripts by him were dismembered during the Napoleonic era, however, and many of his greatest illuminated initials are dispersed among various collections. One of the most impressive is an initial with Christ and the Virgin in Glory...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Richly illuminated manuscript of the Passover liturgy together with a series of liturgical poems to be read during the Passover week (London, BL, Add. MS. 27210), possibly made in Barcelona, c. 1320. This text was to be recited during the seder ceremony at the eve of the Passover holiday. Like most medieval Haggadot (see Haggadah), the Golden Haggadah has no colophon, and its scribe and patrons are unknown. It contains both marginal decorations and a series of full-page miniatures preceding the text and displaying a fully fledged cycle of biblical illustrations following the books of Genesis and Exodus from the Creation of Man to the Crossing of the Red Sea. Stylistically both types of decoration are indebted to early 14th-century Catalan Gothic art.

Similarly, the imagery of the biblical picture cycle also draws on Christian Old Testament iconography and reflects a familiarity with Christian art. The artists and patrons of the Golden Haggadah adopted Christian pictorial sources in a complex process of adaptation and modification, translating the Christian models into a Jewish visual language meaningful in its messages to the Jewish readership. Avoiding themes and iconographic features of a particular Christological concern, the imagery also reflects a close affinity with the traditions of late antique Bible interpretation (Midrash). This points to a specific circle of scholars active in Iberia during the 13th and early 14th centuries as being responsible for the imagery of the cycle. The use of traditional midrashic Bible exegesis is typical for Sephardic Rabbis of anti-rationalist standing, who opposed earlier philosophical trends and followed, rather, scholarly trends common among the Tosafists of northern France. It has also been observed that some images adopt a more specific anti-Christian stance and address polemical issues....

Article

(fl c.?Tudela, Navarre, and/or ?Soria, Old Castile, 1300–12).

Spanish illuminator of Jewish origin. His signature, a full-page colophon in zoomorphic and anthropomorphic characters, is found in only one manuscript, the Cervera Bible (1299–1300; Lisbon, Bib. N., MS. Il.72; see also Jewish art §V 1.). However, another Bible (1312; Zurich, Floersheim Col., previously MS. Sassoon 82) could also be his work. Since the text of the Cervera Bible was copied in Cervera, Lleida, it has been generally supposed that Joseph trained in an illuminator’s workshop in that city. However, the connection with Cervera might be accidental (Metzger, 1970), while there are demonstrable links with Tudela and Soria, where Joshua ben Abraham ibn Gaon and another scribe copied the masorah (apparatus criticus) after May 1300. The decorative painting and penwork were executed in their entirety only after the masorah had been copied (Metzger, ‘Josué ben Abraham ibn Gaon … ’, 1990). The confirmed associations between Joseph and Joshua, whose brother ...

Article

Haydar  

Sheila S. Blair

[Sayyid Ḥaydar ibn ?Aṣīl al-Din]

(d 1325–6).

Calligrapher. He was one of the six disciples of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi and earned the nickname ‘writer in large characters’ (Pers. kand-navīs), presumably because of his masterful work designing architectural inscriptions in carved stucco. Two superb examples of his work in this medium survive in Iran: a band (1307–8) across the intrados of the north iwan of the mosque in the shrine complex at Natanz, and the mihrab (1310) in the winter prayer hall of the Friday Mosque at Isfahan. He was a renowned teacher whose pupils included such famous calligraphers as ‛Abdallah Sayrafi, and the viziers Taj al-Din ‛Ali Shah and Ghiyath al-Din, the son of Rashid al-Din. His son Muhammad was a calligrapher, too, and signed several calligraphic specimens (e.g. Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2160, fol. 29v and H. 2310, fol. 97v).

Qāżī Aḥmad ibn Mīr Munshī: Gulistān-i hunar [Rose-garden of art] (...

Article

Yan Hui  

Chu-Tsing Li

[ Yen Hui ; zi Qiuyue ]

(b Jiangshan, Zhejiang Province; fl late 13th century–early 14th).

Chinese painter . He was a painter of Buddhist and Daoist figures, ghosts and landscapes, who was well respected as a painter by the literati by the end of the Song period (960–1279). Of some 35 paintings attributed to him, only a few can be considered to be genuine; among these, the best known are those mounted as a pair of hanging scrolls (ink and colour on silk; Kyoto, Chion’in) depicting two Daoist immortals, Li Tieguai and Liu Haichan, both of which are executed in the extremely realistic style for which Yan is known. There is special attention to physiognomy—to the point of grotesqueness—to volume and to modelling of the body, and to the strong contrast between light and dark areas. Both works also include a misty landscape that serves as a background to the figures, a feature derived from landscape painting of the Southern Song period (1127–1279...

Article

Junayd  

(fl c. Baghdad,1396).

Illustrator. In the preface recounting the history of past and present painters in an album compiled for the Safavid prince Bahram Mirza in 1544 (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2154), the chronicler Dust Muhammad stated that Junayd of Baghdad was a pupil of Shams al-Din, who worked under the Jalayirid sultan Uways I (reg 1356–74). The only signed work of Junayd known to survive is Humay and Humayun on the Day after their Wedding, one of nine paintings in a manuscript (London, BL, Add. MS. 18113, fol. 45v) of the Dīvān (collected poetry) of Khwaju Kirmani copied at Baghdad in 1396. All the paintings show the same meticulous finish, lyricism and slender puppet-like figures integrated into complex settings and can be attributed to the hand of Junayd (see Islamic art, §III, 4(v)(c) and fig.). Another painting has been detached from the manuscript and included in ...

Article

Jutland  

Harriet Sonne de Torrens

Mainland peninsula of modern-day Denmark and one of the three provinces (Jutland, Zealand and Skåne, southern Sweden) that constituted medieval Denmark. The conversion of the Danes to Christianity initiated a reorganization of the economic, social and legal structures of Denmark that would change the shape of Jutland dramatically between the 11th and 14th centuries. Under Knut the Great, King of Denmark and England (reg 1019–35), Jutland acquired a stable diocesan system (1060) that enabled a systematic collection of tithes and the growth of religious institutions between 1050 and 1250. During this period, agricultural practices changed as manor houses and landed estates were established, producing wealth for the ruling families. Under Valdemar I (reg 1157–82) and Knut VI (reg 1182–1202), Jutland witnessed a great building activity; on Jutland more than 700 stone churches were constructed, some replacing earlier wooden churches, each needing liturgical furnishings. Workshops, such as that of the renowned sculptor Horder and many others, were actively engaged in carving stone baptismal fonts (e.g. Malt, Skodborg, Ut, Stenild), capitals, reliefs (Vestervig, Aalborg) and tympana (Gjøl, Ørsted, Stjaer, Skibet), wooden cult figures, Jutland’s golden altars (Lisbjerg, Sahl, Stadil, Tamdrup) and wall paintings. Evidence of the earliest wall paintings in Jutland, ...

Article

Joseph D. Parker

[Shūhō Myōchō]

(b Harima [now in Hyōgo Prefect.], 1282; d Kyoto, 1337).

Japanese Zen abbot and calligrapher. It is to Daitō Kokushi (‘national teacher Daitō’) that the abbots of virtually all modern Japanese Rinzai Zen temples trace their religious heritage, and he was one of Japan’s foremost monk–calligraphers. Daitō took monastic orders as a youth and at the age of about 21 became a disciple of Kōhō Kennichi (1241–1316), who had studied in Japan under the Chinese master Wuxue Zuyuan (1226–86), and who was a son of Emperor GoSaga (reg 1242–6). By 1305 Daitō was studying Zen under Daio Kokushi [Nanpo Jōmyō] (1235–1308), a monk who had studied for eight years in China and under whom Daitō achieved enlightenment. Daitō’s early, graceful, Japanese-style calligraphy may have been the result of his training under Kōhō Kennichi. The early style is fluid, yet betrays a penetrating strength in the use of the brush tip. A fine example is his two ...