AHI 1E Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Al-Andalus, Al-Mutawakkil, Minaret

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5 Oct 2016
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10/05/2016 Lecture 5 Primarily the Abbasids!!!
Umayyad caliphs of Al- Andalus ruled from 756-1031
Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad ruled from 749-1258
Fatimid Caliphs of Cairo ruled from 969-1171
Ruler’s noble qualities, self- perception are translated through the architecture
Abbasids: They wanted to make a language that was completely different from the one
used by Umayyads.
Their capital, unlike Umayyads, set their capital as Baghdad because it was not glorious
and it did not have any previous links
Samarra: city close to Baghdad, 836-883, royal city, there is a part that still is living
today. We are focusing on the inhabited ruins of the city at the time of the Abassids
The site is enormous and there are a lot of buildings
Great Mosque of Royal City (al- Mutawakkil). He is also the caliph
This is the largest mosque of the city. It was greater than the population. So one big
thing is that the size is huge
There are few entrances, open courtyard,
At one end of the site, an axis of the qibla wall, is a tower. It is very big.
Purpose: to be a minaret, comes from word manana which means tower or lighthouse.
It serves as a marker and it enables a person to call out 5 times a day to let others know
it’s time to pray.
The spiralness of the tower was a dynastic and regional point because no other group
used this form as a minaret comes from
It reflects a deep tradition of architecture going back many centuries
Material used in the architecture: baked brick
The center of Samarra got a lot of visitors who were fascinated with the spiral. They
would label it as a wonder of world, great example of engineering
Impact of the architecture extended far beyond the border of the city itself
Archaeological Finds from Samarra
Two panels of a door, found walls of room decorated in a building,
Stucco: material: molded decorations on it.
Bevel: curved designs.
You don’t see quartered marble or golden glass mosaics on their buildings and art,
drastically different from Umayyad
There were a lot of Wall paintings in the palaces. They did not occur in mosques or
religious paintings. They paint humans and animals.
They consistently choose not to put paintings of humans and animals in religious places.
Style of the paintings from Greek- roman times
Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Cairo. Very similar to Samarra, He is the governor of Egypt, very
powerful. Egypt was very crucial. It had several ports and was very close to Africa
He was trying to make his own dynasty. Outer enclosure which means it was separate
from the rest of the city by making an architectural space.
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The mosque has a small version of the spiral minaret
Roof was made from wood. Fabric of the building was brick: Abbasid mark.
Little bands of ornament around the arches. Very little ornamentation though, very
beige, there are inscriptions
Each arch has a different set of ornaments
Same materials are used as Samarra such as stucco style
Elements of a mosque: covered area, open area
Books under the Abbasids
Arabic translation of the Materia Medica by Dioscorides(Latin): book of medicine 1229
Dioscorides and his two students are portrayed in clothing from the Abbasid period.
Science was another area which they were interested in
Scientific texts were also illustrated
Book of fixed stars 1009
Everyone is dressed as their period in the books
Maqamat: author: Al- Hariri: Painter: Al-Wasiti Baghdad: 1237. Know all of these details.
It is a very famous book
It was a bestseller because sessions in which the narrator(Al-Hanif) tells the story of his
friend who is a rascal who is actually the main character. He is super smart and funny.
He can fool people through the use of the Arabic language. Its entertainment. It has a
lot of puns
The first image has someone sitting on the throne and the people are below him. We
have no idea who this guy is. He is not a character in the text
The two characters: young is good, old is bad. There are 50 sessions where each chapter
is their own adventure.
Illustration: The two friends are travelling in the Persian sea: vivid, colors are lifelike,
scenes from everyday life
The history of the Arab people(book); cover, shows people going on the pilgrimage to
Mecca: vivid sense of everyday life again
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