Articulating the Ḥijāba: Cultural Patronage and Political Legitimacy in al-Andalus

The ʿĀmirid Regency c. 970-1010 AD


In Articulating the Ḥijāba, Mariam Rosser-Owen analyses for the first time the artistic and cultural patronage of the ‘Amirid regents of the last Cordoban Umayyad caliph, Hisham II, a period rarely covered in the historiography of al-Andalus. Al-Mansur, the founder of this dynasty, is usually considered a usurper of caliphal authority, who pursued military victory at the expense of the transcendental achievements of the first two caliphs. But he also commissioned a vast extension to the Great Mosque of Cordoba, founded a palatine city, conducted skilled diplomatic relations, patronised a circle of court poets, and owned some of the most spectacular objects to survive from al-Andalus, in ivory and marble. This study presents the evidence for a reconsideration of this period.
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Mariam Rosser-Owen, D.Phil. (2004), University of Oxford, is Curator Middle East at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, specialising in the arts of Islamic Iberia and North Africa, with a particular focus on ivory and ceramics.
List of Figures


1 Al-Dawla al-ʿĀmiriyya: Constructing the ʿĀmirid State
 1 Succession Crisis
 2 Regency
 3 The Maghrib
 4 Conspicuous Piety
 5 The Rise to Power
 6 Al-Manṣūr
 7 The Culmination of Power
 8 Rupture
 9 Restoration
 10 Inheritance

2 Appropriating Diplomacy: The ʿĀmirid Court
 1 The ‘Ceremonial Idiom’
 2 Tools of Diplomacy
 3 ʿĀmirid Diplomatic Relations
 4 Diplomatic Exchange with the Maghrib
 5 Objects of Exchange

3 ‘The Creation of Loyalty’: Public and Private Staging of the ʿĀmirid Court
 1 Elegance and Eloquence: the Literary Court
 2 Private Poetry
 3 A Culture of Learning

4 Architecture as Titulature: al-Madīnat al-Zāhira
 1 Looking for al-Zāhira
 2 Reconstructing the Palace
 3 Reconstructing the City
 4 Why Did al-Manṣūr Build al-Madīnat al-Zāhira?
 5 What Did al-Madīnat al-Zāhira Look Like?

5 The Politics of Piety: Al-Manṣūr’s Extension to the Great Mosque of Cordoba
 1 The Pre-ʿĀmirid Mosque
 2 The ʿĀmirid Mosque
 3 Qurʾānic Inscriptions at the Great Mosque of Cordoba

6 The Dār al-Ṣināʿa: ʿĀmirid Patronage of the Luxury Arts
 1 The Origins of the Dār al-Ṣināʿa
 2 Iṣtināʿ: The Strategic Use of Objects

7 Building a Corpus of ʿĀmirid Art
 1 Objects Associated with al-Manṣūr
 2 Objects Associated with ʿAbd al-Malik al-Muẓaffar (r. 1002–8)
 3 Objects Associated with ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ‘Sanchuelo’
 4 ʿĀmirid Objects without Designated Patrons
 5 The Language of ʿĀmirid Art

8 Poems in Stone: Imagery, Text and Meaning in ʿĀmirid Art
 1 Poetic and Visual Imagery
 2 Text and Image in ʿĀmirid Art


Appendix 1: Genealogy of the Banū Abī ʿĀmir, 711–1085

Appendix 2: Timeline of al-Manṣūr’s Main Campaigns and Offices Held

Appendix 3a: Qurʾānic Inscriptions inside the Cordoba Mosque

Appendix 3b: Qurʾānic Inscriptions on the Eastern Façade of the Cordoba Mosque

Appendix 4: Inscriptions on Objects Made for the ʿĀmirids


All interested in the history, literature, art, architecture and archaeology of medieval Islamic Iberia, relations with the Maghrib, the organisation of artistic workshops, and the patronage and meaning of artworks
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