A thirteenth-century brass vessel known as the Freer Canteen is the topic of Chapter 4 (Washington D.C., Freer Gallery of Art, no. F1941.10). It is notable for its luxurious silver inlay depicting scenes of Christ’s life, standing and riding figures, ornamental patterns, and Arabic inscriptions. The medium suggests that it was produced in the mid-thirteenth century in Muslim-controlled Mosul (Iraq), at a distance from Jerusalem. Its details nevertheless illuminate aspects of Christian and Muslim interactions and shared culture, including practices related to pilgrimage.
Chapter 2 concerns the early thirteenth-century Riccardiana Psalter (Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 323). This Christian prayerbook contains images of major monuments in the holy city that figured in scenes of the life of Christ, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock as the Temple of God. Liturgical references and visual allusions to the religious geography of Jerusalem suggest the reader’s connection to and absence from the city through a potential process of virtual pilgrimage.
Chapter 6 returns to the carved crusader pilaster from Chapter 1, considering its movement to Cairo and its meanings in its current setting at the entrance of the mid-fourteenth-century mosque, madrasa, mausoleum, and hospital complex built by the Mamluk Sultan Hasan. This brings the discussion full circle to the consideration of how a “Christian” pilaster and its representation of Jerusalem buildings had a range of diverse meanings in a Mamluk Muslim setting.
A pair of mid-thirteenth-century gilded glass beakers are the focus of Chapter 3 (Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, object numbers 47.17 and 47.18). They are painted in enamel with scenes of Jerusalem buildings interspersed with figures in diverse ecclesiastical garb. The glass medium suggests their production in the mid-thirteenth century in Muslim-controlled Egypt or Syria. This material, in combination with their Arabic inscriptions, has meant that the beakers are generally considered “Islamic” works. However I discuss how signs point to their place in a multicultural Christian society and liturgy—of Orthodox Chalcedonian (Melkite and Georgian), non-Chalcedonian (Armenian, Nestorian, Jacobite Syrian, and Coptic), and Roman Catholic European—in the Muslim-dominant Levant.
Chapter 5 deals with the fourteenth-century Clement Bible, which features biblical narrative scenes in the style of the Roman artist Pietro Cavallini (London, British Library, MS Add. 47672). Painted for a noble patron at the Angevin court in Naples, it seems to visualize pointed political and religious viewpoints about the situation of the popes in Avignon and the Angevins’ claim to kingship of Jerusalem. The chapter addresses how using an ancient Roman building as a stand-in for the Temple shows the relationship of King Robert I to Jerusalem.
Chapter 1 deals with a pilaster made for a Christian monument in the Levant in the late twelfth century. Now located in Cairo, it represents three Jerusalem buildings in relief: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Dome of the Rock, and the Tower of David complex. The original placement of the pilaster is unknown, but its style suggests its production in Jerusalem. I assess possible crusader settings for the pilaster and what it might have meant to its Christian patrons as a sign of their possession of the city.
The Conclusions chapter seeks to provide an overview of commonalities and differences across the recurring themes to lead to concluding statements about the representations of architecture of Jerusalem in the later Middle Ages. It addresses how the sacred city of Jerusalem developed as a concept and point of reference in the minds of its medieval visitors and inhabitants of both Christian and Islamic faiths and in diverse media. These reimaginings were intended to express varied cultural concepts of Jerusalem from the twelfth into the fourteenth century that last until today.
The Introduction states the main premise of the book, which examines how and why six medieval artworks reimagined key monuments in Jerusalem: as religious and political instruments to express power over the city; to persuade others to attain the city; to console the devoted for its loss; to provide spiritual guidance; to protect the viewer; or to convey the mythic history of this holy place. I consider the represented buildings as a part of a political, religious, and ritualistic network of diverse Christian and Muslim sects at each site. The Introduction also presents the questions that inspired this study, indicates certain recurring themes, and lays out the methods and the scholarship that informed the overall examination of these issues.