Traditionally, art historians have viewed the art of medieval Morocco through the lens of Islamic Iberia, which is regarded as the culturally superior center and model for the region. However, more recent studies are beginning to show that, rather than Moroccan patrons and artisans passively absorbing an Andalusi model, the rulers of the Almoravid and Almohad regimes were adopting aspects of this model in very deliberate ways. These studies suggest that Andalusi works of art were part of a conscious appropriation of styles as well as material in a very physical sense, which were imbued by the Moroccan dynasties with a significance relating to the legitimacy of their rule. This paper focuses on the way in which Andalusi architectural and other, mainly marble, material was deployed in Moroccan architecture in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Rather than reusing locally available material, this monumental (and extremely heavy) material was gathered in al-Andalus, at the ruined monuments of the Andalusi Umayyad caliphs, and transported over great distances to the imperial capitals at Fez and Marrakesh. Here this Umayyad spolia was deployed in key locations in the mosques and palaces constructed as the architectural manifestations of the Almoravids’ and Almohads’ new political power. Most frequently, this spolia consisted of marble capitals in the distinctive, dynastic style developed by the Andalusi caliphs for their palace at Madīnat al-Zaḥrāʾ. But together with other Andalusi imports, such as the magnificent minbars made in Córdoba for the Qarawiyyīn mosque and Almoravid mosque at Marrakesh, these physical symbols of al-Andalus in Morocco conveyed a clear message that the Almoravids and, later, the Almohads had taken up the mantle of rule in the Islamic West.
Revisiting al-Andalus brings together a range of recent scholarship on the material culture of Islamic Iberia, highlighting especially the new directions that have developed in the Anglo-American branch of this field since the 1992 catalogue of the influential exhibition, Al-Andalus: the Art of Islamic Spain. Together with examples of recent Spanish scholarship on medieval architecture and urbanism, the volume’s contributors (historians of art and architecture, archaeologists, and architects) explore topics such as the relationship between Andalusi literature and art; architecture, urbanism, and court culture; domestic architecture; archaeology as a tool for analyzing economic and architectural history; cultural transfer between the Iberian Peninsula and the New World; 19th-century “rediscovery” of al-Andalus; and modern architectural and historiographical attempts to construct an Andalusi cultural identity.
Contributors include: Antonio Almagro, Glaire D. Anderson, Rebecca Bridgman, María Judith Feliciano, Kathryn Ferry, Pedro Jiménez, Julio Navarro, Camila Mileto, Antonio Orihuela, Jennifer Roberson, Cynthia Robinson, Mariam Rosser-Owen, Antonio Vallejo Triano, and Fernando Vegas.
This series is devoted to the most recent scholarship the fields of art, architecture and archaeology in all regions of the Islamic world from the seventh century to the present. We encourage interdisciplinary perspectives to the study of Islamic visual and material culture and the application of innovative approaches drawn from other areas of art history, archaeology, anthropology, and critical theory. Contributions to the series range from analyses of single objects to wider thematic studies. The series is committed to highlighting the diverse character of Islamic material and visual culture, and to establishing common preoccupations that exist in the production, commissioning, use and appreciation of art and architectural forms across the Islamic world. The archaeological dimension of the series takes in final excavation reports and publications in areas including environmental archaeology and archaeological science. The series also incorporates studies that can function as fundamental resources for future research and teaching of Islamic visual and material culture. These resource books include critical surveys of published scholarship in aspects of Islamic art, architectural history, and archaeology. Surveys may be defined by material or according to disciplinary, dynastic, and geographical criteria. Other resource books comprise: translations and/or editions of significant primary texts relevant to the interpretation of Islamic art and architecture; and anthologies of translated texts useful for the study of selected topics, periods, or regions of the Islamic world. The series also welcomes English translations of pioneering and important works that have already been published in another language. Proposals will be accepted for both monographs and edited volumes.
The series has published an average of 1,5 volumes per year since 2013.