Name of Object:

Arch

Location:

Madrid, Spain

Holding Museum:

National Archaeological Museum

About National Archaeological Museum, Madrid

Date of Object:

Hegira 437–73 / AD 1064–81

Museum Inventory Number:

50426

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Carved plaster.

Dimensions:

Height 611 cm, width 452 cm

Period / Dynasty

Taifa kingdoms; Banu Hud dynasty, Abu Yafar Ahmad al-Muqtadir (r. AH 437–73 / AD 1064–81)

Provenance:

Aljafería Palace, Saragossa, Spain.

Description:

This arch was part of the arcade of the southern portico of the Aljafería Palace in Saragossa. The whole consists of a 13-lobed arch supporting a series of small hollow arches formed by the crossing of other larger arches, which are also poly-lobed. The upper part is decorated with plant arabesques interrupted by four small scalloped cupolas. It is completed by a large arch that appears to be supported on columns, with their shafts and capitals. In this arch we can see how certain structural elements (arches, columns or small cupolas) are used as purely decorative elements, a common practice in the art of the Taifa kingdoms. The fretwork in these arcades, created by a series of arches that multiply harmoniously, produces an effect of light and shade. It is an art that places more importance on visual impact than on the materials or even the architecture. The artistic forms of this period follow the caliphal tendencies of the Great Mosque of Córdoba, but in the Taifa kingdom of Saragossa there is a special tendency towards more elaborate designs, which would later be adopted in various Andalusian and Mudéjar buildings.

View Short Description

The south side of the Aljafería courtyard was decorated with an arched portico similar to this one, built for effect and for decoration and with no real structural function. It was inspired by the intertwining arcades of the Great Mosque of Córdoba, but its complexity makes it singularly baroque in style.

How date and origin were established:

The Aljafería Palace was constructed under the patronage of Abu Yafar Ahmad al-Muqtadir (r. 437–73 / 1046–81), the second monarch in the Banu Hud dynasty, which governed the Taifa of Saragossa during the years 432–503 / 1040–1110. In the southern portico of the Palace, where this arch belongs, there are two inscriptions that include the title adopted by al-Muqtadir after the conquest of Barbastro in 456 / 1064.

How Object was obtained:

The arch was donated to the National Archaeological Museum on 19 August 1869.

How provenance was established:

In 1867, before the demolition of the Palace's San Jorge Chapel and the adjacent areas, the recently created Commission of Monuments managed to salvage some architectural elements of the Palace and move them to the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid and the Provincial Museum of Saragossa.

Selected bibliography:

Beltrán Martínez, A., La Aljafería, Saragossa, 1998, p.106.
Gomez Moreno, M., El Arte árabe Español Hasta los Almohades. Arte Mozárabe. Ars Hispaniae, Vol. 3, Madrid, 1951, p.239.
Revilla Vielva, R., Catálogo de las Antigüedades que Se Conservan en el Patio árabe del Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid, 1932, p.24.
Savirón y Estevan, P., “Fragmento de Estilo árabe Procedente del Palacio de la Aljafería de Zaragoza”, Museo Español de Antigüedades, Vol. I, Madrid, 1872, pp.145–7.
Viguera Molins, M. J., El Islam en Aragón, Zaragoza, 1995, p.153.

Citation of this web page:

Margarita Sánchez Llorente "Arch" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;es;Mus01;9;en

Prepared by: Margarita Sánchez LlorenteMargarita Sánchez Llorente

Margarita Sánchez Llorente cursó estudios de Historia del Arte y Psicología en la facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, obteniendo la licenciatura en 1974.Tras realizar numerosos cursos de posgrado en museología y documentación del patrimonio histórico-artístico y arqueológico, le fueron concedidas varias becas de investigación en museística. De 1989 a 2000 trabajó en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional, en la gestión y documentación de los proyectos de la Unión Europea: EMN (European Museum Network), RAMA (Remote Access to Museum Archives) y –como colaboradora del departamento de Antigüedades Egipcias y del Próximo Oriente– Champollion. Ha participado en numerosos coloquios y encuentros internacionales y publicado varios artículos sobre las nuevas tecnologías aplicadas a la documentación en los museos.

Copyedited by: Rosalía AllerRosalía Aller

Rosalía Aller Maisonnave, licenciada en Letras (Universidad Católica del Uruguay), y en Filología Hispánica y magíster en Gestión Cultural de Música, Teatro y Danza (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), ha obtenido becas de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional y la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia de Madrid, así como el Diplôme de Langue Française (Alliance Française), el Certificate of Proficiency in English (University of Cambridge) y el Certificado Superior en inglés y francés (Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Madrid). Profesora de Estética de la Poesía y Teoría Literaria en la Universidad Católica del Uruguay, actualmente es docente de Lengua Castellana y Literatura en institutos de Enseñanza Secundaria y formación del profesorado en Madrid. Desde 1983, ha realizado traducción y edición de textos en Automated Training Systems, Applied Learning International, Videobanco Formación y El Derecho Editores. Integra el equipo de Museo Sin Fronteras desde 1999 y ha colaborado en la revisión de los catálogos de “El Arte Islámico en el Mediterráneo”. Así mismo, ha realizado publicaciones sobre temas literarios y didácticos, ha dictado conferencias y ha participado en recitales poéticos.

Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: SP 17

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