TitleBorderland Architecture as the Site of Cultural Exchange
Date/TimeMonday 4 July 2022: 11.15-12.45
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairElisa Ramazzina, Faculty of English, University of Oxford / School of Arts, English & Languages, Queen's University Belfast
Paper 122-a Magic in the Margins: Rereading the Plant Motifs in the Medieval Churches of the Baltic Sea Region
(Language: English)
Kristel Markus-Venäläinen, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki
Index Terms: Architecture - Religious; Art History - Painting; Art History - Sculpture; Pagan Religions
Paper 122-b Three Madrasahs on the Border: Showdown and the Conflict of Belonging
(Language: Deutsch)
Zehra Odabaşı, Department of History, Selçuk Üniversitesi
Index Terms: Art History - General; Local History; Social History
Paper 122-c From Umayyad Madinat al-Zahra to Almohad Seville: The Plunder and Reuse of Andalusian Capitals
(Language: English)
Nausheen Hoosein, Department of History of Art, University of York
Index Terms: Archaeology - Sites; Architecture - General; Art History - General; Islamic and Arabic Studies
AbstractPaper -a:
For a short period between the second half of the 12th and the end of the 13th century, the sculptural programs of medieval churches contained noticeably more vegetal motifs than during earlier and later times. This trend' was especially favoured in the French, English, and German gothic, but also reached church art in more peripheral areas of Christian Europe - for example, the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea region, that was among the last areas in Europe to be Christianised. In my presentation, I will focus especially on the exceptionally rich foliate program of Karja church (13th century) in nowadays Estonia. While the extensive use of plant motifs in Western European churches is often explained as increased interest in the natural world resulting in a shift in philosophical thinking, then in the context of the geographically distant Baltic Sea region, other meanings are likely. For instance, there are differences in the depicted species, some of which were considered magical in medieval times, and in the location of plant motifs in the church space, that in Karja refer to apotropaic functions instead. I argue that it was mainly the peripheral location and somewhat different cultural context that caused the deviation from the 'standardised' Western church art and gave room to meanings of local origin.

Paper -b:
Medieval Anatolia is a region where political instability, fluid identity, population, and cultural mobility are intense due to its geographical location. After the 1240s, people from different ethnic origins and local Greeks and Turkmens, who came to seize this region or take refuge in Anatolia, were often in negotiations in terms of politics, religion, and culture. Administrative changes, population movements, and cultural transformations following the Mongol conquest on the Anatolian borders also affected Anatolian architecture in many ways. The fact that the region was a border country prevented the formation of the unity of architectural styles, which emerged in the centre of the Seljuks and covered Anatolia under the supervision of the benefactors, in the long run due to the Mongol conquest, and local architectural styles emerged in many different regions. States generally used architecture as a way of expression and display. Anatolian architectural style is formed by the synthesis of its own culture and Ilkhanid, Iranian, and Caucasian architecture. In 1271-1272, three fiqh madrasahs were built in Sivas as a border institution, namely Burûciye, Çifte Minaret, and Gök Madrasah. The aim of this study is to reveal the political relations network and personal loyalty of the benefactors of these three madrasahs through these structures, at a time when influential people with different belongings in the border region competed for power under the umbrella of the Mongolian rule. While doing this, the main sources of the period - waqf charters, inscriptions, and chronicles, travel books - and modern research will be used.

Paper -c:
Despite its brief tenure as caliphal capital, Madinat al-Zahra is perhaps the most emblematic palatial construction of 10th-century Umayyad Spain. The rectangular-plan city was composed of three terraced platforms and was built as a fortified administrative and ceremonial headquarters. In the 11th century, following the collapse of Umayyad rule, Madinat al-Zahra was sacked and burned, a mere seventy-four years after its establishment. Nevertheless, its ruins provoked acute interest in Andalusian court style and for centuries after its demise, the palatial complex was plundered for its sumptuous marble fragments and reusable building materials.
Some 150 kilometres west of Madinat al-Zahra and almost two centuries after its demise, the Berber Almohads would designate Seville as their Iberian capital and construct the Alcázar, royal residence, as well as the minaret-tower, popularly known as La Giralda today. Despite the significant lapse in time and space, these two dynasties, the Umayyads (r. 756-1031) and the Almohads (r. 1130-1269), and their respective constructions, Madinat al-Zahra and La Giralda, are connected materially and metaphorically through the reuse of marble from the former to the latter. The questions I will ask are: why would the 12th-century Almohads choose to loot and later transport relatively heavy Andalusi marble from the ruins of al-Zahra to their Sevillian sites? What meanings- triumphant, practical or rhetorical- can we uncover in the plunder of Andalusi capitals? With this paper, I plan to extend the idea of plunder considering the context of medieval Seville and contextualise La Giralda and the Alcázar as paradigmatic examples of Almohad reuse of Andalusi spolia.