"Niello and Lampas – Two Examples of how Craft Knowledge was transferred between Baghdad, al-Andalus and Northern Europe during 12th Century"

Fricke, Beate; Mühlemann, Corinne (27 January 2020). "Niello and Lampas – Two Examples of how Craft Knowledge was transferred between Baghdad, al-Andalus and Northern Europe during 12th Century" (Unpublished). In: Dialogues in the Late Medieval Mediterranean: Methodological Encounters and (Dis)Encounters. Madrid. 27. Januar 2020.

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This paper investigates methodological approaches of how to encounter the ways of transferring technical knowledge and information on the basis of two case studies. It explores what the transfer of craft knowledge from the Abbasid capital contributed to Western Islamic societies as well as to societies in Northern Europe. The technical achievements to produce lampas-woven silks as well as objects with a niello décor have been developed in Baghdad during the eleventh century. Artifacts, such as the niello casket today preserved at San Isidoro in Léon (Fricke) and the two so-called Baghdad silks (Mühlemann) preserved also in San Isidoro as well as at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts proof that these techniques rapidly reached communities of artisan-craftsmen in al-Andalus and from there spread out across Europe. For the lampas-technique, it will be argued that an investigation of Ḥisba-manuals containing the available rules compiled by the muḥtasib, the market inspector, written in al-Andalus and Baghdad can generate crucial technical information about the process of making of lampas-woven silks (and their looms) and ultimately about the transfer of technical knowledge between the East and the West of the pre-Mongol Islamic world. The treasury in Leon, Spain, houses not only one marvel of a niello casket made at the beginning of the 11th century for a merchant from Baghdad, but also a casket made by a local goldsmith trying to imitate the fine technique with completely different results. Studying the objects of such encounters as a testimony speaking of a productive connection between two entirely different traditions of copying, and techniques of metalwork associated with luxury good provides us with a new understanding about practices of pre-modern creativity and innovation that depend on circulation and contact between the Christian and Islamic cultures of the Mediterranean.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History > Ancient and Medieval Art History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History

UniBE Contributor:

Fricke, Beate

Subjects:

700 Arts
700 Arts > 730 Sculpture, ceramics & metalwork
900 History
900 History > 940 History of Europe
900 History > 950 History of Asia

Funders:

[18] European Research Council

Projects:

[1266] Global Horizons in Premodern Art
[1268] Object histories - Flotsam as early globalism

Language:

English

Submitter:

Beate Fricke

Date Deposited:

15 Jan 2020 09:40

Last Modified:

15 Jan 2020 09:40

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/137173

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