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The Islamic Ceilings of the Cappella Palatina in Palermo - Other Views -

Availability: In stock
Published: 2022
Page #: xvi + 432
Size: 9 x 12
ISBN: 978-1-56859-368-5
plates, appendix, bibliography, index, notes, references

 
$95.00

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Quick Overview

The Cappella Palatina’s place within the history of art is unique for it represents the visual amalgamation of three distinct cultures. The chapel combines a Latin basilica plan with a Byzantine central plan where the domed sanctuary and the walls of the nave and aisles are covered with Byzantine mosaics, but the ceilings of the nave and aisles are distinctly Islamic.

        The provenance of the craftsmen and artists who constructed and painted the ceilings has remained a question of speculation among scholars for more than a century and a half. Most contend the artists and craftsmen were imported from other areas of the Islamic world. Here the author questions long-accepted scholarly paradigms to consider the possibility that the central ceiling’s construction and its painting are Sicilian innovations that were fostered and developed while the island was under Islamic rule (ca. 831–1072).

        The second issue explored by the author is the meaning of the ceiling’s construction and program of decoration, one that expresses the marvels and wonders—the ‘ajā’ib—that is integral to Islamic thought and philosophy. The paintings comprise a visual manifestation of the oral traditions of the ancient Middle East and of the increasingly written documentation that occurred in the early Islamic period. In the Cappella Palatina they constitute a continuation of imagery that was used in the Muslim palaces of Palermo. They celebrate the worldly authority and magnificence of a highly cultured court and the myriad pleasures and duties of this royal majlis, and by extension, the Islamic vision of the heavenly realm.

author

Tom Klobe

Tom Klobe is professor emeritus of Islamic and medieval art history and also taught courses in museum studies at the University of Hawai‘i. During his 29-year tenure, he was also director of the University of Hawai‘i Art Gallery, and organized and designed over 200 exhibitions, five of which received the prestigious Print Casebooks: Best in Exhibition Design Award. He has authored or edited over 35 publications, including Exhibitions: Concept, Planning and Design published by the American Association of Museums Press (2012) and A Young American in Iran by Peace Corps Writers (2014). Klobe was named a Living Treasure of Hawai‘i (2005) and received the Preis Honor Award (2021), the University of Hawai‘i Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service (2003), and was honored by the Republic of France as a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for contributions to the arts in France and Hawai‘i (1999).

Klobe began research on the Cappella Palatina in 1972. He was the first to be granted permission to photograph the ceilings in color during the summers of 1973 and 1974 when he took over 3000 photos within the chapel and an additional 1000 photos of Norman art and architecture 
in Sicily. To understand the ceilings thoroughly he continued to conduct extensive comparative research and photography of the Islamic and medieval European worlds. This book attempts to present a nuanced view of issues surrounding the attributions and meanings of the ceilings that will hopefully spark further discussion of the ceilings and of the brilliance of the Muslim and Norman periods in Sicily.


Foreword by Abbas Daneshvari
The Cappella Palatina Ceilings: Panoply of Islamic Iconography

Preface and Acknowledgements

HISTORY
Introduction
Muslim Conquest and Rule
The Norman Period
On Supposition of Fatimid origin of Artists
Cappella Palatina History
Construction and ornamentation
The Central Nave
The Side Aisles


MEANING
Ideological Meanings
Inscriptions
Glossary of Arabic Terms
Inscriptions Surrounding the Stars
Inscriptions in the Semicircular lunettes
Inscriptions in the Niches of the Third level
Inscriptions in the Southern Aisle

ICONOGRAPHY
Trees and Vine Scrolls
Stars, Squares, and Domes
Pleasures of the Court
Seated Kings
Drinking Companions
Musicians
Dancers
Scenes of Daily life
Christian Scenes
Presumed Wrestlers battle Scenes
The Hunt
Hares
Elephants
Deer, Ibexes, Gazelles, and Antelopes
Falcons, Hawks, and eagles
Peacocks and birds
Lions
Horseman escaping lion
lion and Ungulate
Lions and Prey
Man Subduing Lions
Double-bodied, one-Headed lion
Triple-bodied, one-Headed lion
Winged lions
Lion and Dragon Combat
Horseman Fighting Dragon
Scenes from Arab literature
Mermaids
Griffins
Sphinxes
Harpies
Ascension Scenes
Man Straddling Headless Quadrupeds
Sun and moon Chariots

Summary

Appendix

Medallions of the Side Aisles

Bibliography

Index

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