Islamic Palaces & Court Culture (8th-17th centuries)

Professor Glaire Anderson

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Course Description 
This course introduces Islamic palaces, gardens, and court cultures. Through lectures and discussion we will examine medieval Islamic notions of palace and garden, relating the material evidence and art historical interpretation to the picture of the various Islamic court cultures gleaned from readings in social and political history. As we examine the material evidence for palaces and gardens we will also take note of shifts in scholars’ assumptions and interpretations of this material as revealed in the historiography. 

Course Readings
Lapidus, Ira. A History of Islamic Societies, (Cambridge, 2002)
Other assigned readings and resources for the term paper are available online as .pdf files on ArchNet or on the Reserve Shelf in Baker/Berry 
Online Resources: The course syllabus and handouts will be available on Blackboard. Images of buildings, a dictionary of terms specific to Islamic art, and collections of books and articles about Islamic art and architecture are also available online through the ArchNet website (http://www.archnet.org). 
 
Schedule
Introduction
Caliphal Palaces
Rise of the Citadel in the Mediterranean
Palace and Court in the Wake of the Mongol Conquests
Palaces of the Gunpowder Empires
 
Pre-Islamic influences and the Rise of Islam
  • Lapidus, Ira “Origins...” In A History of Islamic Societies, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002), 3-51. 

Situating the topic: Palace & Garden
  • Preziosi, Donald. “Power, Structure, and Architectural Function,” In The Ottoman City and its Parts: Urban Structure and Social Order, (New Rochelle, 1991), 103-105. 
  • Wescoat, Jim, Jr. "The Islamic Garden: Issues for Landscape Research." In Environmental Design: Journal of the Islamic Environmental Design Research Centre 1 (1986): 10-19.

The Umayyad Palaces of Syria
  • Lapidus, Ira, 67-71 (Umayyad court culture)
  • Hamilton, Robert “Hisham the Umayyad Statesman,” In Walid and His Friends: An Umayyad Tragedy, Oxford Studies in Islamic Art, no. VI ed. Julian Raby (Oxford, 1988) 74-85. 

Khirbat al-Mafjar
  • Hillenbrand, Robert. “La dolce vita in early Islamic Syria: the evidence of later Umayyad palaces.” In Art History. 1982. 1-35.

The Palace as City I: Abbasid Palaces (Abbasid Baghdad)
  • Lapidus, “the Abbasid empire” 56-66.
  • Jacob Lassner, “The Building of Madinat as-Salam,” and “The Dar al-Khalifa…,” In The Topography of Baghdad in the Early Middle Ages (Detroit,1970), 45-59 and 85-89 

The Palace as City I: Abbasid Palaces (Abbasid Samarra)
  • Julia Bray, “Samarra in Ninth-Century Arabic Letters,” A medieval Islamic city reconsidered: an interdisciplinary approach to Samarra ed. Chase Robinson (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001), 21-28.(Reserve)
  • Julie Scott-Meisami, “The Palace Complex as Emblem. Some Samarran Qasidas,” A medieval Islamic city reconsidered: an interdisciplinary approach to Samarra ed. Chase Robinson (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001), 69-79.

Samarra
  • Marcus Milwright, “Fixtures and Fittings. The Role of Decoration in Abbasid Palace Design,” A medieval Islamic city reconsidered: an interdisciplinary approach to Samarra ed. Chase Robinson (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001), 79-110. 
  • Qasim al-Samarrai, “The ‘Abbasid Gardens in Baghdad and Samarra (7th-12th century),” The Authentic Garden: A Symposium on Gardens ed. L. Tjon Sie Fat and E. de Jong (Leiden: Clusius Foundation, 1990), 115-122. 

The Palace as City II: the Cordoban Umayyads Introduction to Islamic Spain 
  • Menocal, Maria R. “A Brief History of a First-Rate Place,” Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain (Boston: Back Bay Books, 2002), 15-49.
  • Wed. April 28: Madinat al-Zahra’
  • al-Maqqari, Ahmad ibn Muhammad, “City and palace of Az-zahra,” In The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain (1964 reprint), 232-240.
  • Ruggles, D.F. “Madinat al-Zahra’,” In Gardens, Landscape and Vision in the palaces of Islamic Spain. (Univ. Park, 2000) 53-85.

Palaces and Gardens of al-Andalus
  • Dickie, James, “The Islamic Garden in Spain,” In The Islamic Garden, (Washington DC, 1976), 89-105.

The Rise of the Citadel Around the Mediterranean
  • Lapidus, “The post-Abbasid Middle Eastern state system” 112-32
  • Ruggles, D.F. “The Alhambra” In Gardens, Landscape and Vision… 163-208.
  • Wed. May 5: Rise of the Turkic dynasties: Guest Lecture on Ghaznavids and Eastern Seljuks
  • Scott-Meisami, Julie, “Palaces and paradises: Palace Description in Medieval Persian Poetry,” In Islamic Art and Literature, Grabar and Robinson, eds. 21-54.
  • Fri. May 7: The Seljuks of Anatolia
  • Scott Redford, “Thirteenth-century Rum Seljuq Palaces and Palace Imagery,” Ars Orientalis 23 (1993), 219-238.
  • Scott Redford, “Landscape and the Centralizing State,” and “Rum Seljuk Gardens,” In Landscape and the State in Medieval Anatolia: Seljuk Gardens and Pavilions of Alanya, Turkey (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2000) 53-90, 91-114.
 
The Mobile Court: Palaces in the Wake of the Mongol Conquest
  • Lapidus, “Iran: the Mongol, Timurid. . . Empires,” 226-31.
  • Gonzalez de Clavijo, Ruy, “Chapter XIII: Samarqand,”In Embassy to Tamerlane 1403-1406, transl. Guy Le Strange, (Routledge & Sons, 1928), 237-56.
  • O’Kane, Bernard. 1993. “From Tents to Pavilions: Royal Mobility and Persian Palace Design.” In Ars Orientalis, Vol. 23. Gulru Necipoglu, ed. (Ann Arbour: Department of History, University of Michigan.)

Timurid Gardens 
  • Golombek, Lisa “The Gardens of Timur: new perspectives,” In Muqarnas 12 (1995), 137-47.

Palaces of the Gunpowder Empires: Mughal India, Safavid Iran, Ottoman Turkey
  • Lapidus, [Introductory paragraph of Chapter 18 on p. 356] and “The Mughal Empire,” p. 368-78.
  • Lapidus, “Safavid Iran,” 234-241
  • Lapidus, “The Turkish migrations and the Ottoman Empire,” 248-63. 
  • Necipoglu, Gulru, “Framing the Gaze in Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Palaces.” In Ars Orientalis, Vol. 23 (1993), 303-42.
  • Rehman, Abdul, “Garden Types in Mughal Lahore according to Early-Seventeenth-Century Written and Visual Sources,” In Gardens in the Time of the Great Muslim Empires: Theory and Design. Attilio Petruccioli (ed). (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1997).
  • Alemi, Mahvash, “The Royal Gardens of the Safavid Period: Types and Models.” In Gardens in the Time of the Great Muslim Empires: Theory and Design. Attilio Petruccioli (ed). (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1997).
  • Gulru Necipoglu, “The Suburban Landscape of Sixteenth-Century Istanbul as a Mirror of Classical Ottoman Garden Culture.” In Gardens in the Time of the Great Muslim Empires: Theory and Design. Attilio Petruccioli (ed). (Leiden, 1997 )

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