grouped by Liz James 24-10-03:
Abstract paper a-
Until 1828 the largest metal sculpture known from the medieval Islamic world was mounted on the east gable of Pisa Cathedral. Prior discussion of the so-called Pisa Griffin has positioned it as a captured trophy object whose display commemorates a 12th-century Pisan victory over Muslims and casts this conflict in religious terms. This paper proposes instead that a range of meanings were read onto the griffin by Pisan viewers over the centuries, and that both architectural considerations and recent re-evaluations of Mediterranean economic and cultural history complicate and may ultimately confound interpretations of the statue as Crusader booty.
Abstract paper b
This paper will make the case for the existence of the Fondaco dei Persiani in Venice as early as the13th century. When examined in a wider contextual framework, the ‘fondaco’ represents a portion of Venetian history that – at the least – sometimes is taken for granted. Foreign merchants, and more specifically Muslim merchants, lived and did business in Venice continually. Furthermore, although a preoccupation with religious and political conflict might prevent scholars from recognizing harmonious interactions between peoples, the functions of these merchants are important, since they represent agents of cross-cultural contact and exchange, even during times of conflict.
Abstract paper c-
Medieval Spain, and particularly al-Andalus, witnessed the fluid merging of Persian, ancient Roman, and Islamic botanical traditions, and a resulting garden culture that was among the most sophisticated anywhere. The conquest of Granada in 1492 put an idealogical and practical block on further interchange. However, Italian humanists such as Andrea Navagero visiting Granada shortly afterwards were able to percieve the classical heritage of Andalusian gardens. This paper will analyze a recently discovered anonymous letter from Granada to Mantua, falsely attritbuted to Castaglione, and use it to propose a series of relationships between Spain and Italy, and between the Islamic and the Classical.