A carefully-integrated group of studies begins with the so-called “Chertsey” ceramic tiles, depicting combat between King Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. Found at Chertsey Abbey not far outside London and admired since the nineteenth century, we present here a new reconstruction of both the tiles and their previously-undeciphered Latin texts. The reconstruction demonstrates not only that the theme of the entire mosaic is the Crusades, but also that the overall appearance of the tiles, when laid as a floor, draws from the composition and iconography of imported Islamic and Byzantine silks. Essays illuminate specific material contexts that similarly witness western Europe’s, and particularly England’s, engagement with the material culture of the eastern Mediterranean, including ceramics, textiles, relics and reliquaries, metalwork, coins, sculpture, and ivories.
Amanda Luyster specializes in the study of the art of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in England and France, with particular attention to secular production and cross-cultural contact with the Islamic and Byzantine worlds.
Table of Contents
Foreword — Michael Wood
Director’s Foreword — Meredith Fluke
Preface: “For we who were Occidentals have now become Orientals” — Amanda Luyster
Violence, Persecution, and Cultural Borrowing during the Crusades — Amanda Luyster
The Chertsey Tiles, Reassembling Fragments of Meaning — Amanda Luyster
A Clash of Civilizations? Diverse Motivations, Multiple Actors, and the Hidden Richness of Muslim Historical Sources — Suleiman Mourad
The Crusades: A Short History — David Nicolle
“So much national magnificence and national history”: The Foundation, Structure, and Fall of Chertsey Abbey — Euan Roger
Epic Sensibilities in French art of the Crusader Period — Richard A. Leson
Recreating the Holy Land at Home: Relics from the East in England — Cynthia Hahn
The Mobility of Fabric: Textiles in and around Medieval Eurasia — Elizabeth Dospel Williams
Crusaders in Jerusalem: Frankish Encounters with Idols, Holy Monuments, and Portable Objects — Eva R. Hoffman
Oliphants and Elephants: African Ivory in England — Sarah Guerin
A Cupbearer Crosses Cultures: Figural Ceramic Traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean — Scott Redford
Citizens and Invaders: Encounters with Sculpture in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade — Paroma Chatterjee
Object Biographies – Select Bibliography – Index
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