This volume, published by Brepols, reveals the impact that art objects manufactured in the Islamic and Byzantine Mediterranean had on the medieval visual culture of England. It also addresses the complex phenomenon of the Crusades, in which both violence and dynamic cultural interaction coexisted.
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.
Preface: “For we who were Occidentals have now become Orientals”
Violence, Persecution, and Cultural Borrowing during the Crusades
The Chertsey Tiles, Reassembling Fragments of Meaning
A Clash of Civilizations? Diverse Motivations, Multiple Actors, and the Hidden Richness of Muslim Historical Sources
The Crusades: A Short History
“So much national magnificence and national history”: The Foundation, Structure, and Fall of Chertsey Abbey
Epic Sensibilities in French art of the Crusader Period
Richard A. Leson
Recreating the Holy Land at Home: Relics from the East in England
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
A Cupbearer Crosses Cultures: Figural Ceramic Traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean
Citizens and Invaders: Encounters with Sculpture in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade
Object Biographies – Select Bibliography – Index
For more information, visit the Brepols website.