Gardens, Landscape and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain

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9780271022475: Gardens, Landscape and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain
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Islamic gardens, with their waterways and beds of plants and trees, are generally regarded as an earthly reflection of paradise. D. Fairchild Ruggles offers a different interpretation, contending that the palace garden was primarily an environmental, economic and political construct. She discusses three aspects of medieval Islamic Spain: the landscape and agricultural transformation documented in Arabic scientific literature, the formation of the garden and its symbolism from the eighth through to the 15th centuries, and the role of the gaze and the frame in the spatial structures through with sovereignty was constituted. Although the repertory of architectural and garden forms was largely unchanged from the 10th to the 15th centuries, Ruggles explains that their meaning changed dramatically. The royal palace gardens of Cordoba expressed a political ideology that placed the king above and at the centre of the garden, and metaphorically, of his kingdom. This conception of the world began to falter in later centuries, but patrons clung to the forms and motifs of the golden age. Instead of creating new forms, artists at the Alhambra in Granada reworked and refined familiar vocabulary and materials. The vistas fixed by windows and pavilions referred not to the actual relationship of the king to his domain, but rather to the memory of a once-expanding territory.

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Review:

"Ruggles has made a significant contribution to our understanding of an important aspect of Islamic art and culture. Her analysis of the political and economic basis of Islamic garden design in Spain . . . and her new interpretation of the Alhambra and Generalife gardens and palaces constitute a significant contribution to the history of landscape architecture."--Marilyn Stokstad, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies "Her book, Gardens Landscape & Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain, is a meticulous examination of the symbolic significance that gardens played as part of the visual whole of the architecture of the age."--Elizabeth Iracki, Bloomsbury Review "Ruggles's splendidly full and broad-ranging new book is a fundamental resource on the complex of images evoked in Faisal's wonderful line, treating the gardens of al-Andalus in their historical and ideological contexts as well as in the more familiar architectural and botanical ones. . . . Ruggles's always clear narrative interweaves all the fundamental threads of the historical and political events necessary to fully appreciate the cultural bases of everything that had to do with that dramatic transformation of the Iberian landscape. She seems as at home talking about the changing yields of crop harvests as about the variations in the concepts of paradise as a garden across different cultures."--Maria Rosa Menocal, The Medieval Review (TMR) "Like a Muslim woman slowly revealing herself as she unveils, the text gradually enchants the reader. Indeed, the book is a fine and clear-sighted essay that in a most original fashion strives to understand the complex relationships that have led to the creation of the Muslim gardens seen in Spain today."--Ana Luengo, Garden History "Though Ruggles's book usefully brings together much new and little-known information about the palace gardens of al-Andalus, it is by no means a straightforward account of the evolution of these gardens but is intended rather as a grand interpretative work written from a multidisciplinary perspective. . . . The overall result is clear-headed, highly readable, stimulating, and largely persuasive."--Michael Jacobs, Times Literary Supplement Ruggles has made a significant contribution to our understanding of an important aspect of Islamic art and culture. Her analysis of the political and economic basis of Islamic garden design in Spain . . . and her new interpretation of the Alhambra and Generalife gardens and palaces constitute a significant contribution to the history of landscape architecture. Marilyn Stokstad, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies" Her book, Gardens Landscape & Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain, is a meticulous examination of the symbolic significance that gardens played as part of the visual whole of the architecture of the age. Elizabeth Iracki, Bloomsbury Review" Ruggles s splendidly full and broad-ranging new book is a fundamental resource on the complex of images evoked in Faisal s wonderful line, treating the gardens of al-Andalus in their historical and ideological contexts as well as in the more familiar architectural and botanical ones. . . . Ruggles s always clear narrative interweaves all the fundamental threads of the historical and political events necessary to fully appreciate the cultural bases of everything that had to do with that dramatic transformation of the Iberian landscape. She seems as at home talking about the changing yields of crop harvests as about the variations in the concepts of paradise as a garden across different cultures. Maria Rosa Menocal, The Medieval Review (TMR)" Like a Muslim woman slowly revealing herself as she unveils, the text gradually enchants the reader. Indeed, the book is a fine and clear-sighted essay that in a most original fashion strives to understand the complex relationships that have led to the creation of the Muslim gardens seen in Spain today. Ana Luengo, Garden History" Though Ruggles's book usefully brings together much new and little-known information about the palace gardens of al-Andalus, it is by no means a straightforward account of the evolution of these gardens but is intended rather as a grand interpretative work written from a multidisciplinary perspective. . . . The overall result is clear-headed, highly readable, stimulating, and largely persuasive. Michael Jacobs, Times Literary Supplement"

About the Author:

D. Fairchild Ruggles is Associate Professor in Landscape History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the editor of Women, Patronage, and Self-Representation in Islamic Societies (2000).

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780271018515: Gardens, Landscape and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain

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ISBN 10:  0271018518 ISBN 13:  9780271018515
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999
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