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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The art and architecture of the crusader states

III: Ecclesiastical Art in the Crusader States in Palestine and Syria,   pp. 69-139 PDF (28.9 MB)

Page 134

cycle, reinterpret the scenes with vigor, skill, and imagination. The full-page
frontispiece, scenes of the Creation set in roundels (pl. XLIV; see also
pl. XLIIIb), has on its borders hunting scenes and a group of Arab musicians
playing their instruments that recall similar representations in some twelfth-century
Arabic manuscripts of the Baghdad school, associated with Mosul under Badr-ad-Din
Lu'lu', a period when figure representation was much used in metal work and
other media. 17 Byzantine influences in drapery and mountain set tings are
also evident. As in the Arsenal Bible, the Acre type of head is markedly
present. Certainly these two noble works have much in common, and each must
have been made for some patron of high standing. In the Histoire prominence
is given to the battles of the Amazons, and it is tempting to associate this
book with the great festivities in Acre for the coronation of Henry II in
1286, when the knights dressed as women and reënacted the battle of
"the Queen of Feminie" among other scenes from the tale of Troy. 18 
 Equally vigorous handling of similar themes is found in a volume of the
translation of William of Tyre (Paris, B.N., fr. 9084), where the first five
illustrations seem to come from the Acre workshop. The battling knights in
the capture of Antioch are well worthy of their distinguished predecessors.
The manuscript was completed by west ern artists, and may have been taken
to France on the fall of Acre. Two other manuscripts of the translation (Paris,
B.N., fr. 2628 and Lyons MS. 828) suggest an Acre provenance by their similarities
respectively with the Dijon and Brussels Histoires. They are undistinguished
works, but of much historical interest. The kings of Jerusalem can be seen
kneeling before the patriarch at their coronation, a ritual quite different
from that of France; queen Melisend in a wide, shady hat rides side-saddle
out hunting with king Fulk, while a black dog, the same as the one that accompanies
the hunters in the Dijon scene of Oedipus, pursues the fatal hare that tripped
up Fulk's horse; the nobles play at chess; mourning women tear their hair
and beat their breasts at the death of kings; the Augustinian canons attend
the ceremonies in long, wide-sleeved surplices. In the Paris manuscript,
which breaks off in 1265, the script changes in the concluding passages,
and the last initial, 
 17. D. S. Rice, "The Aghani Miniatures and Religious Painting in Islam,"
Burlington Magazine, XCV (1953), 128-136; T. W. Arnold, in The Legacy of
Islam, ed. T.W. Arnold and A. Guillaume (Oxford, 1931), P. 118. A splendid
example of a Mosul engraved bowl in the Louvre has the traditional name of
"Baptistère de Saint Louis"; see G. Migeon, Les Arts musulinans (Bibliothéque
de l'histoire de l'art; Paris, 1926), pl. XLIX. For the Baghdad School see
H. Buchthal, "Early Islamic Miniatures from Baghdad," Journal of the Walters
Art Gallery, V (1942), 19 ff. 
 18. See G. F. Hill, A History of Cyprus, II (Cambridge, 1948), 181. 

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