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Marginal Ornament: Poetics, Mimesis, And Devotion In The Palace Of The Lions

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers an interpretation of the Palace of the Lions as a building that both provided the setting for and embodied the principal elements of Nasrid dynastic self-representation in all of its religious, political, cultural, literary, and intellectual components. Several recent studies of other key medieval Islamic buildings and their contexts have offered illuminating readings of these monuments within the cultural framework intended by patrons for very specific publics. The chapter adopts similar methodologies and argues that Nasrid literary culture was deeply and principally interested in issues of allegory, mimesis, and representation. It suggests that the Palace of the Lions, in its combined architectural, spatial, horticultural, ornamental, and textual elements, constitutes a representation of a Paradise-garden cosmos composed of a group of four smaller gardens, which exist in allegorical relationship both to one another and to the larger, cosmological concept.

Keywords: allegory; medieval Islamic buildings; mimesis; Nasrid literary culture; Palace of the Lions; Paradise-garden cosmos



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