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The Forested Frontier: Commentary In The Margins Of The Alhambra Ceiling Paintings

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that important notions are imbedded within the seemingly marginal backgrounds of the ceiling paintings in the Alhambra?s so-called ?Hall of Justice.? The shared European and Islamic iconographies evident in the paintings? settings, and the creatures that appear therein, reiterate the complexities inherent in the multicultural context of the Alhambra. Through the processes of intercultural appropriation, interpretation and adaptation, these plants and animals seem to transcend their many individual cultural resonances, generating new meanings based on the particular convergences fostered by the Nasrid court. The paintings? backgrounds, on the edges of the central courtly dramas, literally visualize the cultural ?outsideness? of forests, which, as spaces for seclusion and distance from the distractions of daily life, also may have served as a metaphor for the Nasrid court in Granada.

Keywords: Alhambra; ceiling paintings; Granada; Hall of Justice; Islamic iconographies; Nasrid court



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