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Towers, Birds and Divine Light:The Contested Territory of Nasrid and “Mudéjar” Ornament

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Chapter Summary

This chapter employee's strategies of contextualization and interdisciplinary interpretation similar to those the author adopted in two recent publications concerned with the "Mudéjar" phenomenon. Outside the context of discussions of methodology, to which the following two sections are devoted, "Mudéjar" will be rejected as a useful designator of either a coherent group of monuments or a definable "Islamicizing" aesthetic. Topoi such as the towers, divine light, and birds that will form the particular focus of the chapter, while generalized throughout much of Islamic and Arabic speaking culture, acquire concrete associations once they are deployed in a Nasrid context. The Comares complex is the better understood of the Alhambra's two principal palaces. In the Mariale from Ávila, as in Marian literature throughout Christian Europe, the Castilian Virgin is praised, among other epithets, as a sacred garden, a tower of refuge, and the Throne of Wisdom.

Keywords:Alhambra; Castilian; Christian; divine light; Methodology; Mudéjar; Nasrid; Virgin

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