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8 Originality and Innovation in Syrian Woodwork of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries

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Chapter Summary

The author examines the aesthetic and historical foundations of wood objects made in Syria or by Syrian craftsmen in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. He assesses the status of the woodworker in this period and a methodological statement on the study of Islamic ornament, he discusses these objects, highlighting and analyzing in particular their innovative geometric patterns. He concludes by exploring the factors and motives that contributed to the efflorescence of the geometric mode in Syria in the twelfth century and to its ultimate spread to other regions, in part due to the influence of Syrian craftsmen. Syrian woodwork of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries can be divided historically - and, also stylistically - into two periods: Fāṭimid and Zangid-Ayyūbid. The two main Syrian pieces are a "banister" in the Damascus Museum, previously part of a funerary enclosure, and the cenotaph of Sayyida Fāṭima, in the Bāb Ṣaghīr cemetery.

Keywords: Damascus Museum; Fāṭimid; Syrian craftsmen; thirteenth century; Zangid-Ayyūbid



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