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Portable Palaces: On the Circulation of Objects and Ideas about Architecture in Medieval Anatolia and Mesopotamia

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Abstract This essay examines two categories of portable objects: ceramics and ephemeral architecture (such as tents, palanquins, litters) for clues to the transmission of ideas about palatial architecture and the creation of a shared taste for a certain kind of palatial form and decoration between Christian and Muslim states whose artistic production is usually considered separately. The time period investigated is the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, and the geographical area investigated spans Constantinople, Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia. Without denying the importance of traveling craftsmen as vectors for artistic exchange, this essay argues that portable objects and portable or ephemeral architecture helped create the taste and demand for a supranational palatial architecture.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Archaeology and History of Art, Koç University Rumeli Feneri Yolu, Sariyer, 34450 Istanbul Turkey


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