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Old September 23rd, 2012, 09:10 PM   #4
Martin Andersen
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 63

Hi All

If Volkmar Gantzhorn is the main source for the non-kufic interpretation of the kufic borders it is of course relevant to look at his arguments - and his timeline, which is important because he argues that arabic Kufic is influenced by christian pseudo-kufic ornamentation. Here is an example where he is referring to the seljuk rugs:

The problem for me here is the dating of the first psudo-kufic ornament, I would personally stylistically find it much later. Gantzhorns dating must be based on the ornament being on the Byzantine emperor Romanos II sarcophagus. But according to Byzantine historic sources Romanos II were buried in Constantin's mausoleum in Church of the Holy Apostles, which were sacked by the crusaders ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/36339475/T...ntine-Emperors ). There are only a handful remaining Imperial sarcophagus, and none of them can be ascribed with certainty to any specific emperor. The monastery Hosios Loukas is on Unescos world heritage list, the monastery has a homepage and none of these sites mentions the extraordinary existence of an Byzantine imperial sarcophagus. The real explanation for the probably wrong attribution to Romanos the II is here:

"Hosios Loukas" Nano Chatzidakis http://images.icon-art.info/public/B...s%20(BAiG).pdf

The dating of the second much stylistically simpler ornament is probably correct. But this ornament can easily be explained as directly influenced by islamic Kufic ornamentation. Some have even suggested that these specific ornaments could have been made by force moved craftsmen from the re-conquered islamic Crete, the islamic Crete which is directly connected to Hosios Loukas foundation.

"In the context of the Greek School of architecture, these decorative patterns appear in impressive abundance and multiformity during the second half of the 10th century,
falling thereafter gradually into decline" The church of Kapnikarea in Athens: Remarks on its history, typology and form Nikolaos Gkioles. But these psedo-kufic ornaments never seem to appear in center of Byzantine art, Constantinopel, were they are directly associated with the rivaling Islam (p.83 http://books.google.dk/books?id=ftUs...stmond&f=false)

The argument with the third illustration were Ganzhorn uses a rather random 12th c kufic ornamented text to argue that the "christian" ornaments corresponds more closely to the seljuk borders is in my opinion totally topsy-turvy. Much more relevant samples proving the opposite are easy to find.

Ganzhorns book is as a Taaschen publication published in german, french and english. It must be the most wide spread rug book in the world today. I haven't seen any serious review or critique of it online. If the book as whole is as flawed as it seems to me, then I find it rather problematic, as it must generate misunderstandings for decades to come.


Last edited by Martin Andersen; September 23rd, 2012 at 09:39 PM.
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