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Title: The origin and development of Maghribī round scripts : Arabic palaeography in the Islamic West (4th/10th-6th/12th centuries)
Author: Bongianino, Umberto
ISNI:       0000 0004 6501 1501
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis aims to study the origin and development of Maghribī round scripts, i.e. the highly distinctive writing styles employed in the Arabic manuscripts and documents produced from the 4th/10th century onwards in the western Islamic world, and more specifically in the Iberian Peninsula, North-West Africa, and the Balearic Islands. In order to reconstruct the activity of Maghribī calligraphers, copyists, and secretaries, and to follow the development of their practices, the present work lists and discusses the earliest dated material written in Maghribī scripts, in chronological order: 123 non-Quranic manuscripts, 25 Quranic codices and fragments, nine chancery documents, and two private contracts, all of which produced between 270/883 and 600/1204. The palaeographic analysis of the scripts has made it possible to distinguish between different Maghribī sub-styles and 'schools' of calligraphy, some of which have been given a new definition. A particular attention has been devoted to the geographical and historical context in which these scripts developed - i.e. Umayyad al-Andalus - and to the cultural, and even ideological implications of their use and diffusion throughout North-West Africa. Codicological aspects have also been taken into consideration, such as the quality of scribal supports, the composition of quires and gatherings, the methods of ruling the pages, the choice of inks and pigments of different types, the style and techniques of illumination. Where possible, the autoptic study of the material has been combined with the information offered by primary sources of various kinds (historical treatises, biographical dictionaries, handbooks for notaries ...) so as to present a comprehensive picture of the Maghribī scribal tradition until the Almohad period. The resulting image is that of a calligraphic culture as rich and sophisticated as the eastern one, which constituted a key element in the creation and promulgation of the Andalusī identity throughout the Mediterranean, but whose formative process and full aesthetic range were still poorly understood.
Supervisor: Johns, Jeremy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Arabic palaeography