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    Sale 7615

    Art of The Islamic And Indian Worlds

    7 October 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 94

    AN UMAYYAD CARVED LARCH BEAM

    CORDOBA, SOUTH SPAIN, SECOND HALF 10TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN UMAYYAD CARVED LARCH BEAM
    CORDOBA, SOUTH SPAIN, SECOND HALF 10TH CENTURY
    The long beam carved in high relief on two planes with a band containing two entwined tendrils each issuing alternating flowerheads and scrolling volutes, the latter combining to form palmette designs, the sides similarly carved with swagged tendrils issuing trefoil motifs alternating with pine-cone motifs, sawn in half longitudinally, a later notch cut at each end, slight weathering and ageing, small traces of polychrome decoration
    222½ x 8¼ x 6in. (565 x 21 x 15cm.)


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    Note continued from the preceding lot.

    The Replacement of the Roof

    By the early eighteenth century it was deemed that the roof was no longer sound and should therefore be replaced throughout the additions of al-Hakam II and al-Mansur. At this time a vaulted roof was built throughout the mosque, although the present one dates from a further reconstruction in the late nineteenth century. Some of the beams from the vault were re-used in the mosque, but there must have been a great many which were sold or passed on at that time to be re-used in other buildings. And it was a further century and a half before any attention was paid to the original roof elements that were still in the mosque.

    1875-1891

    In 1875 the architect Rafael de Luque y Lubian had discovered some elements from the original coffering (beams and panels) which had been re-used in the eighteenth century renovation. As well as this, he found beams and panels in a horizontal position above the chapel of San Pedro and San Lorenzo. These were resting on one end on the west facade wall, and on the other end on the wall which runs above the arcade. These were carved and had evidence of remains of painted ornamentation. Velazquez Bosco later found another original beam in the south side of the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel).

    1903-1928

    The first project for the replacement of the coffering of the three naves of the old maqsura was attempted in November 1903, but it took until 1st September 1905, before Velázquez Bosco began actually working on the beams. In 1911 the coffering of the axial nave in front of the mihrab was replaced. In 1917 they were working on the beams and panels in front of the Santa Teresa chapel, according to pictures made in the same year. In 1919 the axial nave of the original mosque was covered and work was still continuing on the nave of the Chapel of San Pablo in 1921. During this work, Velázquez Bosco used many of the old pieces, repainting them and re-establishing their colours. He died in 1923 having left almost all of his restoration work unpublished. Although Felix Hernández tried to piece together the restoration work that had been done earlier in the century, and while he began a massive excavation programme at the mosque, he appears not to have altered the roof. His hugely important legacy in this respect is however that he published all the known surviving parts of the original roof in 1928.

    This note continues under the following lot.

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