Note continued from preceding lot
The Recent History of the Beams
Many of the beams that Felix Hernández published were cut along the entire length of the beam, as are the five beams in this sale. They also have the small angled notches that are found each end of the present beam. These notches are consistent with them having been used as tie-beams in a triangular roof. That our beams have the same alterations as those discovered in the mosque in 1928 indicates that this happened while the beams were still in the environs of the mosque, probably as a result of their re-use in the early eighteenth century.
We cannot define precisely when the beams left the mosque vicinity. We can be sure however that they had done so by 1928 when Felix Hernández published details of all those he could find. These five beams are in better condition, apart from the cut along the middle, than almost all those that he published, so would certainly have been included if he had known them. Two of them also have a design along the side that he does not reproduce at all in his comprehensive survey.
The beams were discovered stored at the back of a massive barn where, according to the previous owner, they had lain for decades. It had been hoped that they could be used for an architectural project that never materialised, so they remained there, unrecognised, until relatively recently. The verbal tradition in the family was that they had come originally through a property they had owned years ago in the region of Arles, Southern France. For them to have been on the market at the turn of the century in an area where there was always considerable interest in things Moorish is very probable.
Sources used in this note:
Centro Virtual Cervantes (http://www.cvc.cervantes.es/actcult/mezquita_cordoba/)
Manuel Nieto Complido, La Mezquita de Cordoba, planos y dibujos, Cordoba, 1992.
Manuel Nieto Complido, La Catedral de Cordoba, Cordoba, 1998
El Esplendor de los Omeyas Cordobeses, exhibition catalogue, Granada, 2001, esp.pp.248-9.
Jerrilynn D. Dodds (ed.), Al Andalus, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1992, esp.pp.11-27.
Christian Ewert and Jens-Peter Wisshak, Forschungen zur almohadischen Moschee, I, Vorstufen, Mainz, 1981.
Felix Hernández Jiménez, "Arte Musulmán. La Techumbre de la Gran Mezquita de Cordoba", Archivo Espanol de Arte y Arqueologia, 12, Madrid, 1928, pp.191-225.
Henri Stern, Les mosaiques de la grande mosquee de Cordoue, Berlin, 1976.
Henri Terrasse, L'Art Hispano-Mauresque des origines au 8ème siècle, Paris, 1932, esp.pp.128-141.
These beams are sold with the full authority and agreement of the Dean and Chapter of Cordoba Cathedral.