By the 13th century, Muslim women in the Southeastern villages of al-Andalus were weaving carpets that were of sufficient quality to be appreciated by Castilian royalty. By the 15th century, they were making carpets in sufficient quantity to be exported to all of the major Iberian cities and throughout the Mediterranean. What can the surviving examples from the 15th and 16th centuries - as well as documents - tell us about the mechanisms of patronage and the development of this craft in Europe? How were these carpets perceived and used outside of their Islamic context? Dr. Ecker will explore various historical approaches that help to uncover both the economically and aesthetically important early modern industry of Spanish carpet weaving.
“We are honored to have been able to invite Dr. Ecker, a leading scholar on Islamic Spain to present a subject rarely discussed that reflects on the lasting impression of its heritage,” said Dr. Sokoly, assistant Professor in Art History and Gallery Director at VCUQatar.
Dr. Heather Ecker is Head of the Department of the Arts of Asia and the Islamic World, and Curator of Islamic Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Currently engaged in the design and construction of the new Gallery of Islamic Art, Dr. Ecker was also recently the in-house curator of the show The Private World of the Mughal Emperors of India - Albums of Paintings and Calligraphy from the Chester Beatty Library. She was curator of the show Caliphs and Kings - The Art and Influence of Islamic Spain at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, and the author of its catalogue. She is a former post-doctoral fellow of the Smithsonian Institution and the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford as well as undergraduate degrees from Harvard University and the University of London. Her recent publications include: “Piedras árabes: Rodrigo Caro y su traducción de las inscripciones árabes de Sevilla (1634),” in Los Plomos del Sacromonte, invención y tesoro, Eds. Manuel Barrios Aguilera and Mercedes García-Arenal. Valencia: Publicacions de la Universitat de València, 2006, pp. 335-384; “How to administer a conquered city in al-Andalus: mosques, parish churches and parishes,” in Under the Influence: Questioning the Comparative in Medieval Iberia, eds. Cynthia Robinson and Leyla Rouhi. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2005, pp. 45-65, and “The Great Mosque of Córdoba in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,” Muqarnas XX (2003), pp. 113-141.
The lecture is presented on 15, April 2009 at 7:30 PM in the Atrium in VCUQatar and is open to the public.