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Mind and Hand: Early Scientific Instruments from al-Andalus, and ʿAbbas ibn Firnas in the Cordoban Umayyad Court

Mind and Hand: Early Scientific Instruments from al-Andalus, and ʿAbbas ibn Firnas in the... AbstractThis essay explores the symbiotic relationship between visual culture and the exact sciences that is revealed by the career of ʿAbbas b. Firnas (d. circa 876), as recounted in the Cordoban court chronicle compiled by the historian Ibn Hayyan (d. 1076), and by early scientific instruments from al-Andalus. Ibn Firnas is today remembered as a polymath and early scientist, yet neither historians of art nor of science have fully explored the implications of his reputation among medieval intellectuals as the wellspring of an Andalusi tradition of fine scientific instrumentation. This essay considers the Arabic account of Ibn Firnas as a maker of such objects, alongside early scientific instruments, exploring what these reveal about connections between elite intellectual culture and craft, between science and art making. It argues that considering the objects and texts in tandem reveals that intellectuals, especially those working in the exact sciences, were also “makers” of medieval Islamic visual culture. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Muqarnas Online Brill

Mind and Hand: Early Scientific Instruments from al-Andalus, and ʿAbbas ibn Firnas in the Cordoban Umayyad Court

Muqarnas Online , Volume 37 (1): 28 – Oct 2, 2020

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
eISSN
2211-8993
DOI
10.1163/22118993-00371P02
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThis essay explores the symbiotic relationship between visual culture and the exact sciences that is revealed by the career of ʿAbbas b. Firnas (d. circa 876), as recounted in the Cordoban court chronicle compiled by the historian Ibn Hayyan (d. 1076), and by early scientific instruments from al-Andalus. Ibn Firnas is today remembered as a polymath and early scientist, yet neither historians of art nor of science have fully explored the implications of his reputation among medieval intellectuals as the wellspring of an Andalusi tradition of fine scientific instrumentation. This essay considers the Arabic account of Ibn Firnas as a maker of such objects, alongside early scientific instruments, exploring what these reveal about connections between elite intellectual culture and craft, between science and art making. It argues that considering the objects and texts in tandem reveals that intellectuals, especially those working in the exact sciences, were also “makers” of medieval Islamic visual culture.

Journal

Muqarnas OnlineBrill

Published: Oct 2, 2020

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