good fortune and prosperity...

posted on 26 Nov 2012 14:49 by Elena Pinto Simon
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Just before the Thanksgiving break, members of the BGC community gathered in the Seminar Room to hear a wonderful presentation from our Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamic Arts and Material Culture, Abigail Balbale.


Prof. Balbale spoke in our monthly WIP series (Works-in-Progress), a lunchtime seminar series that allows current faculty to talk to students, faculty and staff about a current project they are thinking about and working

Prof. Balbale spoke to us about “The Travels and Transformations of an Arabic Inscription in Medieval Spain” — focusing on a particular Arabic inscription from a decorative motif used on Islamic portable objects into the unifying epigraphic thread tying together several late medieval Iberian buildings. The inscription, al-yumn wa ’l-iqbāl (good fortune and prosperity), is written in a very abstract style that it is often difficult to decipher.
The buildings on which they are found date from the late 13th through early 14th centuries. The buildings themselves were made for both the Christian and the Jewish community. Prof. Balbale theorized about how this short secular phrase found itself imbedded into the walls of churches and synagogues.


The WIP series has been ongoing for a number of years now at the BGC, and provides an informal discussion opportunity for both the presenter, and the community. Dean Peter Miller and Professor Ken Ames will be leading sessions in the late winter and early spring.