Plunder of war or objects of trade? the reuse and reception of Andalusi objects in medieval Pisa

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7 Scopus citations


Interaction between the medieval republic of Pisa and the territories of Sharq al-Andalus began early in the eleventh century and was characterized by fierce military confrontations, peaceful trade, and the importation of numerous Andalusi commodities into the Tuscan city. This article will explore the nature of the Andalusi objects imported into Pisa and the varied understandings of these objects based on the quality and type of object as well as their secondary context in the city. On important civic structures, reused Andalusi artworks were understood as plunder of war, associated with epic battles through literary texts and monumental inscriptions. On other religious buildings, imports from Muslim Spain had greater resonance as fruits of lucrative trade, luxury commodities that manifested the cultural sophistication of Pisa's citizens. In all cases, however, Andalusi objects had overwhelmingly positive associations for medieval Pisans, as they alluded to the source of the city's wealth and fame - extensive and profitable commercial exchange with Muslim territories in the Western Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-258
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Medieval Iberian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


  • Mediterranean
  • Pisa
  • al-Andalus
  • ceramics
  • commerce
  • plunder
  • reception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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