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(1,180 words)

Author(s): Vivian Mann
Records from the Cairo Geniza are the earliest indication that North African Jews were involved in selling carpets and prayer rugs. The first evidence is an eleventh-century receipt for prayer rugs sent from *Qayrawan to *Cairo. That Jews became patrons of carpets in the Middle Ages is known from an early fourteenth-century rug in the form of a runner that is also the earliest surviving medieval rug made on the Iberian Peninsula (fig. 1). The basic composition of the rug is of the type known as the “sacred tree,” a central trunk with flowering branches, but it is the form of the “…

Art of Islamic Lands

(5,556 words)

Author(s): Vivian Mann
The Jewish presence in the Near East, even beyond the borders of ancient Israel, preceded the coming of Islamic rule by hundreds, even more than a thousand years. As a result, the earliest known examples of Israelite visual arts in what became the Dār al-Islām (Ar. Abode of Islam), like the carved ivories from Arslan Tash (ninth–eighth century B.C.E.), are rooted in ancient Near Eastern artistic traditions. The Roman conquest of Judea resulted in the building of Roman cities and the importation of classical art, particularly in ancient Is…
Date: 2022-09-20