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From Raw Materials to a Compound and Back Again: A Look at One Element

From Raw Materials to a Compound and Back Again: A Look at One Element of Crusader Architecture

Grabiner, Esther (The David Azrieli School of Architecture, Tel Aviv University)

Assaph – Studies in Art History, Vol.6 (2001)

Abstract

During the 12th century new architectural elements and motifs appeared in the Near East and in Western Europe in parallel. These were amalgamations of Eastern and Western technical practices and traditions of form, which were in themselves grafts affixed onto Roman heritage. Remnants of Roman architecture and instances of its secondary usage, common in Medieval landscapes in both East and West, served as a basis for reprise, interpretation and elaboration. Several components of Crusader architecture in Palestine can be perceived as an offspring of this process, as a reflection on it, and/or as its catalyzer. Thus, exploration of the decorative potential enfolded in the mode of laying arch stones yielded a wide range of interpretations. These include, for example, the gadroon arch, the zigzag arch and the arch of adjoining discs. Moreover, the very geometry of the arch was subject to variations.

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