Architecture of the Islamic West: North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, 700–1800

Books about the arts of al-Andalus and the Maghrib typically focus on a country, an era, city or single building. Bloom, however, looks at architecture from southern Spain through Northwest Africa as “a distinct tradition in its own right.” Each chapter offers a map, ample illustrations and historical context, along with descriptions that both underscore the diversity within the region’s architecture and single out shared traits, distinctive contributions and their impact on other locales. A leading scholar of Islamic art, Bloom takes a practical, evidentiary approach. He points to local circumstances—from availability of materials to political ambitions—as playing a more important role than influences from distant centers in the Islamic East. He questions assumptions and avoids speculative interpretations and overarching conclusions. Like a gardener loosening hard-packed soil to sow new seeds, he lays the foundation for future research while providing a revealing, well-grounded, accessible overview of an architecturally rich region all too often deemed no more than “a provincial offshoot.”
 
 
Architecture of the Islamic West: North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, 700–1800

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