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unlikely that their skill in geometry greatly assisted them in the extraordinary combination
Fig.81 carrrar, al-Hamara
Fig.82. Mosque arcoal ova.
nature should divert your attention from the beauties of my work." The walls are covered with arabesques, apparently cast in moulds, and afterwards joined together. The orna
ments are in colours of gold, pink, light blue, and a dusky purple, the first colour being nearest the eye, and the last furthest from it; the general surface, however, is white. The
walls, to the height of four feet, were --- | lined with variously figured and coloured
# #32%:#&# porcelain mosaics, as were the floors. The
# £ Arabs of the Spanish caliphate appear
% -- | # to have known some mode of preventing |
the decay of paint and timber, for the | paintings, in which the medium for the --~- colour is not oil, retain the original fresh*- |*|*||* ness of their colours, and £ | -* || of the ceilings presents no symptoms of - - decomposition. It has been conjectured Fig. 81 Coupt'r or Tug 1.10Ns, A1-11 AMBRA. that the soundness of the wood through: - - - * out has arisen from the trees being lanced or drained of their sap at the time of felling; but it may be, that the coating of paint has had some effect in producing the result. Description conveys no notion of this extraordinary edifice: the reader who wishes to obtain one must refer to Murphy's work, already mentioned. 128. The third period of Arabian architecture is from the end of the thirteenth century to the decline of the Saracen power in Spain. During a portion of this period, it was used by the Spaniards themselves, and like the Gothic, in the northern and middle parts of Europe, was engrafted on the style which crept from Italy into all countries till the Renaissance. During this period were built the castles of Benavento, Penafiel, and Tordesillas; and the alcazars of Segovia and Seville. The plans continued much the same; but Greek ornaments began to appear, with Moresque arches on Corinthian columns. At this time, also, representations of the human figure are to be seen, which, by the laws of Mahomet, were strictly forbidden. There was a charm about this architecture which makes one almost regret that reason and advance in civilisation have extinguished it. 129. We are not to look to the works of the Arabians for the real grandeur which is exhibited in the works of Egypt, Greece, or Rome. Brick was the material most used. When stone was employed, it was covered with a coating of stucco. In their constructive combinations there is nothing to surprise. The domes which crown their apartments are neither lofty nor large in diameter, neither do they exhibit extraordinary mechanical skill. The Arabian architects seem to have been unacquainted with the science of raising vaults on lofty piers. In the specimen cited at Cordova, the span, from pier to pier is less than 20 ft., which would not have required much skill to vault, yet we find the ceilings of timber. The use of orders was unknown to them; the antique columns which they introduced were employed as they found them, or imitations of them, without an acquaintance with the types from which they were derived, with their principles or proportions. In truth,
their columns are posts. We do not find, in the forms of Arabian art, that character of originality which can be traced from local causes. The Arabians had spread themselves out in every direction, far from their own country, in which they had never cultivated the arts; hence their architecture was founded upon the models before them, which the
Byzantine school supplied. Of the forms of their arches,
some whereof are here exhibited (fig. 85.), the most favourite seems to have been the horse-shoe form. They may be ranged into two classes, – that just named, and the other, that wherein the curve is of contrary flexure, and described from
several centres. Both classes are vicious in respect of construction, from the impossibility of gaining resistance to thrust at the abutments. In masonry, such arches could not be executed on a large scale. In brick arches, however, the surface of the cement is so increased, that if it be good, and great care be used in not removing the centres till the cement is set, great variety of form in them may be hazarded. If the pleasure—perhaps we may say sensuality—of the eye is alone to be consulted, the Arabians have surpassed all other nations in their architecture. The exquisite lines on which their decorations are based, the fantasticness of their forms, to which colour was most tastefully superadded, are highly seductive. Their works have the air of fairy enchantment, and are only to be compared to that imagination with which the oriental poetry abounds. The variety and profusion wherewith they employed ornament impart to the interior masses of their apartments the appearance of a congeries of painting, incrustation, mosaic, gilding, and foliage; and this was probably much augmented by the Mahometan law, which excluded the representation of the human figure. If a reason be unnecessary for the admission of ornament, nothing could be more satisfactory than the splendour and brilliancy that resulted from their combinations. One of their practices, that of introducing light into their apartments by means of openings in the form of stars, has a magical effect. 130. We have principally confined ourselves, in the foregoing remarks, to the architecture of the Arabians as it is found in Spain, which, it is proper to observe, is only a class of the edifices in the style. There is so close a resemblance between the buildings of that country and those of other places that were, and still are, under the dominion of the Moors, Fig. 87. Eikvattox, House Ar Arasińs. that, allowing only for difference of climate, we might have left the subject without further illustration, but that we think the representation in figs. 86. and 87. of a Turkish house at Algiers, which we have extracted from Durand's Paralléle des Edifices, may give a better idea of Arabian architecture than a host of words. 131. In Mecca, the city of the Prophet, the houses are of stone, and three or four stories in height. The material employed in*** dicates solidity of construction. The streets are regular. The leading features are – the balconies covered with blinds; fronts of the houses much ornamented ; doors, with steps and small seats on both sides; roofs terraced, with very high parapets, opened at intervals by a railing formed of brick, in which holes are left for the circulation of the air, at the same time giving an ornamental appearance to the front; staircases narrow and inconvenient; rooms of good dimensions and well-proportioned, having, besides the principal windows, an upper tier. Damascus, of which a slight view (fig. 88.) is annexed, has been described as resembling a large camp of conical tents, which, on a nearer approach, are found to be small cupolas to the houses. Brick, sun-dried, is the principal material, and the forms of the roofs mentioned are absolutely necessary to protect against the winter rains. Streets generally narrow, houses well supplied with fountains, and containing a large number of houses that may be ranked as palaces. Mosques, many in number, but presenting none that are very remarkable. The bazaars and baths of considerable size and splendour. In Bagdad, there are many large squares. The gates erected by the caliphs are still in existence, and are fine specimens of Arabian art. Its walls of mud are 25 ft. in height, but within them are ramparts, carried on arches. In Bussorah, the most remarkable feature is the mode in which they construct their arches, which is effected without centres. 132. We do not think it necessary to detain the reader on the architecture of Moorish or Western Arabia. As in the eastern parts of the ancient empire, the houses usually consist of a court, whereof some or all of its sides are surrounded by galleries. Narrow rooms run generally parallel with the gallery, usually without any opening but the door
Fig. 85. ARABIAN ARCnh.3.
opening on to the gallery. Roofs are flat or terraced. Walls variously built, often of lime, plaster, and stones, carried up in a sort of casing, which is removed when the work is set.
From want of good timber, the rooms are narrow. The mosques are by no means worthy of notice. Fez, an ancient Arabian city, contains some lofty and spacious houses. Its streets are narrow, and on their first floors have projections which much interrupt the light. In the centre of each house is an open quadrangle, surrounded by a gallery, communicating with a staircase. Into this gallery the doors of the apartments open. The ceilings are lofty, the floors of brick. All the principal houses are supplied with cisterns in the lower parts, for furnishing a supply to the baths, a luxury with which also every mosque is provided. In this town there are nearly two hundred caravanseras or inns, three stories high, in each of whose apartments, varying from fifty to one hundred, water is laid on for ablution. The shops, as in Cairo, are very small; so much so, that the owner can reach all the articles he deals in without changing his posture. In Tripoli, the houses rarely exeeed one story in height; but we must be content with observing that the character is still the same. “Nec facies omnibus una, nec diversa tamen.” Though the late Sultan built a new palace in the Italian style at Constantinople, the Moslems will not easily relinquish a style inti
mately allied to their habits and religion, a style whereof fig. 89, will convey some idea to : reader. He is also referred to figs. 31, 32, and 33., as examples of the same style in ensla.
133. The architecture of Greece is identical with columnar architecture. Writers on the subject have so invariably treated the hut as the type on which it is formed, that, though we are not thoroughly satisfied of the theory being correct, it would be difficult to wander from the path they have trodden. In the section on Egyptian architecture, we have alluded to the tombs at Beni-hassan, and we here present a representation of a portion of them from a sketch with which we were favoured many years since by Mr. Charles Barry (fig. 90.). The reader will, in it, be struck by the appearance of the Doric column, almost in its purity. Wilkinson (Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians) is of opinion that the date of these tombs is 1740 B. c., that is, in the time of the first Osirtasen, an antiquity which can be assigned to no example in Greece. These tombs are excavated in a rock, a short distance from the Nile, on its right bank, about forty-eight French leagues south of Cairo. Two of them have architectural fronts like the above plate. The columns are five diameters and a half in height. The num- - ber of the flutes, which are shallow, is 20, Fig. 90. Toxin. At hEN1-11Assax. and the capital consists of a simple abacus. There are no indications of a base or plinth. Above the architrave, which is plain, there is a projecting ledge of the rock, somewhat resembling a cornice, whose soffit is sculptured, apparently in imitation of a series of reeds, laid transversely and horizontally. There certainly does, in this, appear some reference to imitation of a hut, and the refinement of the Greeks, in after ages, may have so extended the analogy as in the end to account for all parts of the entablature. The tradition doubtless existed long before Vitruvius wrote, who gives us nothing more than the belief of the architects of his time. The point is not, at this time, likely to be answered satisfactorily; if it could, it might be important, as leading to the solution of some points of detail, which limit the propriety or impropriety of certain forms in particular situations. Having thus cautioned the reader against implicit faith in the system we are about to develope, we shall preface it by the opinion, on this subject, of M. Quatremère de Quincy, an authority of great value in everything that relates to the art. Carpentry, says that writer, is incontestably the model upon which Greek architecture is founded; and of the three models which nature has supplied to the art, this is, beyond doubt, the finest and most perfect of all. And again, he observes, whoever bestows his attention on the subject, will easily perceive that, by the nature of it, it includes all those parts that are effective for utility and beauty, and that the simplest wooden hut has in it the germ of the most magnificent palace. 134. We must here premise that this section is strictly confined to the architecture of Greece and its colonies. Much confusion has arisen from the want of strict limits to the term Grecian Architecture, one which has been indiscriminately applied to all buildings in which the orders appear. The orders were altered in their profiles, proportions, and details by the Romans; and though between them and those of the Greeks there is a general resemblance, and their members are generally similar, yet, on a minute examination, great difference will be found. In the former, for instance, the contour of every moulding is a portion of a circle; in the latter, the contours of the mouldings are portions of conic sections. In Roman architecture, we find the dome, which in Greek architecture never occurs. In the latter, the arch is never seen; in the former, it is often an important feature. Indeed, the columnar style, as used by the Greeks, rendered arches unnecessary; hence, in all imitation of that style, its introduction produces a discord which no skill can render agreeable to the educated eye. Attempts have been made by the modern German architects to introduce the use of the arch with Greek forms; but they have been all signal failures, and that because it is incapable of amalgamation with the solemn majesty and purity of Greek composition. Before such blending can be accomplished with success, the nature of pure Greek architecture must be changed. 135. Following, then, the authors, ancient and modern, on the origin of the art, we now proceed to a development of its origin. The first trees or posts which were fixed in the earth for supporting a cover against the elements, were the origin of the isolated columns which afterwards became the supports of porticoes in temples. Diminishing in diameter