Co-SThe Chalice of Doña Urracaponsored Conference: The Medieval Iberian Treasury in the Context of Muslim-Christian Interchange
In collaboration with the departments of History and Art & Archaeology at Princeton and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) in Madrid, the Index will host a two-day interdisciplinary, international conference, “The Medieval Iberian Treasury in the Context of Muslim-Christian Interchange,” on May 19-20, 2017.

The medieval treasury serves as a unique material witness to the desires, aspirations, and self-conception of its creators. Treasuries could function as sources of gifts (and obligations) for their allies, as prestigious private storehouses for ostentation before an elite audience, or as financial reserves that could be made use of in times of need. Luxury items from non-Christian cultures, such as the many Islamic objects that found their way into church treasuries, or those made from materials of great intrinsic value, such as ivory, gold, silver, or silk, became even more valuable if the piece were turned to a sacred use. Our conference examines these dimension of the treasury by taking as its focus the rich collection of luxury objects at San Isidoro in León, in northern Spain. León’s treasury is distinctive in having survived to the present as a largely intact collection, rather than dispersed among museums or private collections, at best, or more often utterly lost. Moreover, San Isidoro’s extensive archive includes written references to ivories, textiles, and metalwork like those still preserved in the treasury. Taken as a whole, these texts and objects offer an uncommonly rich body of evidence for interdisciplinary investigation and serve as a springing point for larger questions about sumptuary collections in Europe during the central Middle Ages.

The conference brings together international and US scholars from multiple disciplines and professions, with specializations including Islamic law and sumptuary production, Christian manuscripts and metalwork, patronage and royal studies, identity and gender studies, and cultural and political history. The diversity of questions and perspectives that these scholars bring to the conference will shed light on the nature of León as a paradigmatic treasury collection, as well as on the broad potential of multidisciplinary study of the Middle Ages. Speakers will include:

Jerrilynn Dodds, Sarah Lawrence College

Amanda Dotseth, The Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University

Maria Judith Feliciano, Independent Scholar

Maribel Fierro, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Julie Harris, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Eva Hoffman, Tufts University

Jitske Jasperse, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Eduardo Manzano, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Therese Martin, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Pamela Patton, Index of Christian Art, Princeton University

Ana Rodríguez, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

David Wasserstein, Vanderbilt University

Ittai Weinryb, Bard Graduate Center