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A Bridge to the Sky

The Arts of Science in the Age of 'Abbas Ibn Firnas

Anderson, Glaire D. (Senior Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh)

A Bridge to the Sky

A Bridge to the Sky

The Arts of Science in the Age of 'Abbas Ibn Firnas

A Bridge to the Sky

 

A Bridge to the Sky explores the close connections between science, arts, and visual culture as they developed in the medieval Islamic lands. It presents a significant study of the career of 'Abbas Ibn Firnas, (d.


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Beschrijving A Bridge to the Sky

In times of widespread Islamophobia, there is an understandable motivation for constructing scientific achievement as a counternarrative in popular discourse about Islam. Yet doing so has tended to impose an anachronistic conception of "science" onto pre-modern practices while also obscuring wider views of the intellectual, philosophical, and particularly the material context of medieval scientific achievement. An exemplary case study for this phenomenon is the figure of 'Abbas Ibn Firnas (d. 887), a celebrated early scientist, Córdoban courtier, and polymath. Ibn Firnas is best known today for conducting an early aeronautics experiment, which was commemorated by NASA. Some historians have called it the first successful human flight. The earliest and fullest account of Ibn Firnas' career in the Umayyad court includes the aeronautics experiment, and a great deal more on his achievements in the arts and design but has yet to receive sustained scholarly attention. That account, as preserved in a volume of the Muqtabas of Ibn Hayyan (d. 1076), the Cordoban court chronicle, presents Ibn Firnas as both the leading intellectual of early Islamic Iberia and as a pioneering figure in the design and construction of the court's first fine scientific instruments and space of scientific visualization.

A Bridge to the Sky reconstructs the account of Ibn Firnas' career to explore the exact sciences, design, and making as interconnected intellectual practices during the first flowering of the Islamic scientific revolution. Glaire D. Anderson deftly weaves analyses of the Arabic texts alongside the striking contemporaneous visual evidence, including some of the earliest surviving Islamic scientific instruments and illustrated treatises that are, as argued here, also works of art. A Bridge to the Sky thus offers both an intellectual biography of the intriguing figure of Ibn Firnas alongside an exploration of the culture of scientific learning in Umayyad al-Andalus. As a novel examination of the social significance of science, design and craftsmanship in medieval Iberia and the Islamic lands during the "classical" period of Islamic civilization, A Bridge to the Sky opens new avenues of study in the fields of medieval Islamic studies and art history, visual and material culture studies, and history of science.


ISBN
9780190913243
Pagina's
240
Verschenen
NUR
680
Druk
1
Uitvoering
Hardback
Taal
Engels
Uitgever
OUP USA

Geschiedenis