Reliquary Casket of Saint Dominic of Silos, Cuenca, 1026AD



Detail of the Horseman on the Casket


Photo by Rowanwindwhistler

Click for details of Archers on the front of the Reliquary Casket of Saint Dominic of Silos, Cuenca, 1026AD
Click for the back of the Reliquary Casket of Saint Dominic of Silos, Cuenca, 1026AD
Arqueta de marfil y esmaltes. Taller de Cuenca (Muhammad ibn Zayan), ańo 1026. Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos. Museo de Burgos.
Ivory and enamel casket, Cuenca workshop, (Muhammad ibn Zayan), 1026. The monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos. Burgos Museum.



Referenced as figure 499 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
499. Ivory box from Cuenca 1026 AD, Andalusian, Archaeological Museum, Burgos.

p22 The great majority of art sources, however, portray swords that have tips that are either so rounded as to make a thrusting blow impossible or are so regularly broad along their length as to be clearly designed for cut rather than thrust. In the 7th century (Figs. 111, 112, 113, 114, 116 and 141), 8th century (Figs. 118, 102 and 470), 9th century (Figs. 143, 202, 447 and 502), 10th century (Figs. 213A, 316, 317, 347, 350, 354, 496, 505 and 507) and 11th century (Figs. 153, 194, 361, 363, 497, 499, 517 and 597) these forms of sword clearly predominated throughout the Muslim world.

p168 Of course, lighter, non-metallic armours were worn and the more limited protection that they gave was either accepted or improved by the wearing of additional defences. Quilted armour, for example, gave protection against the impact of a blow, but helped little against penetration by a sharp object (Figs. 44, 61B, 67, 72, 74, 75, 165, 187, 194, 207, 233, 249, 271, 292, 320, 320, 350, 392, 445, 447, 450, 453, 499, 517, 575, 580C-D, 587 and 596). Hence one tended to find quilted armours, such as the bughlutāq and khaftān being used in conjunction with scale, mail or lamellar in Islam, Byzantium and western Europe.

p175 A certain amount of confusion could surround mail. Its rings were widely referred to in Arabic as zard, zared or zird, which is a term very close to the sard scales of the dirʿ. There does, however, seem to have been a clear distinction between the two terms from the 10th to 14th centuries (see Terminology). The situation in Persian-speaking areas was simpler, for here the term zirih quite clearly referred to mail.43 The pictorial evidence, some of it very stylized and having to be interpreted with caution, shows that mail hauberks of various shapes, long (Figs. 330, 333, 335, 447, 501, 520, 537, 543, 600, and 639) or short (Figs. 134, 196, 246, 267, 292, 294, 305, 392, 515, 522, 541, 598, and 599), with long (Figs.161, 174, 241, 250, 270, 298, 305, 345, 346, 347, 348, 350, 375, 428, 435, 438, 442, 494, 500, 519, 535, 538, 540, 543, 545A-F and H, and 551B) or short sleeves (Figs. 262, 286, 288, 292, 339, 444, 446, 499, 521, 546A, 551, 601, 606, and 661), some opening down the front (Figs. 324F and 641) and others put on over the head (Figs. 157, 316, 377, 422, 517, and 549), were all used in most regions of Islam in most periods.44

p433 Such mail hauberks, with or without mail ventails across the faces do appear in northern Spanish illustrations of "enemies," and in Mozarabic art worn by both infantry and cavalry (Figs. 499, 515 and 517 ). The majority of Andalusian, and indeed of Spanish, cavalry would still not have owned hauberks. They might, however, have worn felt or leather armour of a style similar to that seen in the 10th century (Figs. 497, 499, 511 and 514 ). One such armour is almost certainly worn by a foot soldier in a Mozarabic manuscript from this period. Here it seems to be made of large pieces crudely stitched together (Fig. 517 ). Yet these illustrated sources remain far from clear. Others, which may show Andalusian warriors, almost certainly illustrate unarmoured light cavalry, although even here a hauberk could be hidden beneath another garment in a style fashionable elsewhere in Islam (Figs. 490 and 510).



Referenced on p8, The Moors - The Islamic West - 7th-15th Centuries AD by David Nicolle
Details from another and simpler carved ivory box, made in Cuenca in AD 1026 probably for a member of the Arab Andalusian aristocracy. The workmanship is simple but realistic, showing a cavalryman riding with short stirrup leathers. His clothing probably represents an ordinary tunic or quilted soft armour. The archer, however, is certainly wearing a short-sleeved mail hauberk. His bow is of the traditional large Arab infantry type, and he has arrows thrust into his belt. (Museo Arqueologico, Burgos, Spain)



See also:
Mounted Hunters on an Umayyad Casket from Cordoba, c.966-968. David Collection Museum, Copenhagen.
Ivory Pyxis of Ziyad ibn Aflah, Umayyad Spain, c. 969-970. Victoria and Albert Museum
Ivory Pyxis from Madinat al-Zahra, Umayyad Spain, 970AD. Louvre Museum.
Leyre (or Pamplona) Casket, Umayyad Spain, 1004-1005AD. Museo de Pamplona (Navarra)
The Pila, an Islamic Ablution Basin, Spain, early to mid 11th century. Archaeological Museum, Xativa (Jativa), Spain.
Soldiers on a Moorish Casket from Cuenca, c.1049AD. National Museum of Archaeology, Madrid

Other Spanish and North African resources
Other 11th Century resources