Beyond Borders: Images of games, images of harmony?

See on Scoop.itMedieval Manuscripts | Medieval Palaeography

In the study of medieval Spain the term of the convivencia is well known. However, the harmonious image that has often been associated with it has been frequently challenged. The illusion of a peaceful and tolerant coexistence has been dispelled by studies that uncovered episodes of intolerance and violence. One document that has sometimes been used to illustrate the harmony between Muslims, Jews and Christians is the libro de los juegos or libro del ajedrez, dados y tablas. This manuscript, created in Seville in 1283, primarily contains texts on chess, but also on dice and tables. Its illuminations show a wide array of figures, Kings and peasant, men and women, but also representations of Christians, Jews and Muslims. It is not hard to fathom why such imagery of figures of different religions being involved in games of intellect and chance could be used to illustrate their harmonious lives along side each other. Yet, a closer look reveals that this manuscript by no means lacks political and ideological meaning. 
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