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This book traces the history of manuscript production in the Islamic West between the 10th and the 12th centuries. It interrogates the material evidence that survives from this period, paying special attention to the origin and development of Maghribī round scripts, the distinctive form of Arabic writing employed in al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia) and Northwest Africa.
More than 200 dated manuscripts written in Maghribī round scripts - many of which have not previously been published and are of great historical significance - are presented and discussed. This leads to a reconstruction of the activity of Maghribī calligraphers, copyists, notaries and secretaries, creating a better understanding of the development of their practices.
Using a blend of art historical methods, palaeographic analyses and a thorough scrutiny of Arabic sources, the author paints a comprehensive and lively picture of Maghribī manuscript culture, from its beginnings under the Umayyads of Cordova until the heyday of the Almohad caliphate. He lifts the veil on a glorious, yet neglected season in the history of Arabic calligraphy, shedding new light on a tradition that was crucial for the creation of the Andalusī identity and its spread throughout the medieval Mediterranean.