Mudéjar (,also ,Spanish: [mu'ðexa?], Portuguese: [mu'ða?]; Catalan: mudèjar [mu'ð?]; Arabic: ?, translit. mudajjan, lit. 'tamed; domesticated') refers to an architecture and decoration style in (post-Moorish) Christian Iberia that was strongly influenced by Moorish taste and workmanship, reaching its greatest expression in medieval Aragon, Andalusia and the city of Toledo. Mudéjar also refers to the large group of Muslims in Spain who remained in Christian Iberia despite being their territories being reconquered. The distinctive Mudéjar style is still evident in regional architecture, as well as in music,art, and crafts, especially Hispano-Moresque ware, lustreware pottery that was widely exported across Europe. The Mudéjar style was first characterized as a specific aesthetic trend by Spanish art historian Pedro de Madrazo in 1888. This important distinction clarified that the specific qualities were not just signature of specific artisans or craftsmen but it was the collective aesthetic style of Mudéjar Muslims in the Iberian peninsula.
Mudéjar was originally the term used for Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus who remained in Iberia after the Christian Reconquista but were not initially forcibly converted to Christianity or forcibly exiled. The word Mudéjar references several historical interpretations and cultural borrowings.It was a medieval Spanish borrowing of the Arabic word Mudajjan ?, meaning "tamed", referring to Muslims who submitted to the rule of Christian kings. The term likely originated as a taunt, as the word was usually applied to domesticated animals such as poultry. The term Mudéjar also can be translated from Arabic as "one permitted to remain," which references Christians allowing Muslims to remain in Christian Spain. Another term with the same meaning, ahl al-dajn ("people who stay on"), was used by Muslim writers, notably al-Wansharisi in his work Kitab al-Mi'yar. Mudéjars in Spain lived under a protected tributary status known as dajn which references ahl al-dajn. This protected status suggested subjugation at the hands of Christian rulers as the word dajn resembled haywan?t d?jina which meant "tame animals." Their protected status was enforced by the fueros or local charters which dictated Christians laws. Based off of primary sources, Muslims of other regions outside of the Iberian Peninsula disapproved of the Mudéjar subjugated status and their willingness to live with non-Muslims.
Mudéjar was used in contrast to both Muslims in Muslim-ruled areas (for example, Muslims of Granada before 1492) and Moriscos, who were forcibly converted and may or may not have continued to secretly practice Islam. A related word is mozarab, which refers to a Christian individual living under Islamic rule.
The Treaty of Granada (1491) protected religious and cultural freedoms for Muslims in the imminent transition from the Emirate of Granada to a Province of Castile. After the fall of the last Islamic kingdom in the Battle of Granada in January 1492, Mudéjars, unlike the Jews who were expelled that same year, kept a protected religious status, although there were Catholic efforts to convert them. However, over the next several decades this religious freedom deteriorated. Islam was outlawed in Portugal by 1497, the Crown of Castile by 1502, and the Crown of Aragon by 1526, forcing the Mudéjars to convert or in some cases leave the country. Following the forced conversion, they then faced suspicions that they were not truly converted but remained crypto-Muslims, and were known as Moriscos. The Moriscos, too, were eventually expelled, in 1609–1614.
The Muslim population in Castile originally immigrated from Toledo. They were not aboriginal to the land in Castile. Muslim immigration into Castile was sponsored settlement by the Christian government. It is hypothesized that the slow-growing Christian population demonstrated a need to bring more people into Castile. Primary documents written by the Spanish in Castile in the 13th century indicate that Muslims were able to maintain some agency while in Spain. The Mudéjars were able to maintain their religion, their laws, and they had their own judges. The Mudéjars in Castile spoke the Romance languages and dialects as their Christian neighbors.
Like the Mudéjars in Castile, Aragonese Mudéjars also spoke the Romance languages of their Christian counterparts. However, unlike the Mudéjars in Castile, there were Muslim villages in Aragon which populated the land before Christian conquests, setting up a history of Muslim cultivation and population of the land. Besides the large Muslim populations in Granada and Valencia, the Aragonese farmers was the most well-established Muslim community in the region. Aragonese Muslims were under the jurisdiction of the Christian Crown and were designated a special status. This status applied to the Mudéjar cultivators, the exarici, and this status made them subservient to their Christian superiors because by law, they were required to cultivate the land of royal estates. However, this status was also beneficial as the law suggested that this land be passed down through Muslim family members. Despite their expulsion at the end of the Morisco period, the Mudéjars in Aragon left evidence of their style in architecture.
In the 13th century, the Aragonese Christians conquered Valencia. Unlike in Aragon, the Mudéjar population in Valencia vastly outnumbered Christians in the area. In Valencia, many communities were Arabic-speaking and Muslim. Although there was a disparity between Christians and Muslims, it is important to note that a Christian king ruled over Valencia, and not a sultan or an imam and this shaped the experience of Mudéjars in this region. An effect of Christian rule were the outbreaks of rioting against Mudéjars in Valencia. Mudéjar communities were frequently attacked by Christian rioters, despite being protected by the Crown. Violence against Mudéjars in Valencia was common.
The architectural style of Mudéjar is a combination of the traditional ornamental Islamic elements and the Christian Romanesque style, taking place primarily in Spain in the 13th century, though influencing the architecture of other countries and regions, such as Portugal and even Latin America. Islamic ornamentation includes stylized calligraphy and intricate geometric and vegetal forms, and the classic architectural Mudéjar elements include the horseshoe and multi-lobed arch, muqarna vaults, alfiz (molding around an arch), wooden roofing, fired bricks, glazed ceramic tiles, and ornamental stucco work. Mudéjar often makes use of girih geometric strapwork decoration, as used in Middle Eastern Islamic architecture, where Maghreb buildings tended to use vegetal arabesques. Scholars have sometimes considered the geometric forms, both girih and the complex vaultings of muqarnas, as innovative, and arabesques as retardataire, but in Al-Andalus, both geometric and vegetal forms are freely used and combined.
Even after Muslims were no longer employed in architecture, many of the elements they had introduced continued to be incorporated into Spanish architecture, giving it a distinctive appearance. The term Mudejar style was first coined in 1859 by the Andalusian historian and archeologist José Amador de los Ríos.
Historians agree that the Mudéjar style first developed in the town of Sahagún, León under Christian rule, as an adaptation of architectural and ornamental motifs, especially through decoration with plasterwork and brick. Mudéjar then extended to the rest of the Kingdom of León, Toledo, Ávila, Segovia, etc., giving rise to what has been called brick Romanesque style. Centers of Mudéjar art are found in other cities, such as Toro, Cuéllar, Arévalo and Madrigal de las Altas Torres.
It became most highly developed in Aragon, especially in Teruel but also in towns such as Zaragoza, Utebo, Tauste, Daroca, and Calatayud. During the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, many imposing Mudéjar-style towers were built in the city of Teruel, changing the aspect of the city. This distinction has survived to the present day. Mudéjar led to a fusion between the incipient Gothic style and the Muslim influences that had been integrated with late Romanesque. A particularly fine Mudéjar example is the Casa de Pilatos, built in the early 16th century at Seville. Seville includes many other examples of Mudéjar style. The Alcázar of Seville is considered one of the greatest surviving examples. The Alcázar includes Gothic and Renaissance styles, as well as Mudéjar. The palace originally began as a Moorish fort. Pedro of Castile continued the Islamic architectural style when he ordered the palace expanded. The parish church of Santa Catalina (pictured) was built in the 14th century over an old mosque.
While international interest tends to emphasize Mudéjar masonry, including the sophisticated use of bricks and tiles, Spanish scholars also note Mudéjar carpentry, as well as the combination of the two. Several churches have slanting wooden ceilings supported by transverse arches of stone, called diaphragms.
Portugal also has examples of Mudéjar art and architecture, although the examples are fewer and the style simpler in decoration than in neighbouring Spain. Mudéjar brick architecture is only found in the apse of the Church of Castro de Avelãs , near Braganza, which is similar to the prototypical Church of Sahagún in León. A hybrid Gothic-Mudéjar style also developed in the Alentejo province in southern Portugal during the 15th and 16th centuries, where it overlapped with the Manueline style. The windows of the Royal Palace and the Palace of the Counts of Basto in Évora are good examples of this style. Decorative arts of Mudéjar inspiration are also found in the tile patterns of churches and palaces, such as the 16th-century tiles, imported from Seville, that decorate the Royal Palace of Sintra. Mudéjar wooden roofs are found in churches in Sintra, Caminha, Funchal, Lisbon and some other places.
The architectural style and ornamentation of Mudéjar was embraced by Spanish Christians and traveled across the world for the next four centuries. Mudéjar quickly became part of the architectural history of Latin America, especially in present day Mexico and Peru.
The Church of San Miguel in Sucre, Bolivia, provides an example of Mudéjar in Latin America. The interior decorations and the open floor floor plan are derived from that of Spanish mosques. The Islamic preoccupation with geometry can be seen through its octagonal patterned wood ceiling and the underside of the supporting arches are carved with a vegetable motif based on the arabesque. San Miguel is a direct inheritor of the Mudéjar and Islamic architecture tradition of the expansion and multiplication of an initial pattern. Around the octagonal dome, there are more wooden ceiling panels carved with the same pattern as the church's ceiling.
Other examples of Mudéjar art and architecture can be found in Coro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Venezuela, and the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo in Havana, Cuba.. The Monastery of San Francisco in Lima, Peru also contains Mudéjar art and architecture. The vaults of the central and two side naves are painted in Mudéjar style. The halls of the head cloister are inlaid with Sevillian glazed tiles, and the main altar is made entirely from carved wood.
The dominant geometrical character, distinctly Islamic, emerged conspicuously in the crafts: elaborate tilework, brickwork, wood carving, plasterwork, ceramics, and ornamental metals. Objects, as well as ceilings and walls, were often decorated with intensely complicated designs, as Mudéjar artists were not only interested in relaying wonder, but also continued the practice of horror vacui, or a fear of empty spaces. Thus, many aspects of Islamic art were packed with intricate and beautiful patterns and imagery. Many decorative arts were applied to architecture, such as the tiling and ceramic work, as well as carving practices.
To enliven the surfaces of wall and floor, Mudéjar style developed complicated tiling patterns. The motifs on tile work are often abstract, leaning more on vegetal designs and straying from figural images (which is common in Islamic work). The colors of tile work of the Mudéjar period are much brighter and more vibrant than other European styles. The production process was also unique: the tile was fired before it was cut into smaller, more manageable pieces. This approach meant that the tiles and glaze work shrank less in the firing process, and retained their designs more clearly. This meant the tiles were able to be laid closer together with less grout, making the compositions more intricate and cohesive.
Islamic Mudéjar ornamentation is also seen in wood, ivory, metalwork, and ceramics. Ceramics have long been a popular art form in Islamic work. Mudéjar style ceramics built upon techniques developed in the early centuries of Islamic art. Pottery centers all over Spain - e.g. Paterna, Toledo, Seville - focused on making a range of objects, from bowls and plates to candlesticks and turrets, etc. Artists typically worked in three "styles:" green-purple ware (manganese green), (cobalt) blue ware, and gold ware (luster earthenware). In terms of color, tin glazes were added to waterproof the ceramics and also to create gloss, hence the reference to Islamic ceramics as 'lusterware.' This technique was carried on from the Nasrid period. Typically, they would apply a layer of opaque white glaze before the colors. On top, cobalt blue, green copper, and purple manganese oxides were used to make vibrant, traditional Islamic earthenware colors. Similar in tile and stucco work, ceramic motifs included vegetal patterns, in addition to figurative, calligraphy, and geometric patterns and images. There are also christian influences, as boats, fern leaves, hearts, castles, etc. appear in images.
Following the return to Christian rule, Muslims in Spain gave up their native Arabic in favor of the Spanish dialect of Castilian. However, they continued to write in Arabic, and this gave way to the Aljamiado literature. These texts were written in Spanish, but with Arabic letters. Most of this literature consisted of religious essays, poems, and epic, imaginary narratives. Often times, popular texts were translated into this Spanish-Arabic hybrid, and the traditional stories were even Islamized.