A restored medieval depiction of the Crusades shows how England embraced Islamic culture

(RNS) — An 800-year-old puzzle about a set of 13th-century floor tiles has added to historians’ thinking about the relationship of Europeans and Arabs at the time of the Crusades.

Amanda Luyster, assistant visual arts professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, has spent more than two decades studying the so-called combat series, a group of floor tiles uncovered in the 1850s at the ruins of Chertsey Abbey, some 20 miles southwest of London.

Amanda Luyster, assistant visual arts professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, has spent more than two decades studying the so-called combat series, a group of floor tiles uncovered in the 1850s at the ruins of Chertsey Abbey, some 20 miles southwest of London.

Luyster’s research findings underpin the exhibition “Bringing the Holy Land Home: The Crusades, Chertsey Abbey, and the Reconstruction of a Medieval Masterpiece,” which runs Jan. 26 to April 6 at the college’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery.

The tiles, which were illustrated and annotated with Latin inscriptions, are among the most significant medieval objects of their kind from England, if not all of Europe, according to Luyster. But since the discovery of the highly fragmented tiles, scholars had largely focused on reconstructing the illustrations, which include scenes of Richard the Lionheart battling Saladin in the Third Crusade a half-century before. The Latin text was too badly broken up at the time to be pieced together and read.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION NEWS

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