Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title An Art Object on the Cross-Cultural Change: The Eleanor of Aquitaine Vase
Author email
About author Belova, Olga Dmitrievna — postgraduate student. Humboldt University in Berlin, The Institute ofHistory of Art, Unter den Linden, 6, D-10099 Berlin, Germany.
In the section Western European Mediaeval Art DOI10.18688/aa177-3-37
Year 2017 Volume 7 Pages 374382
Type of article RAR Index UDK 748;7.033.3;7.033.5(44)1;73.027.2 ББК: 85.125 А43 DOI: 10.18688/aa177-3-37 Index BBK 85.125


The main topic of the research is the so-called Eleanor of Aquitaine vase which is now housed in the collection of the Louvre. The provenance of the vase can be exactly traced back to the middle of the12th century, when it came to Paris as a wedding gift to Louis VII. It was later transferred to Abbot Suger and kept in the treasury of Saint-Denis, before it passed to the Louvre in 1793. The first purpose of our research is to try to clear the circumstances of the creation of the Eleanor of Aquitaine vase. Therefore, all the versions of possible identification of the vase’s presumable first owner Mitadolus with a particular historical figure, proposed in the scientific literature, should be studied carefully in order to consider the possibility of a meeting between this person and William of Aquitaine. The monument itself should be analyzed as one among many objects made of rock crystal or other comparable material of obviously similar origin (“from the East”). Secondly, very important goal of this work is to trace the history of the perception of the object in the 12th century France through the changes which happened to it: the physical one (mounting) and the spiritual one (a kind of religious change). Additionally, the article deals with the general problem of the existence and the “assimilation” of rock crystal items, which are presumably of Eastern (Islamic) origin, in the medieval Christian West, where they were highly valued during the Middle Ages.

Reference Belova, Olga D. An Art Object on the Cross-Cultural Change: The Eleanor of Aquitaine Vase. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 7. Ed. S. V. Mal’tseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova, A. V. Zakharova. — St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Univ. Press, 2017, pp. 374–382. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
  • 1. Alcouffe D. La galerie d’Apollon. — Paris: Musée du Louvre, Département des objets d’art, 1980 — 16 p.
  • 2. Alcouffe D., Gaborit-Chopin G. Vase D’Alienor // Le tresor de Saint-Denis. Exhibition catalogue, Musée du Louvre, 12 March to 17 June 1991 / Ed. D. Alcouffe. — Paris: Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1991. — P. 170–172.
  • 3. Beech G. T. The Eleanor of Aquitaine Vase: Its Origins and History to the Еarly Twelfth Century // Ars Orientalis. — 1992. — Vol. 22 — P. 69–79.
  • 4. Beech G. T. The Eleanor of Aquitaine Vase, William X of Aquitaine and Muslim Spain // Gesta. — 1993. — Vol. 23. — P. 3–10.
  • 5. Contadini A. The Сutting Edge. The Problems of History, Identification and Technique of Fatimid Rock Crystals // L’Egypt Fatimide, son art et son histoire / Ed. M. Barrucand. — Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 1999. — P. 319–329.
  • 6. Contadini A. Translocation and Transformation: Some Middle Eastern Objects in Europe // The Power of Things and the Flow of Cultural Transformations / Eds. L. Saurma-Jeltsch, A. Eisenbeiss. — Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2010. — P. 42–64.
  • 7. Conway M. W. The Abbey of Saint Denis and its ancient treasures // Archeologia. — 1915. — Vol. 45. — P. 103–158.
  • 8. Erdmann K. Islamische Bergkristallarbeiten // Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen. — 1940. — Bd. 61. — S. 125–146.
  • 9. Erdmann K. Fatimid Rock Crystals // Oriental Art. — 1951. — Vol. 3. — № 4. — P. 142–146.
  • 10. Gaborit-Chopin G. Suger’s Liturgical Vessels // Abbot Suger and Saint-Denis. A Simposium / Ed. P. L. Gerson. — New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. — P. 282–293.
  • 11. Gerson P. L. A West Facade of St.-Denis: An Iconographic Study: Ph. D. Thesis. — New York: Columbia University, 1970. — 256 p.
  • 12. Gerson P. L. Suger as Iconographer: The Central Portal of the West Facade of Saint-Denis // Abbot Suger and Saint-Denis. A Simposium / Ed. P. L. Gerson. — New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. — P. 183–198.
  • 13. Hoffmann K. Älteste, Vierundzwanzig // Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie. Teilband 1. — Rom; Freiburg: Verlag Herder, 1968. — S. 107–110.
  • 14. Lamm C. J. Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnitzarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten. — Berlin: Reimer, 1930. — 556 S.
  • 15. Panofsky E. Abbot Suger: On the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis and its Art Treasure. — Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946. — 250 p.
  • 16. Shalem A. Islam Christianized: Islamic Portable Objects in the Medival Church Treasuries of the Latin West. — Frankfurt am Mein: Lang, 1998 — 420 p.
  • 17. Shalem A. Objects as Carriers of Real or Contrived Memories in a Cross-Cultural Context // Mitteilungen zu Spätantiken Archäologie und Byzantinischen Kunstgeschichte. — 2005. Bd. 4. — S. 101–117.
  • 18. Verdier P. Saint-Denis et la tradition carolingienne des tituli: Le De rebus in administratione sua gestis de Suger // La chanson de geste et le mythe carolingien, mélanges René Louis. — Saint-Père-sous-Vézelay: Comité de publication des Mélanges René Louis, 1982. — P. 353–354.
  • 19. Wolf G. Migration and Transformation. Islamic Artefacts in the Mediterranean World // Islamic Artefacts in the Mediterranean World: Trade, Gift Exchange and Artistic Transfer / Eds. C. Schmidt Arcangeli, G. Wolf. — Venezia: Marsilio Editori, 2010. — P. 7–9.