Detail of the ceiling from the Palacio de Altamira, Torrijos

Detail of the ceiling from the Palacio de Altamira, Torrijos

Ceiling from the Palacio de Altamira, Torrijos
Toledo, Spain
About 1490
Museum no. 407-1905

Spain was part of the Islamic world for nearly 800 years, so Islamic ornament was prevalent there through the continuity of local traditions, rather than the import of exotic art from the East. After the conquest of Granada in 1492 Islamic styles and techniques remained popular with the ruling elite. Luxurious palaces were created in which the architecture and furnishings were covered with Islamic designs. Sometimes rooms were crowned by magnificent marquetry ceilings like this one. Their construction method as well as their decoration continued an Islamic architectural form which emerged under the Nasrids, who installed many such ceilings in the Alhambra palace.