Arrayán the subtle beauty
Every year in mid-June the hispanic-arabian gardens flourished in white flowers of Arrayán at Madinat Al-Zahara and still happens after eleven centuries.
We wanted this post to coincide with the history and meaning of this beautiful bush that inspired us to name and design two pieces, the trunk and the tapestry Arrayán.
It is well known the exquisite and careful selection of fruit trees, bushes and flowers that the muslims used to choose for their gardens. They were symbols of beauty and spirituality of muslim culture. The Umayyads not only were concerned by the ornamental aspect but also by its essential oils and medical or aromatic properties.
The Arrayán, was present in the Caliphal City. Arib Ben Sa’d wrote about it on two scientific texts, he was the chronicle of Abd Al-Rahman III and his son Al-Hakam II in the 10th century. Arib did a complete list of plants in Madinat Al-Zahara, many of them were medicinal and other had delicate scents. Iris, jasmines, pomegranate trees, liliums, wild olive trees, bay trees, vines, palm trees or citrics covered the second terrace and among them were the arrayán.
The origin is in North Africa and Mediterranean basin, its oval and perennial leaves were always green in the Caliph eyes and they offered a delicate essential oil used in cosmetics and in medicine. The flower has five petals and white colour, its fruit matures in winter and is dark, rounded shape and eatable.
Arrayán is the name in arab - Ar-Rayhan - and it means “the Fragrant”. Greeks and Latins knew it as Myrtle and it was well valued as antiseptic and astringent. As Symbol of purity and love, the crowns of arrayán honoured the heroes and newlyweds.
This bush took root perfectly in our country thanks to a favorable climate and it is amazing to see how important were the flowers and plants for hispanic-muslims, and how they used in their atauriques or plaster decoration and in their gardens and orchards. The Umayyad not only imported materials and ornaments from around the world but also a very specific vegetation which meet their aesthetic and useful needs. Some of those plants, such as orange trees, turned into symbols of Andalusia today.
These two leather pieces named Arrayán display not only a stylised shape of this bush at full maturity of its fruit but also show different plants that embellished the Umayyad gardens: pomegranates, acanthus and the iris flower.
We invite you to observe carefully and discover the flowers of Al-Andalus.