Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Nafi‘
أبو الحسن علي ابن نافع
Date of birth:
Date of death:
Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Nafi‘ was an Arabic musician, singer, oud player, composer, poet and teacher, who lived and worked in Iraq, Northern Africa and during more than 30 years, in Andalus of the medieval Islamic period. He was also known as a polymath, with knowledge in astronomy, geography, meteorology, botanics, cosmetics, culinary art and fashion. His nickname Ziryab comes possibly from a name of black singing bird in Arabic, gold-hunter or gold-digger in Persian and he is also known as Pájaro Negro (blackbird) in Spanish. He was active at the Umayyad court of Córdoba in Islamic Iberia. He first achieved notoriety at the Abbasid court in Baghdad, Iraq, his birthplace, as a performer and student of the great Iranian musician and composer, Ishaq al-Mawsili.
Ziryab was a gifted pupil of Ishaq al-Mawsili (d. 850). He left Baghdad during the reign of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun (d. 833) and moved to Córdoba in southern Iberian Peninsula, where he was accepted as court musician in the court of Abd al-Rahman II of the Umayyad Dynasty (822-52).