Wallada bint al-Mustakfi (b. 1001 – d. 1080) The beautiful, free-spirited daughter of a caliph in Cordoba, Spain, Walladah wrote and inspired some of the greatest poetry of eleventh-century Andalusia. She was liberated and literary, hosting mixed-sex gatherings where she read her own bold work. Financially independent, Walladah had lovers but never married. She was known to wear a garment embroidered with the following words:
I am fit for high positions, by
And am going my way with pride.
Little of her work remains, but Walladah is considered one of the three most important female poets of the time. She flourished in a sophisticated and tolerant period in Cordoba, which, under the Moors, housed one of the world’s greatest libraries, which at one time included scholarly women on its staff.
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Valada