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Qusayr 'Amra

Art and the Umayyad Elite in Late Antique Syria

Garth Fowden (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 424 pages
ISBN: 9780520298507
December 1969
$34.95, £27.00
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From the stony desolation of Jordan's desert, it is but a step through a doorway into the bath house of the Qusayr 'Amra hunting lodge. Inside, multicolored frescoes depict scenes from courtly life and the hunt, along with musicians, dancing girls, and naked bathing women. The traveler is transported to the luxurious and erotic world of a mid-eighth-century Muslim Arab prince. For scholars, though, Qusayr 'Amra, probably painted in the 730s or 740s, has proved a mirage, its concreteness dissolved by doubts about date, patron, and meaning. This is the first book-length contextualization of the mysterious monument through a compelling analysis of its iconography and of the literary sources for the Umayyad period. It illuminates not only the way of life of the early Muslim elite but also the long afterglow of late antique Syria.
List of Maps and Illustrations

1. Musil's Fairy-Tale Castle
2. Luxuries of the Bath
3. The Hunt
4. "O God, Bless the Amir"
5. The Princely Patron
6. Maintaining the Dynasty
7. The Six Kings
8. A Captive Sasanian Princess
9. Qusayr 'Amar Contextualized
10. Umayyad Self-Representation

Appendix: The Value of Arabic Literary Sources
Garth Fowden is Research Professor at the Centre for Greek and Roman Antiquity, National Research Foundation in Athens. He is author of The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind (reprinted 1993) and Empire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity (1993).
"Three features make this book remarkable. First, its scholarship is impeccable, unusually broad, and complete. Second, its author has a clear story to tell. Third, it illuminates the world of Late Antiquity, which is only now beginning to be understood."—Oleg Grabar, author of The Shape of the Holy
<p>Figure 6. Qusayr 'Amra from the north. Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p> <p>Figure 8. Qusayr 'Amra, hall looking from entrance (north) to alcove (south). C. Vibert-Guigue.</p> <p>Figure 10. Qusayr 'Amra, caldarium, dome: zodiac (fresco). C. Vibert-Guigue.</p> <p>Figure 15. Qusayr 'Amra, tepidarium, south wall: bathing women (fresco). Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p> <p>Figure 17a. Qusayr 'Amra, hall, west arch, south soffit: dancing girl (fresco). Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p> <p>Figure 17b. Qusayr 'Amra, hall, east arch, south soffit: decorative woman. A. and H. Stierlin.</p> <p>Figure 20. Qusayr 'Amra, hall, central aisle, south wall above alcove arch: mukhannathun? (fresco). Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p> <p>Figure 21. Qusayr Amra, hall, alcove, west wall: decorative women (fresco). J. Zozaya.</p> <p>Figure 24. Qusayr 'Amra, hall, central aisle, northwest spandrel: pensive woman with Eros (fresco). J. Zozaya.</p> <p>Figure 25. Qusayr 'Amra, hall, general view from east to west; on soffit of east arch (foreground): decorative women and medallion (fresco). Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p> <p>Figure 29. Qusayr 'Amra, hall, east wall: hunting scene, detail (fresco). Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p> <p>Big History: A Working Bibliography of References, Films & Internet Sites</p> <p>Figure 53. Qusayr 'Amra, hall, west wall: six kings, detail of Kisra (fresco). Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p> <p>Figure 60. Qusayr 'Amra, hall, west wall: hunting scene, six kings, bathing beauty, acrobats (frescoes). Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p> <p>Figure 62. Qusayr 'Amra, apodyterium, lunette over door into hall: death of Salma (fresco). Fotógrafos Oronoz, Madrid.</p>

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