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MWNF Travel Books

Islamic Art in the Mediterranean | Jordan
2010, Paperback
2010, eBook
2001, Paperback
Title The Umayyads
Subtitle The Rise of Islamic Art
224 pages, 182 colour illustrations, 43 plans
Series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean
Country Jordan
Author(s) G. Bisheh, F. Zayadine, M. al-Asad, I. Kehrberg, L. Tohme
Local Coordinator(s) Lubna Hashem
Photographer(s) Bill Lyons
Publisher(s) MWNF (Vienna), international co-edition
Languages العربية, English, Español, Français, Italiano.
Description The Umayyads: The Rise of Islamic Art presents a journey through the great artistic and cultural flourishing that gave birth to the formative phase of Islamic art during the 7th and 8th centuries. The Umayyads unified the Mediterranean and Persian cultures and developed an innovative artistic synthesis that incorporated and immortalised Classical, Byzantine and Sassanid heritage. The elegant architecture of desert castles, the frescoes, mosaics and masterpieces of figurative and decorative art still evoke the strong sense of realism and the great cultural, artistic and social vitality of the centres of the Umayyad Caliphate.

Five itineraries invite you to discover 43 museums, monuments and sites in Amman, Madaba, Al-Badiya, Jerash, Umm Qays, Aqaba and Humayma (among others).

More about this Booksda
Far from abolishing the freedom of local cults and undermining existing town plans, The Umayyads acknowledged the aesthetic language already in place on their arrival in Jordan (661), and re-invented its forms with an astonishing freedom of expression. Brief as their hegemony was (less than 90 years) the role of the Umayyad caliphs remains crucial in the history of Islam. By establishing the first crossroads between the two blocs of the Muslim world (Iran–Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean), they brought the richness of the two civilisations to a re-united Middle East. The Umayyads were passionate architects and most of the art forms in which they have excelled (mosaic, stucco, frescoes and figurative sculpture) are, therefore, linked to architecture. Although they borrowed a number of motifs from the inexhaustible Antique repertoire, the architecture, as much as the decorative arts, clearly prefigure the artistic expressions of a later Islam. Jordan, small though it is, is a huge open-air museum, and it is to The Umayyads that one owes the apparition of the minaret, mihrab and maqsura; the full development of geometrical motifs and epigraphic borders. The pivotal role of The Umayyads in world culture is witnessed in the civic architecture of the period, which generated a multitude of splendidly decorated palaces such as, for example, the largest Umayyad Palace of Jordan, ‘Qasr al-Mouchatta’ or Qousayr Amra, where the famous frescoes of the Six Kings exhibit clearly their Hellenistic influence. Masterpieces such as Caravanserais, country residences, hammams and great works of art, equally attest to Umayyad supremacy in the innovative use of existing styles. Museum With No Frontiers eloquently succeeds in bringing to light the cardinal synthesis which has presided over the birth of this unique artistic language.
Formats, Prices & Orders
English version

Paperback [2001, 15 x 21.5 cm, available]
$ 15 from Al Faris, Jordan, ISBN 249692000

Paperback [2010, 15.2 x 22.9 cm, ISBN 9783902782069, available]
Get it now from Amazon

eBook [2010, ISBN 9783902782076, available]
Get it now from Amazon, Apple iBooks


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