SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Further New Perspectives on Qusayr ‘Amra

Further New Perspectives on Qusayr ‘Amra
Nadia Ali

Date: 25 January 2018Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 25 January 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B111

Type of Event: Seminar

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

Abstract: In this paper, I re-examine the famous wall paintings from Qusayr ‘Amra (8th c., Bilād al-Shām) with a special attention to the recent discovery of new elements (inscriptions and scenes) following the recent cleaning of the frescoes. While analyses of early Islamic art are usually top-down and use the images to reconstruct patrons’ intentions, this paper is an attempt to explain the making of Umayyad images from the perspective of the craftsmen themselves, using formal analysis as a mode of entry into the artisans’ habitus and the viewers’ expectations. By giving priority to forms in the analysis of early Islamic art, this paper explores ways of reconciling morphological and anthropological approaches of the visual arts while plugging into a series of significant debates on the issues of cross-cultural interaction, memory and polychronicity, and the power of images in relation to the mind and body.

Convened by Professor Anna Contadini