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Lecture by Professor Markus Ritter 1 Feb 2019, 5:30pm

Some Solomonic themes in royal iconography of Islamic art have been noted, but rarely do they seem to be so obvious as in palaces excavated in Raqqa and dated to the early Abbasid period. The fragments of a very peculiar pavement with glass tiles resonate with the floor of  ‘glass like water’, which in the Qur’an characterises the palace of Solomon. The talk seeks to understand the aesthetics and semantics of such a floor, which highlighted a specific space in the sequence of formal and representational rooms. While the spectacular appearance fits a period known for innovative “arts of the fire” in architectural decoration, a wider significance of the theme, both earlier and later, may be proposed. Just as the Qur’anic passage acquires a range of interpretation in texts that comment, explain and embellish it, so the Solomonic floor may have been translated into various materials and architectural spaces in early Islamic palaces.

Colleagues and students are welcome, especially those who are interested in history of art and archaeology, Middle East, Islamic and Hebrew Studies.

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