Qusayr 'Amra

Date: First half of the eighth century
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Jordan
Description: Qusayr 'Amra is a desert palace complex that was built as a private rather than religious monument for a prince or caliph. It includes an audience hall and bath complex with extensive early Islamic figural painting. The barrel-vaulted audience hall has representations of construction activities (possibly relevant to the construction of this very building), hunting, and women with bare torsos. Six kings (identified through inscriptions in Arabic and Greek) pay their respects to the Umayyad caliph.

The three-room bath includes additional nudity, with bathing women in the warm room, also called a tepidarium. The dressing room (apodyterium) has a diamond-patterned vault with human and animal figures, including a bear playing a musical instrument. The hot room, or caldarium, has a dome decorated with a heavenly map showing constellations and zodiac imagery.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 4
Image Credits: Heba Mostafa, Navid Jamali, Flickr: Alex Brey

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Qusayr 'Amra, audience hall, view toward the south Qusayr 'Amra, audience hall, view toward the north (entrance) Qusayr ‘Amra, audience hall, Builders and topless woman Qusayr ‘Amra, audience hall, six kings and bathing woman Qusayr ‘Amra, audience hall, builders Qusayr ‘Amra, audience hall, builders and topless woman Qusayr 'Amra, caldarium ceiling Qusayr 'Amra, caldarium dome Qusayr 'Amra, caldarium dome, detail Qusayr 'Amra plan