The facade of the Umayyad Mshatta Palace in Berlin - two wings of early Islamic architectural ornament

Date: 24 February 2018

Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Location: Museum of Islamic Art, Auditorium

Part of the MIA Education

Professor Dr Claus-Peter Haase is Honorary Professor of Islamic Art and Archaeology at the Free University of Berlin, Institute of Art History, and former Director of the Museum of Islamic Art, Stately Museums of Berlin.  With extensive experience in excavations, world-class research and publication, he is an expert on Syrian archaeology and Islamic Art.


For many years, the decorations on the two wings of the Mshatta Façade were an enigma:  one wing showing figural motifs from Mediterranean Late Antiquity and Sasanian Iran mixed with the vegetal ornament devices of the Hellenistic tradition, the other vine scrolls only mingled with a few Iranian motifs composed in an innovative stylization.  Without any foundation inscription, a long period of research was needed to understand the façade with its emblematic relief sculptures as reflections of a new ‘Islamic’ interpretation of the artistic view of nature and a new symbolic concept in the Mediterranean and Iranian parts of the caliphate at the beginning of the 2nd Hijri/ mid-8th century.   We are delighted to welcome Professor Dr Claus-Peter Haase who will discuss this fascinating object, which arrived in Berlin in 1904 a as a gift of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II from modern Jordan, with us.


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