Maintaining the Dynasty

Garth Fowden

in Qusayr 'Amra

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236653
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929609 | DOI:
Maintaining the Dynasty

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Although the prince occupies Quṣayr 'Amra's focal point, he is not the only enthroned figure depicted in the hall. It is rather the subordination of the male than the prominence of the female that causes the viewer to sense a certain tendentiousness in the family portrait presented. It may be deduced from the painting that al-Walīd was a typical specimen of the male Umayyad, and no doubt of the male Arab generally, in his touchiness on matters of parentage and descent. Al-Walīd's regulation of the succession issue, and the Quṣayr 'Amra painting too, should be seen in the context of his final and this time irreversible loss of Salmā as both romantic dream and the potential mother of children. Against the Greek background, “Grace” and “Victory” at Quṣayr 'Amra can be seen to go well together, and this thought world was clearly still familiar to the artists.

Keywords: Quṣayr 'Amra; al-Walīd; Salmā; Grace; Victory; dynasty; family portrait

Chapter.  9688 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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