Early Islamic metalwork in Jordan




Smith, Michelle D.

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This thesis is an analysis of the decoration of a collection of metalwork artefacts excavated in Jordan, dating to the Early Islamic Period (661-900). I have compiled a catalogue of these metal objects which contains a through visual description of each item. These objects have then been organized into three groups of study: animate decoration, inanimate decoration, and the Mafraq brazier. The animate section contains animal and human forms; the inanimate is comprised of vegetal, architectonic, geometric, and epigraphic elements; and the Mafraq brazier is analysed alone due to its complex combination of decoration. Through the analysis of this catalogue of metalwork, I have shown that in the Early Islamic period the Umayyads were utilizing the existing forms of decoration common in the Late Antique period in new combinations and context which resulted in new meanings. This thesis also shows that it is likely that Christian, particularly Coptic, artisans were producing objects for the new Islamic elite.



Metal-work, Decorative arts