Censer with a Ram’s Head Handle
Made in Eastern Mediterranean, excavated at the Amman Citadel, Jordan
Cast copper alloy, engraved and punched
4 1/2 x 8 1/4 in. (11.5 x 21 cm)
Jordan Archaeological Museum, Amman (J. 1660)
Not on view
Occupying a strategic high point at the heart of the ancient city of Philadelphia, the Amman Citadel (Jabal al-Qal’a) is one of a string of "desert palaces" constructed along the roads to Damascus by the Umayyad caliphate as it consolidated power in the seventh and eighth centuries. The citadel included administrative buildings, defensive structures, residential apartments, and a mosque.
Excavated in a large house on the citadel, this arcaded domed censer is typical of a tradition long known across the Mediterranean in the Byzantine world. The floral pattern on the base relates to textile designs.