Fragment Carved with Vine Scroll and a Triangle Trimmed with Bead-and-Reel Motif
Made in Jordan, Qasr al-Mshatta
23 x 39 x 16 in. (58.4 x 99.1 x 40.6 cm)
Department of Antiquities, Qasr al-Mshatta Archaeological Site, Jordan
Not on view
The unfinished palace at Mshatta near Amman, Jordan is the largest of the Umayyad palaces. Resembling a fortress with its twenty-five semicircular towers and monumental entrance gate, it had a grand audience hall on the same axis as the entrance. The gatehouse complex near the entrance included a mosque. The exterior walls flanking the entrance gate were covered with elaborately carved decoration in the Byzantine tradition. The building may have been ordered by the Umayyad caliph al-Walid II (r. 743–44) to welcome those returning from the pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca and then left unfinished at his death.
This elaborately decorated fragment was part of the tip of a triangle on the faade at Mshatta that defined the decoration of the external walls. To the left of the tip is scrolling vegetation and to the right is a portion of a beaded medallion.