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HOME : Islamic Art : Islamic Terracottas : Umayyad Terracotta Ewer with a Spout in the Form of a Ram's Head
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Umayyad Terracotta Ewer with a Spout in the Form of a Ram's Head - CK.0099 (DC.0704)
Origin: Jericho
Circa: 8 th Century AD to 9 th Century AD
Dimensions: 7.75" (19.7cm) high x 5.5" (14.0cm) wide x 6" (15.2cm) depth
Collection: Islamic Art
Medium: Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
The early history of Islam following the death of the Prophet Muhammad can be characterized by glorious wars and victories on the one hand and by jealousy, intrigue, and deceit on the other. When the Umayyad Dynasty ruled in splendor from their capital at Damascus, a coin such as this would have been recognized and traded throughout their expanding empire. The rulers of the Umayyad Dynasty, beginning with the founder, Mu'awiyah, claimed a blood relationship with the Prophet via his sister, Umm Habibah, and his Abu-Sufyan, the leader of the Meccan Quraysh. As the Islam spread across North Africa and into Europe, political rivalry began to emerge between the Caliphs. These family feuds would culminate in 749 A.D. when the entire Umayyad clan was murdered, save for abd-al- Rahman, who fled to Spain and founded an independent Umayyad Caliphate there. In part, this division between opposing Muslim factions of Shi’ite and the Sunni continue to this day. Overall, the period of the Umayyad Dynasty can be characterized by a love of luxury. Great palaces were erected in the capital of Damascus. It is also noted that the Caliphs Yazi I and II were "passionate friends of sport, music and lady singers."

The Umayyad Dynasty was a formative period in the development of Islamic art. The main artistic influences were culled from the lands they occupied, including the late antique Classical tradition prevalent in the Eastern Mediterranean and the arts of the Byzantine and Sassanid Empires, especially in regards to formal shapes and decorative motifs. Over times, artist began to fuse these influences together, adding their own innovations, until ultimately creating an art that was uniquely their own. This terracotta vessel has a wide body that tapers into the neck, which is topped with a spout in the form of a ram’s head with thin slit eyes and arching horns. A handle extends from the back of the ram’s head to the shoulders of the vessel. The shoulder of the vessel and the lower half of the body are decorated with impressed foliate floral motifs that recall Classical art. - (CK.0099 (DC.0704))

 

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