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The frescoes of Khirbat al-Mafjar, reconstructed in this article, reveal the colorful environment that once occupied what appear to be the public or ceremonial sections of the palace. The artists, who applied various methods and hundreds of motifs to the palace walls, used the frescoes mainly in the upper floor, which has rendered them less well known than the other, almost fully published and documented, methods, like stucco and stone relief. Since the second floor was badly damaged, it was rare to find and reveal delicate and sensitive material such as plaster. However, the current article suggests the appearance of important sections in what seems to be the audience hall. The “triumphal scene” reconstructed in this hall may refer to the ideal image of triumph or may reflect the customs of certain ceremonies held within it. Moreover, in some reconstructions suggested here, artistic scenes from the Umayyad period are revealed whose combination of motifs, like the Sīmurgh, can be traced back to the Roman/Byzantine and Sasanian cultures. Sadly, the fragmented state of the frescoes and the absence of archaeological registration have limited our ability to reconstruct and elaborate on the scenes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)247-290
Number of pages44
JournalJerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Max Schloessinger Memorial Foundation, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. All rights reserved.


  • Khirbat al-Mafjar
  • Umayyad period
  • audience hall
  • ceremonies
  • pseudo-Sīmurgh
  • triumphal scene


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