Caliph Hisham .
8th c Jordanian Umayyad Sculpture
(661 - 1031)
Khirbat al-Mafjar. Jordan.
Jerusalem. Rockefeller Archaeological Museum.
Although representations of human beings and animals were not permitted in religious art, they were not forbidden in secular art, as you can see from this sculpture of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham. The Caliph is shown standing erect and frontal, his sword in hand.
Caliph Hisham stands upon a platform which is decorated with the old symbols of rosettes and royal guardian lions. The lions are an interesting symbol for they refer to the biblical Solomon. As you remember, the Moslems greatly esteemed the Jewish patriarchs. The lions connect the Moslem caliph with Solomon, the personification of justice and wisdom. According to tradition, Solomon's throne was supported by lions. It is quite fascinating to trace these old symbols, for here we see Solomon's lions as an attribute of a Moslem. Much later, in 15th century Flanders, lions on the side of an enthroned image of the Virgin Mary also referred back to Solomon , symbolizing her wisdom.
UMAYYAD | Caliph Hisham . | 724-743 | Islamic | Umayyad