The Long Tradition of the Cycle of Paintings of Qusayr ‘Amra
The cycle of paintings of the bathhouse of Qusayr ‘Amra (eighth century, Jordan) has been the object of several attempts of interpretation. Scholars have usually limited its contextualization to the large family of Roman and late antique bathhouses to its plan and hydraulic features. The present article argues instead that late antique examples of the same architectural typology might have provided models and patterns for the paintings of Qusayr ‘Amra too. Agreeing with a common late antique artistic practice, legends were instead used in the painting in order to add and explain new and unusual themes inserted among the traditional repertoire.
Keywords: Bathhouses • Qusayr ‘Amra • Early Islam • Representation of kings • Bilingual inscriptions • Late antiquity • Bathhouses decoration