Through its material remains,
Perspectives on Early Islamic Art in Jerusalem analyzes several overlooked aspects of the earliest decades of Islamic presence in Jerusalem, during the seventh century CE. Focusing on the
Haram al-Sharif, also known as the Temple Mount, Lawrence Nees provides the first sustained study of the Dome of the Chain, a remarkable eleven-sided building standing beside the slightly later Dome of the Rock, and the first study of the meaning of the columns and column capitals with figures of eagles in the Dome of the Rock. He also provides a new interpretation of the earliest mosque in Jerusalem, the
Haram as a whole, with the sacred Rock at its center.
Lawrence Nees, Ph.D. (1977), Harvard University, Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware, and former President of the International Center of Medieval Art, has published many studies of medieval and Islamic art, including
Early Medieval Art (Oxford, 2002).
"Nees’s mastery of the scholarship and his excellent bibliography are commendable. By bringing a critical outsider’s eye, he is able to evaluate received scholarly literature in compelling ways. Nees’s list of cited works will prove an essential reference to any specialist looking for updated bibliography on Umayyad visual and material culture or to any generalist seeking a complete reading list. The value and interest of the book rest above all in Nees’s inclusive approach to the early Middle Ages, for he demonstrates how methodologies drawn from Western European medieval art history might be productively applied to the visual and material culture of the early medieval Eastern Mediterranean."
Elizabeth Dospel Williams in
Speculum 92/4 (October 2017)
"The volume is not simply a book on the early Islamic art history of Jerusalem: its challenging perspective gives the reader a new interpretation of the past and of the early stages of Islamic rule over Jerusalem and teaches us how to interpret history setting aside modern concepts."
Sara Ibrahim in
Islamic World of Art, 2, 1 (2016).
Table of contents
Preface on Sources
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. The earliest mosque in Jerusalem
Chapter 3. The problem of “Arculf” and the earliest mosque in Jerusalem
Chapter 4. The Dome of the Chain
Chapter 5. Columns and eagle capitals in the Dome of the Rock
Chapter 6. Conclusion
Anyone interested in the
Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem, its buildings, including the Dome of the Rock, and the earliest phase of Islamic presence in the seventh century.