Since its discovery in 1897, the early Islamic bath-house of Qusayr ‘Amra has been celebrated for its spectacular figural wall-paintings, the meanings of which have been much debated. Following the recent cleaning of the wall paintings, Dr. Ali has identified scenes inspired by Heliodorus’ Aethiopica, a fourth-century romance. Taking this discovery as its starting point the lecture looks in two directions: forward, to new and emerging ways to examine images and texts together, and backward, to the efforts expended in understanding the paintings. It thus aims to illuminate a history of what Qusayr ‘Amra has been, as well as to generate a new vision of what it might become.
*Inaugural lecture by faculty fellow, Nadia Ali
Nadia Ali is Faculty Fellow at Silsila: Center for Material Histories. She was trained in Art History, Islamic studies and Classical Arabic at the University of Aix en Provence. Before joining Silsila, she was part of the Leverhulme project Empires of Faith based at Oxford University and the British Museum (2013-2017). Nadia Ali’s research interests lie in the emergence of Islamic art in the context of the first millennium, and related questions of cross-cultural exchange, artistic production and more generally intellectual thinking on the making of things.
*Space is limited. If for any reason you have rsvp'd and cannot attend, please use the form below to let us know.