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The Genuine and the Real: 1

The attached photograph is 'Qasr al-Mushatta (Winter Palace)' which was taken by Duma in 1875.

Ms Khairieh, one of the most prominent archaeologists in Jordan, who is a marker of my 'blog' and was one of the best partners for making up an exhibition plan of the Jordan National Museum (she recently withdrew from the project for some reasons − so sad to say it), mailed it to me the other day.

'Qasr al-Mushatta' is located near the Queen Alia International Airport in the suburbs of Amman. Due to its heavy guard for the airport, it is not so easy to approach the Qasr unfortunately.

 

If completed, this palace would have been the best palace of the Umayyad, the first Islamic dynasty, however it needed so tremendous money and labor that it became the cause to accelerate the Umayyads' collapse. After the Umayyads was collapsed by the Abbasids in 750, the construction work was suspended and the palace was abandoned.

Many pieces of the splendid decorations of the palace were disappeared over the years and they are now displayed in museums around the world quietly. Among them one, which is not quietly displayed is a part of the outer wall entrance of the palace shown in the attached photograph, has been reconstructed in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin and it is one of the special exhibits of the museum.

Just before the WW I, in 1903, Sultan Abd al-Hamid of the Ottomans, having been in fear of the invasion by Britain and France, 'gave' the palace to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. Hence, Germany carefully tore off the wall decorations, cut them up and brought them back to their mother land by ship. Now we can see exposed red bricks only.

As one of the valuable exhibits of the Jordan National Museum, we requested the Pergamum Museum, however the reply was very heartily kind, even bringing tears to our eyes, 'as the special exhibition of Jordan will be held in the near future, an elaborate 1/15 model will be made and presented to you for nothing after the exhibition.' If the model is so much elaborate, the Pergamum Museum can display it and return the real thing to Jordan. This desire is too envious, isn't it?

Together with Khairieh, the above, and Jihad, introduced in the 'Hard Work', we discussed how to display the wall many times and reached a conclusion, not the final one, that we will extend such an attached photograph as an old one of the beautiful outer wall of the palace before Germany took away into a real size and display a real 'Rosetta' (a rose motif decoration), only one remained in Jordan, on the photograph - as a symbol of the silent protest against the loss or plunder of cultural assets.

By placing a real thing, even only one, among imitations, it could be brought into relief what is the genuine.

(8/9/2005)
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