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A study of architectural decoration in ancient south-west Arabia

Momena, FM; (1991) A study of architectural decoration in ancient south-west Arabia. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The purpose of the thesis is to study architectural decorations in ancient South West Arabia. The materials are presented in the form of a catalogue of approximately fifty unpublished decorative fragments described in detail and illustrated by photographs and drawings. These pieces belong to 4 the principal ancient kingdoms of Saba,9 Main, Qataban, Hadramaut and Himyer. The catalogue divides the pieces into types and sub-types. Attempts were made to discuss all the various decorative motifs, i.e. vines, animals and geometric, which were sculpted on these pieces. The discussion also includes artistic styles, methods of sculpture of each piece, and also the purposes of the various decorative motifs depicted on them, i.e. some were sculpted for purely decorative purposes, whilst others were primarily depicted for religious purposes. The discussion also includes the uses of comparative material in relation to styles, methods of carving and the purposes of particular decorative pieces and motifs. These indicate cultural connections between the various states in the region, and also show foreign influences, e.g. Palmyrene. The results of this study indicate that the ancient South Western Arabian architectural decorative styles and methods of carving were basically genuine achievements derived from a rich local environment which provided the artist with the raw materials for developing these pieces, and also provided him with different artistic concepts and ideas which are shown in the use of different types of motifs; and also the purposes for their usages. However, foreign influences are shown in the borrowing of specific artistic styles, for example Hellenistic artistic influences are shown in the use of undulating style in the carving of vine stems, in the use of overlapping of different types of motifs, and in the use of decorative moulding and raised borders by the ancient South Western Arabian artists who were inspired to produce more artistic variations including further accomplishments.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A study of architectural decoration in ancient south-west Arabia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121545
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