Mosaics: The Dome Of The Rock In Jerusalem

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The Dome of the Rock is one of the most sacred buildings for Muslims in Jerusalem and around the world. It’s situated in the heart of the old city, on the site of Solomon’s Temple and the second Temple. In early Islamic Jerusalem, the a number of members in the declined Jewish population of the city were once permitted to pray on Temple Mount (Peters 194). After the construction of the Dome of the Rock, however, the atmosphere of the area changed (Peters 194). Jews who were temporarily allowed to enter the Temple Mount area as caretakers exempted from the poll tax were eventually forbidden once again and excluded the from the area that was newly consecrated by the Muslims and renamed the Haram al-Sharif, also known as the “Noble Sanctuary,” …show more content…
Most of the decorative themes concerning the mosaics were vegetal and featuring vases, cornucopias, and what are known as “jewels” (Grabar 47). These mosaics had a purely decorative theme, but the jewels almost located “exclusively on the inner face of the octagonal columnade” are easily distinguishable from the others and are used to assess the significance of the Dome of the Rock (Grabar 47). These jewels on this inner face stand out because of the provoking types of jewels used. While gems and mother-of-pearl adorned other parts of the building, these jewels differed because the walls were lined with actual crowns, necklaces, earrings, and other ornaments (Grabar 47). These special jeweled mosaics contrasted with the others because they were not purely decorative; they surrounded and faced the “central holy place” (Grabar 47). Another significant aspect of these jewels is that they are all identified as royal or imperial, and they reflect in various ways differing degrees of “symbols of holiness, power, and sovereignty in the official art of the Byzantine and Persian empires” (Grabar 48). Such an awareness by the decorators of the renditions of tokens from the conquered opposers of the Muslim empire in the Islamic shrine relates to the Islamic assertion of power and position in relation to the other religions (Grabar 48). Grabar argues that in the mosaics …show more content…
Both tourists and the religious visit the Dome to bask in its marvelousness and ponder its religious wonder. Bahat explains that the building functions more as a cult center for the purpose of guarding and protecting the Sacred Rock than as a mosque for prayer (92). Before the Dome of the Rock’s construction, Muslims and Jews both saw its sacred location as a sort of axis mundi, a holy site where Earth and heaven met (Armstrong 242). Christians also recognized the sanctity of the Dome (Bahat 92). Like the Jews, they believed it to be “the reincarnation of the Holy Temple,” and as a result, the Crusader period saw the transformation of the Dome of the Rock into a Christian church (Bahat 93).When Muslims came to the Dome of the Rock to worship, they concluded that it symbolically mirrored the path that all true followers must follow to find God (Armstrong 241). Even the colors of the building convey multiple messages significant in Islamic art; blue to represent infinity and gold to represent knowledge--both characterise the Muslim understanding of God (Armstrong 241). With the sacred rock there, Muslims “took up the custom of circumambulating the rock,” similar to how they paced around the Ka’ba in Mecca (Peters 197). Like the Ka’ba in Mecca, the Dome in Jerusalem

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