Umayyad Terracotta Vessel with Kufic Inscription - X.0159, Origin: Syria, Circa: 8 th Century AD, Dimensions: 6" (15.2cm) high, Collection: Islamic Art, Style: Umayyad,Medium: Terracotta. The early history of Islam following the death of the Prophet Muhammad can be characterized by glorious wars and victories on the one hand and by jealousy, intrigue, and deceit on the other. When the Ummayad Dynasty ruled in splendor from their capital at Damascus, a vessel such as this would have served water in an ancient palace or mosque. The rulers of the Umayyad Dynasty, beginning with the founder, Mu'awiyah, claimed a blood relationship with the Prophet via his sister, Umm Habibah, and his cousin Abu- Sufyan, the leader of the Meccan Quraysh. As Islam spread across North Africa and into Europe, political rivalry began to emerge between the Caliphs. These family feuds would culminate in 749 A.D. when the entire Umayyad clan was murdered, save for abd-al-Rahman, who fled to Spain and founded an independent Umayyad Caliphate there. In part, this division between opposing Muslim factions of Shi’ite and the Sunni continue to this day. Overall, the period of the Umayyad Dynasty can be characterized by a love of luxury. Great palaces were erected in the capital of Damascus. It is noted that the Caliphs Yazi I and II were "passionate friends of sport, music and lady singers."
Ancient Near East