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Early Islamic palace in Iraq, located in the desert on the Wadi‛Ubayd almost 200 km south of Baghdad. The ruins of this fortified palace provide important evidence for Islamic architecture and its decoration in the late 8th century ad. The site, known to several 18th-century travellers, was rediscovered by L. Massignon in 1908 and quickly visited and studied by Bell, Reuther and others, who dated it to the Sasanian (ad 226–645) or early Islamic (7th century ad) period. Creswell (1932–40) circumstantially identified it as the palace of ‛Isa ibn Musa (d 783/4), a powerful member of the ruling Abbasid family, but Caskel later argued that it was the palace of ‛Isa ibn ‛Ali and dated it ad 762. The outer enclosure (175×169 m) is built of slabs of limestone rubble set in heavy mortar. Its walls, which once had a parapet, were originally about 19 m high. A round tower marks each corner, with half-round towers spaced regularly between. A gate in the centre of each side is flanked by quarter-round towers, except on the north, where the main entrance is expanded with a projecting block. The north entrance leads to the palace proper (112×82 m), which is adjacent to the outer enclosure on the north. The palace consists of an entrance complex, with a small mosque to its right, a large open court with engaged pilasters, a great vaulted iwan leading to a square hall and flanking apartments. On either side of this central tract are two self-contained residential units arranged around smaller courts. Excavations by the Iraqi Department of Antiquities in ...

Article

Robert C. Henrickson

[Umm Dabaghiyah]

Prehistoric site in the Jazira in northern Iraq, c. 100 km south-west of Mosul. Umm Dabaghiya was a specialized settlement and trading post that flourished c. 6200–c. 5750 bc and is an early ceramic site with distinctive architectural features. Many of the finest objects from the site are now to be found in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad. Diana Kirkbride conducted four seasons of excavation (1971–4), clearing a large area (c. 3000 sq. m). Periods of abandonment separated the four levels of occupation (IV–I). In the better-preserved earlier levels (IV–III) three blocks of double or triple rows of small, well-built, rectilinear compartments (each c. 1.5×2.0 m) defined three sides of a large open area. Their size and lack of household features indicate they were used for storage; the overall layout suggests a planned construction. Beyond these were small, irregular one- to three-roomed houses. Exterior ovens opened into the interior for hearths that had chimneys. Plastered steps and toeholds in the upper walls and the absence of doorways suggest that entry was from the roof. Some of the white-plastered interiors, especially in levels IV–III, had painted bands around the floor and naturalistic frescoes on the walls, one of which seems to depict an onager hunt (Baghdad, Iraq Mus.; ...

Article

Un  

Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty

Temple site in West Nirmar District, Madhya Pradesh, India. Six Shaiva and two Jaina temples were built at Un in the 11th–12th centuries under the Paramara dynasty and the Chalukyas of Kalyana (see Chalukya §2). Inscriptions mentioning Udayaditya Paramara (reg c. 1070–80) were found in two temples at the site. All the buildings have superstructures of the bhūmija type, a mode of construction characterized by vertical rows of miniature spires set on pilasters (Skt kūṭa-stambha; see Indian subcontinent §III 5., (i), (g)). The exterior walls, divided by an ornate median band, are devoid of carving except for pilasters on the projections and recesses. Those in the recesses are capped by miniature spires and thus replicate the kūṭa-stambha elements in the superstructures. This configuration is elaborated in the later architecture of Karnataka. The cardinal projections (bhadra) support prominent niches with images of Chamunda, Tripurantaka and Nataraja. The Jaina temples display divinities of the Jaina faith. The halls, with fine circular ceilings, are surmounted by pyramidal roofs covered by miniature bell-shaped spires (...

Article

Andrew N. Palmer and J. van Ginkel

(b Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Feb 22, 1902; d Knoxville, TN, Sept 22, 1968).

American archaeologist and art historian. He gained BSc and MFA degrees in architecture from Princeton University (NJ) in 1925 and 1928 respectively and practised as an architect in New York from 1929 to 1931. In 1931–4 he travelled in Greece, developing his knowledge of its Classical and medieval monuments. He returned to Princeton in 1935 and became a graduate student in the Department of Art and Archaeology, specializing in Early Christian and Byzantine art. He taught at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) from 1938, and in 1943 he obtained a fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, DC), where he remained for the rest of his career, becoming a full professor in 1960. In 1950 he also became Field Director of the Byzantine Institute and supervised archaeological and restoration projects in Istanbul and Cyprus. When the institute was taken over by Dumbarton Oaks, Underwood was elected its chairman, a post he held until ...

Article

V. Beridze

Town on the north bank of the Kura River, 20 km east of Gori in the Republic of Georgia. Excavations have shown that Uplistsikhe was settled in the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium bc); the name itself (literally translated as ‘fortress of the rulers’) apparently dates only from the 10th century bc. In successive centuries it became an increasingly powerful city of the east Georgian kingdom of Kartli (Iberia), enjoying contacts with the cultural centres of Urartu, Iran, Armenia, Asia Minor and the Greek and Roman empires. With the Christianization of Georgia in the 330s ad and the appearance of new feudal centres, Uplistsikhe declined in importance, although from the early 11th century until 1122 it served as the residence of the Georgian kings; thereafter it continued to exist as a town until destroyed by the Mongols in the first half of the 13th century.

The town occupies a rocky hillside site of 9.5 ha., which is cut off to the south and west by high precipices; the north and east sides are defined by a channel and a defensive stone wall with towers. There are three main entrances and also a secret tunnel. The principal thoroughfare begins at the southern entrance; streets branch off it on both sides and are lined with houses hewn out of the terraced cliff. Free-standing buildings were also constructed; those dating from the antique period are of trimmed stone blocks held together with metal clamps, while in the medieval structures rubble stone with lime mortar and brick are used. Both rock-cut and free-standing buildings served a variety of residential, religious and commercial purposes....

Article

Ur  

Jane Moon

[now Tell el Mukayyar, southern Iraq]

Ancient Mesopotamian city occupied from at least 4000 bc. Ur lies 186 km south-east of Baghdad, on an old branch of the Euphrates. J. G. Taylor, who identified the site, first excavated there in 1853 and 1854. The Joint Expedition of the University Museum of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the British Museum, London, led by Leonard Woolley, undertook full-scale excavations from 1922 to 1934. The site is dominated by a ziggurat, which was cleared, and excavation revealed monumental buildings that had been continuously occupied and rebuilt over the centuries, as well as an area of private housing which gives a rare picture of everyday life 4000 years ago. Most famous of all are the spectacular finds from the Sumerian Royal Cemetery, particularly those from the Death Pits, which contained the richly adorned bodies of high dignitaries and their slaughtered attendants. Finds, including jewellery and the inlaid sound-boxes of lyres, have provided virtually all available evidence for Sumerian expertise in goldwork such as gold vessels, sheet gold cylinder seals and gold weapons and tools. These objects and many from other periods are in the ...

Article

N. N. Negmatov

[Ura Tepe; Vagkat]

Town in northern Tajikistan. It has been identified by some scholars as ancient Kurushkada [Cyreschata; Cyropolis], an Achaemenid foundation of Cyrus I (reg 559–529 bc; see also Kurkat). The town contains the Mug Tepe settlement (6 ha), the remains of urban fortified structures on the hilly areas of Tal, Mug and Kallamanora, madrasas, mosques and mausolea (15th–20th centuries), and secular architecture (18th–20th centuries). The earliest finds from Mug Tepe include a bronze seal with a winged griffin on the obverse (4th–2nd centuries bc), a terracotta statuette of a male figure, a fired clay male figure with a triangular face and applied phallus, a ceramic censer stand, a sherd with a lion in relief and a small bronze human face. A hoard of Roman denarii from nearby Mydzhum provides evidence of trade in the first centuries ad.

The earliest structural remains at Mug Tepe comprise part of the clay and mud-brick fortification walls and residential buildings (...

Article

Uruk  

Joan Oates

[Bibl. Erech; Class. Orchoë; now Warka]

Site in southern Iraq of an important Sumerian city, once situated on a branch of the Euphrates, continuously occupied from the 5th millennium bc to Sasanian times (7th century ad); it is noted especially for remarkable architecture of the 4th millennium bc (Uruk period) and for the world’s earliest written documents. The site was excavated in 1850 and 1854 by William Kennet Loftus; since 1912 German teams have worked there under J. Jordan (1912–13, 1928–31), A. Nöldeke (1931–3, 1934–9), E. Heinrich (1933–4) and, since 1954, under H. Lenzen and later J. Schmidt. Most of the finds are in Baghdad (Iraq Mus.), although some of Loftus’s are in London (BM) and some from the earlier German excavations are in Berlin (Pergamonmus.).

The city of the legendary Gilgamesh, Uruk is believed to have consisted originally of two settlements, Kullaba and Eanna, of which Kullaba, the site of the later Anu precinct, is believed to be the earlier. Here two temples of the 5th millennium ...

Article

Ye. V. Zeymal’

Small Buddhist monastery in southern Tajikistan. Built in the Kushana period (1st–4th century ad), it is situated on the right bank of the Amu River, east of the confluence of the Kafirnigan River and abutting the Tepa-i Shah Oasis. The complex was fully excavated by T. I. Zeymal between 1979 and 1982 (all finds from the site Dushanbe, Tajikistan Acad. Sci., Donish Inst. Hist., Archaeol. & Ethng.). It consists of a rectangular monastery building or sangharama (40×30 m) with the main stupa to the south. The monastery had 26 rooms of various types around a square courtyard (20.5×21.0 m). In the middle of the northern side was a temple enclosed by a pi-shaped corridor, with a portico opening on to the courtyard. To the west of the temple was a hall (c. 100 sq. m) used by the monks for assemblies. The north-eastern corner of the monastery contained an isolated group of storage and service rooms, while the western, eastern and southern sides comprised 14 monks’ cells, all identical in plan and size (...

Article

V. Ya. Petrukhin

Iron Age site on the River Poluy, near Salekhard, western Siberia. Excavations by Vanda I. Moshinskaya have revealed a sacrificial site of the second half of the 1st millennium bc containing carved antlers and bones (St Petersburg, Peter the Great Mus. Anthropol. & Ethnog.). Knife and spoon handles have end-pieces sculpted in the round. Two knife handles made of antler represent the heads of a deer and of a bird of prey; they are carved in great detail, showing both animals with their mouths open. Of five spoon handles, three represent the head of an animal: one is a stylized head of a walrus; another the head of a Brent goose made of mammoth tusk. Another unusual, carefully modelled piece is of a small duck made of antler, with its feathers carved in relief, sitting on the head of what may be a hare. A common stylistic feature of the carvings is the elongated eye-sockets. More numerous are examples of relief sculpture, mostly decorating flat spoons (11 items). Two-sided reliefs represent the heads of animals, or sometimes whole animals or birds, usually in profile; there are also compositions showing the heads of two wild animals joined at their necks or by their tongues. Generally the reliefs are more schematic than the sculpture in the round. The most expressive head is that of an elk with mouth half-open, while the influence of the Scythian-Siberian Animal Style is visible in a composition showing a bird of prey pecking an elk’s head. The rows of relief rectangles representing the bird’s wings and tail are typical....

Article

Uxmal  

Jeremy A. Sabloff and Trent Barnes

Pre-Columbian Maya site in the Puuc region of the Northern Maya Lowlands of Yucatán, Mexico, c. 80 km south-west of the modern city of Mérida. It flourished c. ad 800–c. 1000, at the end of the Late Classic period (c. ad 600–c. 900) and the beginning of the Early Post-Classic period (c. ad 900–c. 1200), but was also occupied earlier. Uxmal was one of the major Puuc sites that rose to prominence at a critical juncture in the development of Maya civilization, when the great sites of the Classic period (c. ad 250–c. 900) in the Southern Maya Lowlands collapsed and the cultural and geographic focus of Lowland civilization shifted to the Northern Maya Lowlands. Uxmal appears to have been the largest Puuc site and is certainly the most famous. Major construction there ceased by the end of the 11th century ...

Article

Uzgend  

V. D. Goryacheva

[Uzgand; Uzgen]

Town in Kyrgyzstan. Located between the Kara and Yassa (Dzhaza) rivers in the eastern part of the Ferghana Valley, Uzgend is set on three hills and comprises three free-standing towns and citadels surrounded by suburban estates and gardens. The town developed in the 8th and 9th centuries along the Silk Route as a border post on the frontier between the lands of Islam and the Turks. In the 10th and 11th centuries it became the major trading and administrative centre in the region and the fourth largest town in Ferghana, covering 12–15 sq. km. From the second half of the 11th century to the beginning of the 13th it was the capital of the Ferghana region of the Qarakhanid khanate, and the major architectural ensemble of the town, comprising three dynastic mausolea, the Friday mosque and minaret, and the remains of a madrasa, dates from this period. Square chambers with ...

Article

[anc. Ānandapura]

Town and temple site in northern Gujarat, India. While the date of its foundation is uncertain, references in the ancient religious text known as the Skanda purā ṇa and the writings of the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang (7th century ad) indicate the considerable importance the town enjoyed by this date as a centre of Hindu and Jaina learning. Two elaborately carved monumental arched gateways (tora ṇas) dating to the 11th century and located just outside the northern walls are the major artistic remains. In form, sculptural style and trabeate construction technique they resemble the gateways at Modhera and Sidhpur. Nothing remains of the temple to which they were originally attached. Several stone-lined, stepped tanks of the 11th and 12th centuries also survive, the largest being the Sarmishta Tank; these were embellished with figurative relief sculptures. A stone inscription embedded in one of Vadnagar’s six gates commemorates the building of the town’s walls and dates to ...

Article

Frederick M. Asher

[Vaiśālī; Vesāli]

Ancient Indian city that flourished from c. 6th century bc to c. 5th century ad. The site, in Muzaffarpur District, Bihar, spans several villages, including Basarh and Kolhua. By the 6th century bc Vaishali was the capital of the Vrjis (Lichchavis). It is important in Jainism as the birthplace of Mahavira, the last Jaina saviour, and in Buddhism (see Buddhism §I) as a place where the Buddha visited and taught. Its most important monumental remain is a pillar with a lion capital dating to the 3rd century bc. The shaft has no inscription, but the design is similar to the pillars erected by the Maurya dynasty at Lauriya Nandangarh and elsewhere. An adjacent mound, the likely location of a stupa, has yielded an image of the Buddha, shown crowned and seated (Vaishali Mus.). Excavations at Vaishali have uncovered numerous terracotta sculptures from the Kushana and Gupta periods (all Vaishali Mus.), among them a superbly rendered mother goddess image (...

Article

Valabhi  

Jutta Jain-Neubauer

Former capital of the Maitraka dynasty near Bhavnagar on the eastern coast of the Saurashtra Peninsula in Gujarat, India. Having ruled the Saurashtra Peninsula from the 5th century ad, the Maitrakas under Dharasena IV (reg c. mid-7th century) extended their power to the whole of Gujarat, Malava in Rajasthan and the Sahya region of Maharashtra. From the remaining temples and numerous finds of li ṅgas and Nandi images, it can be inferred that Shaivism was the predominant cult in the Valabhi region. However, the large number of Buddhist caves, stupas, monasteries and donative inscriptions indicate that Valabhi was a great centre of Buddhist learning comparable to the famous university of Nalanda. Although Jaina literary sources refer to the existence of Jainism in Valabhi during the Maitraka period, no art-historical remains survive. The Arab invasion that destroyed Valabhi in 788 seems to have ended its rich cultural and religious heritage....

Article

Herwig Todts

(b Antwerp, Oct 8, 1925).

Belgian painter. He studied history of art and archaeology at the Kunsthistorisch Institut in Antwerp (1949–53). Though self-taught as a painter, he received early encouragement from Georges Vantongerloo and Ossip Zadkine. He made his début in 1952 as a figurative painter in the tradition of Rik Slabbinck (b 1914) and other representatives of the Jeune Peinture Belge. He moved on to geometric abstraction and joined artists’ groups with the same ideals, such as Art Abstrait. He produced collages and reliefs with perspex fragments on canvas, followed by monochrome white paintings. In 1958 he was one of the co-founders of the group G-58 in Antwerp, which had close ties with the German Zero group. Subsequently he moved towards figurative assemblages, a technique that he continued to use. From 1961, the time of his first stay in New York, his work showed an unabashed reverence for space exploration as an attempt to explore and exploit the cosmos, as in ...

Article

V. A. Shishkin

[Barakhshah, Farakhshah, Warakhshah; Dakhfandun]

Site in Uzbekistan, 40 km west-north-west of Bukhara, which flourished c. 1st century bc–12th century ad. According to tradition it served for more than 1000 years as the residence of the Bukhar-khudat, rulers of Bukhara. The 9 ha site was excavated in 1938–9 and 1949–54 under V. A. Shishkin. Varakhsha originated in the first centuries bc as the last halt before crossing the desert between Bukhara and Khwarazm. The fortified city was triangular in plan, with walls built of square mud-bricks and incorporating semi-elliptical bastions and numerous loopholes. A citadel mound (h. 20 m) crowned by buildings and surrounded by a wide moat remained a constant feature of the southern part of the city throughout its history. Surrounding the city was an area of cultivated land farmed by adjacent village settlements. An oasis with irrigation canals conveyed water from Zarafshan River. The site was abandoned from the first centuries ...

Article

Varna  

Alasdair Whittle

Site of Neolithic cemetery of the 5th millennium bc on the Black Sea coast of eastern Bulgaria. It is famous for its spectacular grave goods, including artefacts in copper, clay, stone, flint, bone, shell and gold, which exhibit an exuberant range of craft skills. A settlement may have existed near by. The cemetery was discovered by chance in 1972 during construction work and was excavated by Ivan Simeonov Ivanov and others from 1973 to the early 1980s. The material recovered from the site was removed to Varna Archaeological Museum; in 1989 a new museum for finds from the cemetery was under construction. The cemetery comprised at least 190 simple earth-cut pit graves containing individual burials of both men and women. Many contained just a few simple grave goods, or none at all. However, one grave (no. 43) was much richer, yielding over a thousand gold objects. There were also c...

Article

D. Evely

Site in eastern Crete on low hills flanking the north–south route across the Ierapetra Isthmus, inhabited c. 3500–c. 1050 bc. First investigated by R. B. Seager (1903–6), it has been substantially reinterpreted by A. Zoïs (from 1970). Although there are traces of Early Minoan (em) i (c. 3500/3000–c. 2900/2600 bc) pottery, the first clear signs of habitation are of early em ii (c. 2900/2600–c. 2200 bc) date. Buildings belonging to several phases had covered the main hilltop by Middle Minoan (mm) ia (c. 2050–c. 1900 bc). The main surviving structures are two buildings of early em ii date and, to their south, two of late em ii. The settlement was destroyed in a great conflagration towards the end of em ii. The southern pair (now the Red/East and West houses) were regarded by Seager as a single ‘House on the Hill’. Zoïs showed that they were separate buildings, which somewhat weakens earlier theories that Vasiliki anticipated features of Minoan palatial architecture (...

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