Court Ceremonials and Pastimes
‘An elaborate ceremonial of receptions and audiences evolved.’
From the 2nd / 8th century, the Umayyad caliphate increasingly directed its attention to the East as a reaction to a series of unsuccessful attempts to conquer Constantinople. This shift led to a closer identification with Iran, an identification reflected in the art and architecture but above all in court ceremonials.
An elaborate ceremonial of receptions and audiences evolved, which emphasised the separation of the ruler from his subjects. The surviving Umayyad palaces with their extensive decoration in various media, as well as literary sources from the period, permit us to form an idea about the court ceremonials and pastimes of the ruling elite.
Floor painting

Hegira 109 / AD 727
National Museum of Damascus
Damascus, Syria
A floor painting with a female carrying a basket of fruit. The image is a personification of Earth and it was probably intended to evoke the prosperous rule of the Umayyad caliph.