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The Painted Wooden Ceiling of the Palatine Chapel

Cappella Palatina

Palermo, Sicily

The painted wooden ceiling of the Palatine Chapel, erected by Ruggero II immediately after his coronation in 1131 and consecrated in 1140, is the only monumental-scale pictorial cycle from the Fatimid period in the Mediterranean basin to have survived in its entirety. The ceiling, made up of star-shaped polygons, is decorated with lively scenes, painted in a clean, clear style with an undeniable Middle Eastern influence, depicting dancing girls, musicians, gamblers, lions and other animals, horsemen and wrestlers, all combined with geometric and vegetal decorations. The polygons are surrounded by inscriptions of good omens in kufic script. The band between the ceiling and the walls is decorated with muqarnas.
Click on an image for a larger version.

Cappella Palatina: Muslim musicians

Cappella Palatina: Mounted falconer

Cappella Palatina: Camel Rider

Cappella Palatina: Roger II

Cappella Palatina: Flute players

Cappella Palatina: Men at a well
The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei.

PDF of The Cappella Palatina Ceiling and the Muslim Military Inheritance of Norman Sicily by David Nicolle, from Gladius, Vol 16 (1983):45-145
PDF of The Paintings Of The Aisle-Ceilings Of The Cappella Palatina, Palermo by Lev Kapitaikin, from Tel Aviv University.

Next: Page 2, The Painted Wooden Ceiling of the Palatine Chapel, Cappella Palatina, Palermo, Sicily

An extract from Crusader Warfare Volume I: Byzantium, Western Europe and the Battle for the Holy Land by David Nicolle, about the Painted Wooden Ceiling of the Palatine Chapel

Referenced as figure 604 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle

604A to 6040. Painted ceiling panels, c. 1140 AD, Siculo-Fāṭimid, in situ, Cappella Palatine, Palermo (BMO).

Referenced by Saljuq Clothing by Elsie H. Peck

Other 12th Century Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers

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