Jordan

Jordan’s history and its ancient art is rich and diverse. It is an important area of Palaeolithic artefacts due to its position within the Levant where migrations out of Africa were converged and some other mysterious and very ancient pieces have been found including the ‘Ain Ghazal Statues – some of the oldest human statues ever found, other examples include human skulls built up with plaster, and inlays used for the eyes. Fortified towns emerged in the Bronze Age due to the presence of copper which is needed for bronze production; during this time Jordan was controlled by the Ancient Egyptians and was later a part of the Canaanite group. Around 700BC Jordan benefitted from trade with the Levant which was controlled by the Assyrian Empire and the later Persian Empire. Following Alexander the Greats conquest of the Near East, Jordan was a disputed territory between the hellenistic kingdoms of the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucids in Syria, out of this conflict the Nabataeans, nomadic Arabs of Jordan managed to establish an independent kingdom in 169 BC, controlling much of the trade routes and forming there infamous city of Petra which included numerous sculpted panels, figurines and decorative friezes. Therefore Jordan has a somewhat unique position within the Levant that it was in close proximity to many large empires yet was periodically able to maintain relative cultural independence, however Jordan was later subsumed by Roman and Byzantine rule before developing its somewhat distinct artistic aesthetic within the wider tradition of Islamic art under the Muslim Empire.