chapter  5
40 Pages

The Mosque and the Palace

WithJean Sauvaget

The work of Creswell progresses little further than that of his predecessors: the mosque of Damascus was, to his mind, little more that an amalgam of architectural motifs of diverse origin assembled in one and the same monument simply on an architect’s whim. There is hardly a work on Islamic art that does not contain at least some discussion of the architectural origins of the mosque. The critical examination of the succession of views professed therein, however, would lead far astray and, moreover, is of but limited interest. The comparison has been made so often that it is routine to find the mosque in Damascus designated as an “edifice of the basilican plan.” More striking is that certain administrative functions were not carried out solely within the palace or mosque, but simultaneously in both venues which, it should be recalled, were usually contiguous to, and communicated directly with one another through the imam’s door.