Jordan’s traditional arts are highly influenced by Islamic art and other traditions from the region. Two of the most significant arts found in Jordan are ceramic arts and mosaic arts. Many of these pieces include Islamic motifs and themes as well as Islamic calligraphy. If you’ve ever seen Islamic calligraphy, it’s an art in and of itself. Some can be quite elaborate. Mosaic art has been discovered in many of the archaeological sites throughout the country and is a skill that is still being encouraged today. In fact the government started a mosaic school in order to preserve the mosaics that are found in these various historical sites. It’s set up in the city of Madaba, which is known for its large mosaic map of the Holy Land.
Another craft known in Jordan is embroidery, especially that from the Palestinian women. They are known for their textile needlework and typically use a variety of colors to create patterns based on geometric shapes. It doesn’t stop there: Jordanians are also known for their rug and carpet making as well as basket weaving. Most of these items are designed for use in the home. Other small handicrafts such as decorative bottles and jewelry are also commonly practiced.
Today, Jordanians also study painting and sculpture and other contemporary arts. Amman is the artistic center of the country, although other larger cities also have their own arts support organizations. Amman has many art museums and smaller art galleries spread throughout the city. These galleries not only showcase many of Jordan’s finest artists but also the works of artists from the entire region. Many Iraqi artists have fled to Jordan to escape the terrible conditions in their country, and there are some galleries designed just for Iraqi art.
|by Fadi Daoud|
Prior to the 20th century, there really aren’t too many works of literature to note. Most of the early literature was in the form of religious texts, and today the vast majority of literature produced is written in Arabic. One of the first Jordanian poets to really become popular was Mustafa Wahbi al-Tal. Many of his poems used humor to discuss life in Jordan as well serious subjects like anti-colonialism and nationalism.
Only in the latter part of the 20th century did Jordanian writers really take the stage. Many of the most popular authors often tout Mounis al-Razzaz as one of the instrumental figures in bringing contemporary Jordanian literature to the limelight. One of the main themes that run through his works includes the transition between small, traditional towns and the larger, more modern cities.
Rifka Doudeen is a female author who has risen to popularity with her collection of short stories and a novel. Other writers such as Ramadan al-Rawashdeh, Mefleh al-Adwan, Basma Nsour, Abdullah Mansour, Abdel Raouf Shamoun, Hashim Ghareybeh, Jamal Naji, and Raga Abu Gazaleh have won many awards and prizes for their works, which are enjoyed throughout much of the Arab world.
There are a few Palestinian authors who have risen to fame as well. There are several authors, like Taher al-Edwan as well as many Palestinian/Jordanian authors who are living abroad, who have written first hand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and books that take place during events in this history. Many of these books have also won national and international awards.
|from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade|
During the past decade, Jordan has made significant pushes toward encouraging the film industry. Several big-name films have been filmed in Jordan (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lawrence of Arabia, The Hurt Locker, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and others), and many more are on the schedule. They do make their own films, and many filmmaking companies across the region choose to film here for many reasons. The popularity of writing films taking place in Iraq has risen, but due to the instability of the security in that country, it’s not always safe to actually film there. Thankfully, the terrain in Jordan is very similar to Iraq, and there are many Iraqi refugees already in Jordan.
Up next: music and dance