Naughty pictures on the ceiling! The Cappella Palatina in Palermo’s Norman Palace

To find out about the Palatine Chapel in Palermo’s Norman Palace – and to learn why it has pictures of nude belly dancers on the ceiling – see my previous post, reblogged from a great blog about Sicilian history called Siquillya.

These are some more colour pictures of the ceiling. My favourite image is the man with a turban, riding a white camel. I would like to know why this black man is facing one way whilst his legs are running the other way.

Particolare-soffitto-7_590-490--352x288 Particolare-soffitto-21_590-490--352x288 Particolare-soffitto-1_590-490--352x288 Muqarnas-del-soffitto_352-288 Il-soffitto-da-Est_590-490--352x288

To see more pictures of the beautiful chapel, follow this link to a photo gallery by Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

Figure su cammello   Suonatrici di salterio (qanùn) e di liuto ('ud)   Partita a scacchi   Soffitto ligneo della Cappella Palatina<br /><br /><br /> del Palazzo Reale di Palermo

Palazzo dei Normanni

On tripadvisor – reviews and a map

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Those are great photos. It is funny how people think everyone in the past was respectable and conservative. I don’t know if you saw my post about 2 years ago which features “interesting photos” from a Caliph’s palace whilst his poor subjects most likely getting in trouble for even thinking such things!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I had missed that post. Fascinating and beautiful and I envy you for having actually been there! 😉
      I think I vaguely remember having seen a documentary about the place on T some years ago.
      It’s interesting how the rich could break the rules of religion blatantly (like the sultan’s harem in Istanbul and the outrageous medieval Popes and cardinals) whilst the poorer people had to stick to the rules. Or did they? Maybe everyone was just pretending!


  2. fpvpilot says:

    Beautiful and intricate. I like how in these ancient artworks (like these and in Villa del Casale for example) the joys and other events of everyday life are represented in murals. These are the only windows to view the ancient past. Later on, especially in religious art, everything seems to become prude and detached from real life.
    The first image looks like a wrestling match to me.
    I wish my Sicilian relatives displayed as at least half as much interest in their own culture, history, and dialect. I often point out a building in Palermo and ask what it is and they have either no or a very vague answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! Wrestling! That makes absolute sense.
      And I agree they are a fascinating insight into everyday pastimes and pleasures. It’s a pity we need a telescope to see them properly!
      I know a lot of Sicilians who are passionate and amazingly knowledgeable about Sicilian history, so next time you’re down here, let’s arrange a day in Palermo for some guided sightseeing, OK?


      1. fpvpilot says:

        OK! Yes that’ll be great. I’ll keep in touch.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a beautiful chapel. So much for the ‘dark’ ages.

    As to the black man facing the wrong way maybe the artist wanted to convey that although he is embracing whitey he would actually prefer to be running away from him 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL!
      And yes, my perception of the Dark Ages has been completely enlightened by a fabulous documentary series by Waldemar Januszczak called “The Dark Ages: An Age of Light.” (there is a book to go with it) Most definitely worth watching/reading if you have time.
      The dark ages were actually a period of flourishing art and craftsmanship and although it was a time when great empires disintegrated, there was never a cultural decline along with that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There is so much intricate detail in each one of these mosaics its hard for me to stop studying them. Like you, the first one with the black man running one way while facing another is mystifying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did think fpvpilot’s suggestion that they are wrestlers was very convincing, but then I noticed the black man has an erection, so now I wonder, what type of “wrestling” exactly!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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