Painting on the ceiling of the main hall
Alhambra, 14th Century
also known as the "Hall of Justice" or "Hall of Kings (la Sala de los Reyes)"

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A rotated detail of the upper section

A detail of the lower section
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A larger image of the Painting on the ceiling of the main hall, Alhambra, Spain, 14th Century
A drawing of the Painting on the ceiling of the main hall, Alhambra, by Owen Jones
The Hall of the Kings is the most emblematic chamber of the Palace of the Lions. It was an area used for relaxation and leisure, structured around a large vestibular hall, more than 30m long, that was reserved for receptions and celebrations.

The Hall of the Kings was named after the ten enigmatic individuals whose figures are illustrated on the dome above the main chamber. For many years the figures were incorrectly thought to depict leading members of the Nasrid dynasty; till the 19th century the chamber was known as the Hall of Justice owing to the fact that the figures were thought to be courtroom judges. Nevertheless, it is generally understood that the scene is a realistic depiction of an activity that commonly took place there: a meeting of dignitaries in the presence of the Sultan or leading members of the Court. The figures, whose features depict venerable westerners, are seen seated in traditional fashion and gesturing while having a lively conversation. They are ceremoniously dressed, bearing swords and wearing belts and Nasrid style turbans.

The paintings on the east side vaults of the Hall of the Kings represent sequentially the scenes of a medieval story in which some knights, clearly distinguishable by their Muslim and Christian robes, perform different tasks perhaps to obtain the favour of a lady in a feudal scenario. The story may be said to start in the northern alcove, be independent or continue and end in the room. Here the scenes represent a chess game being played in a castle, after which the Christian knights, one on foot and the other on a horse, trounce a lion and a bear; on the other side of the castle a Muslim rider spears a large quadriped. From the main tower of a large castle in the upper background, a troubled lady watches a medieval joust taking place, in which the victor is obviously the Muslim nobleman whose spear unseats the Christian knight; on the left of the castle a mythological scene is depicted of the rescue of a lady from the grips of a savage beast. All the scenes take place in the middle of an extraordinary and exuberant natural environment, with birds and wild animals moving in an environment that is densely covered with plants and trees.



See also Painting on the ceiling of the 1st lateral hall, Alhambra, Spain, 14th Century
Painting on the ceiling of the 2nd lateral hall, Alhambra, Spain, 14th Century
Other Spanish & North African Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers