In one of the rooms of the Jordanian royal palace in Amman hangs a famous painting from 128 years ago by the artist Gustav Bauernfeind. This breathtaking piece of art depicts a group of Jews standing at the Cotton Merchant's Gate, one of the entrances to the Temple Mount.
The artist wrote of the painting: "A group of Jews stand at the gate, their heads thrust slightly forward as they peer into the paradisiacal sun-drenched precinct within, with its gleaming domes and coloured tiles and marbled walls, which once had formed their most sacred national shrine; whereas now, seated before that very portal, sword in hand, the gatekeeper (I nearly called him the Temple watchman) bars their way. Within, Mohammedans dressed in vivid costumes stroll, sit, loll about, and the like. A fine contrast, don't you think?"
King Hussein, the late father of the current monarch, Abdullah, noticed the painting during a visit to Germany more than two decades ago. He fell in love with it immediately. His emissaries paid a fortune to buy it. Through his deft use of the paintbrush, Bauernfeind unwittingly provided the snapshot image that reflects the manner in which the Hashemite kingdom views itself -- the guardian at the gate and legal custodian of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.The piece sold for $533,755 in 1999*.
The rest of the article is very good as well, but this painting encapsulates how Muslims want the Temple Mount to look today: smilingly holding spears to prevent the hated, wretched Jews from visiting while Muslims use the holy place as a park.
*UPDATE: There was a similar painting by Bauernfiend that is the one that was sold in 1999, but the description Christie's quotes gave doesn't quite match it, I cannot find a Muslim guard with a sword. (h/t Irene)