The great medieval necropolis of Cairo, comprising two main areas that together stretch twelve kilometers from north to south, constitutes a major feature of the city’s urban landscape. With monumental and smaller-scale mausolea dating from all eras since early medieval times, and boasting some of the finest examples of Mamluk architecture not just in the city but in the region, the necropolis is an unparalleled—and until now largely undocumented—architectural treasure trove. In Architecture for the Dead, architect Galila El Kadi and photographer Alain Bonnamy have produced a comprehensive and visually stunning survey of all areas of the necropolis. Through detailed and painstaking research and remarkable photography, in text, maps, plans, and pictures, they describe and illustrate the astonishing variety of architectural styles in the necropolis: from Mamluk to neo-Mamluk via baroque and neo-pharaonic, from the grandest stone buildings with their decorative domes and minarets to the humblest—but elaborately decorated—wooden structures. The book also documents the modern settlement of the necropolis by families creating a space for the living in and among the tombs and architecture for the dead.
Architecture for the Dead
Cairo’s Medieval Necropolis
Galila El Kadi
7 September 2007
320 b/w illus., 105 maps and plans
For sale worldwide
The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and Mosque
Edited by Carolyn Ludwig Morris Jackson Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and MosqueEdited by Carolyn Ludwig
Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
Just to the south of modern Cairo stands the historic enclave known as Old Cairo, which grew up in and around the Roman fortress of Babylon, and which today hosts a unique collection of monuments that attest to the shared cultural heritage of ancient Egyptians, Christians, Jews, and Muslims. In this lavishly illustrated celebration of a very special place, renowned photographer Sherif Sonbol’s remarkable images of the fortress, churches, synagogue, and mosque illuminate the living fabric of the ancient and medieval stones, while the text describes the history of Old Cairo from the time of the ancient Egyptians and the Romans to the founding of the first Muslim city of al-Fustat, focusing on the Jewish history of the area (exploring the famous Genizah documents found in the Ben Ezra Synagogue that tell so much about everyday life in medieval Egypt), the early Coptic Christian churches, some of the oldest in the world, and the arrival of the Muslims in the seventh century, their establishment of al-Fustat on the edge of Old Cairo, and the building of the oldest mosque in Africa....read more
1 March 2017
370 color illus.
Early Persian Painting
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th Century
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th CenturyBernard O’Kane
Kalila wa Dimna (or The Fables of Bidpai) is one of the gems of world culture, having been translated through the centuries everywhere from China to Spain. The stories of Kalila wa Dimna, like the Fables of Aesop or Lafontaine, are subtle and suggestive moral tales—a kind of repository of wisdom and understanding about the human condition. It was the most commonly illustrated medieval Islamic text. This book focuses on the group of seven Persian manuscripts from the second half of the fourteenth century, which contain several of the finest masterpieces of Persian painting. It is a work of enormous erudition and scholarly importance, a huge contribution for art historians and students interested in Persian painting and early Islamic art. In a world now besotted with images, these superb early paintings can give us a glimpse of the power and delight that they must have given their original viewers, and help explain the work’s attractiveness throughout the ages. “These pages will remain forever as a basic tool for all further work on this particular text and as a model for the study of illustrated manuscripts in general”—Oleg Grabar, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton...read more
50 b/w, 91 color illus.
Folk Art of the Great Pilgrimage
Ann Parker Avon Neal
Folk Art of the Great PilgrimageAnn Parker
Since the seventh century, the Hajj, or Great Pilgrimage to Mecca, has been a lifelong goal of devout Muslims throughout the world. Egyptian pilgrims traditionally celebrate their sacred journey by commissioning a local artist to depict their religious odyssey on the walls of their homes. Hajj Paintings is the first visual record of the richness and variety of this naive art form. Photographer Ann Parker and writer Avon Neal spent a decade exploring towns, villages, and isolated farm communities along the Nile, across the Delta, down the Red Sea coast, and into Sinai. On the walls of buildings ranging from alabaster factories to mud-brick farmhouses they found brilliant murals illuminated by the desert sun, portraying beloved icons of the pilgrims’ faith and scenes from the Qur’an. Their nearly 150 color photographs and accompanying descriptions record the radiant palette of the mostly self-taught artists....read more
1 March 2009
130 color illus.
Cairo of the Mamluks
A History of the Architecture and Its Culture
A History of the Architecture and Its CultureDoris Behrens-Abouseif
During two and a half centuries of rule by Mamluk sultans, Cairo acquired some of its most impressive medieval architecture, including the historical monuments that today define the city’s architectural heritage. In this comprehensive work of analysis and description, Islamic art historian Doris Behrens-Abouseif highlights the most important factors in the evolution of Mamluk urban architecture, along with the social and political reasons for their patronage as builders of mosques, schools, hospitals, and mausolea. Copiously illustrated with color photographs and architectural plans, Cairo of the Mamluks highlights sixty of the most important Mamluk buildings in Cairo, in chronological order, from the mausoleum built by Shagar al-Durr, in honor of her late husband, the last Ayyubid ruler, to the magnificent madrasa of Sultan Hasan and the funerary complex of al-Ghuri, the last powerful Mamluk sultan. Long a scholar of Cairo’s historic architecture, Doris Behrens-Abouseif draws on Arabic chronicles as well as the latest in contemporary scholarship to offer a remarkably complete history of Cairo’s justly-famous monuments....read more
258 color illus., 63 line drawings and maps