The Arab–Islamic city has been always a glamorous urban dream in human cultural memory. This is manifested in Cairo, the world’s largest medieval urban system where traditional lifestyles are still implemented. Nevertheless, despite the extensive efforts to preserve Historic Cairo, it is sadly vulnerable. Ahmed Sedky investigates the reasons behind this condition, exploring and comparing regional and international case studies. Questions such as how and what to conserve are raised and elaborated through the perspectives of different stakeholders. A resulting evaluative framework is accumulated that underpins the criteria for assessing area conservation in the Arab–Islamic context and that can be used to delineate the causes responsible for the present condition of Historic Cairo.
Living with Heritage in Cairo
Area Conservation in the Arab–Islamic City
1 April 2009
90 b/w illus.
For sale worldwide
Architecture for the Poor
An Experiment in Rural Egypt
An Experiment in Rural EgyptHassan Fathy
In this now classic work, Hassan Fathy, Egypt’s greatest twentieth-century architect, describes in detail his plan for building the village of New Gourna on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, employing both the traditional building material, mud brick, and such traditional Egyptian architectural features as enclosed courtyards and domed and vaulted roofing. Fathy worked closely with the people to tailor his designs to their needs; he taught them how to work with the mud bricks, supervised the erection of the buildings, and encouraged the revival of ancient techniques, such as the use of claustra (mud-brick latticework) to adorn the buildings. Although bureaucratic red tape and other problems prevented the completion of New Gourna, Fathy’s ideas have since commanded widespread attention both inside and outside Egypt, and Architecture for the Poor remains a testament to his vision as an architect of conscience. “Fathy demonstrates very powerfully that it is possible to build for the poor … cheaply and humanly by the use of earth for building and by teaching people to build for themselves. There is no other book quite like this.” —Choice...read more
132 b/w 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.
Arts of the City Victorious
Islamic Art and Architecture in the Fatimid North Africa and Egypt
Jonathan M. Bloom
Islamic Art and Architecture in the Fatimid North Africa and EgyptJonathan M. Bloom
Arts of the City Victorious is the first book-length study of the art and architecture of the Fatimids, the Shi‘ite dynasty that ruled in North Africa and Egypt from 909 to 1171. The Fatimids are most famous for founding the walled city of Cairo in 969, and their art—particularly textiles and luster ceramics, but also metalwork and carved rock-crystal, ivory, and woodwork—has been admired for nearly a millennium. Fatimid art is known for its strongly figural imagery, and its elegant and inventive use of Arabic calligraphy, particularly the angular Kufic script. Highlighting surviving examples of Fatimid art and architecture, this volume also draws on an unusual wealth of medieval sources that provide written evidence for the rich visual culture shared among the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish inhabitants of the Fatimid realm. Whereas earlier studies treated the two and a half centuries of Fatimid art and architecture as a single category, this book is the first to show how they grew and evolved over time. Written in an engaging and accessible style, this book focuses on key works of art, copiously illustrated with photographs, many in color. With this volume, art historian Jonathan Bloom synthesizes the findings of many scholars in many languages, to offer a rich portrait of a vibrant artistic period in Islamic civilization....read more
150 illus. incl. 50 color
Baghdad Arts Deco
Architectural Brickwork, 1920–1950
Architectural Brickwork, 1920–1950Caecilia Pieri
Despite dictatorship, international sanctions, and the ravages of war, Baghdad endures with a surprisingly exceptional modern architectural heritage. This beautifully illustrated study reveals the splendors of early twentieth-century architecture that still stand on the streets of Iraq’s capital. Caecilia Pieri’s documentation foregrounds the physical reality of modern Baghdad, very different from the image that we normally receive from the media. She draws on a number of unpublished sources and documents to present Baghdad’s architecture in a historical perspective, and her striking photographs taken between 2003 and 2006 document the residential areas of the twentieth-century city, providing an unprecedented resource for historians, urban planners, and general readers interested in discovering a new face of a world capital. With essays by Rifat Chadirji, Ihsan Fethi, and Naïm Kattan....read more
1 March 2011