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.
The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and Mosque
1 March 2017
370 color illus.
For sale worldwide
Sherif Sonbol is a highly regarded Egyptian photographer. He has contributed photographs to numerous illustrated books, including The Churches of Egypt (AUC Press, 2008), The Nile Cruise: An Illustrated Journey (AUC Press, 2010), and The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo (AUC Press, 2013)
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.
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
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.
Film in the Middle East and North Africa
Edited by Josef Gugler
Creative DissidenceEdited by Josef Gugler
Nine essays presenting the major national cinemas, from Iran to Morocco, are complemented by in-depth discussions of eighteen films that have been selected for both their excellence and their critical engagement with pressing current issues. The introduction provides a comprehensive overview of filmmaking throughout the region, including important films produced outside the national cinemas. The long history of Iranian cinema, its international renown, and the politics of directors confronting the state, earns it a special place in this volume. The other major emphasis is on the Israel/Palestine conflict, featuring films by Palestinian directors, Israelis, and an Egyptian working in Syria. Twenty contributors, from film and literary scholars to film directors and a novelist, bring to this unique volume differences in disciplinary orientation and variation in the perspectives that inform their writing. Together they offer an illuminating range of approaches to the cinemas of the region....read more
55 b/w illus.