The Northern Cemetery of Cairo deals with the beginnings, growth and decline of one of the most important cemeteries of Cairo, which is quintessentially a product of Mamluk patronage. The Mamluks, unlike the preceding dynasties ruling Egypt, failed to develop a new significant urban settlement in their domains. Instead they primarily extended and consolidated some of the existing cities. The establishment of the Northern Cemetery reflects a shift in the Mamluks’ policy. The area was used for military training and as a parade ground, reflecting the military spirit of the formative years of the young state. Urbanization of the area started during the third reign of al-Nasir Muhammad and proceeded slowly during the ensuing period of internal struggle after his death. The Burgi period witnessed royal patronage of the area for the first time; the economic, military, and social decadence of the later Burgi sultanate did not prevent the steady growth and the artistic excellence that characterized the period here, as it did elsewhere in Cairo. The Northern Cemetery was a separate entity isolated on all sides; to the south the steep descent of Bab al-Wazir and the Citadel complex separated it from the Qarafa; to the west the Barqiya mounds and the Cairo wall separated it from the city proper; to the east al-Gabal al-Ahmar fixed its physical limit; its northern boundaries, however, are not clearly defined. The area is perhaps the nearest attempt of the Mamluks to establishing an urban settlement, dedicated not to the living but to the deceased.
The Northern Cemetery of Cairo
34 b/w illus., 4 maps
For sale only in the Middle East
The Churches of Egypt
From the Journey of the Holy Family to the Present Day
Edited by Carolyn Ludwig Gertrud J.M. van Loon Gawdat Gabra Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
From the Journey of the Holy Family to the Present DayEdited by Carolyn Ludwig
Gertrud J.M. van Loon
Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
With over 300 full-color photographs, this is the first fully illustrated book devoted to Christian houses of worship in Egypt. The text incorporates the latest research to complement the broad geographic scope covering nearly all significant Coptic sites throughout the country, from the ancient Coptic churches in Old Cairo to the churches in the monasteries of Wadi al-Natrun, the Red Sea, and Upper Egypt. Churches associated with the Holy Family’s sojourn in Egypt, including Gabal al-Tayr and Dayr al-Muharraq, enrich the volume. Churches of all other Christian denominations in Egypt are also described and beautifully illustrated here. A number of Greek Orthodox churches, Evangelical Coptic, Catholic, Armenian, and Anglican churches are included. Introductory chapters on the history of Christianity in Egypt, the architecture of the Coptic Church, and Coptic wall paintings help readers to appreciate fully the great cultural, artistic, and architectural heritage of Egypt’s Christians....read more
1 November 2012
350 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.
His Lost City and Great Mosque
His Lost City and Great MosqueTarek Swelim
Ahmad Ibn Tulun (835–84), the son of a Turkic slave in the Abbasid court of Baghdad, became the founder of the first independent state in Egypt since antiquity, and builder of Egypt’s short-lived third capital of the Islamic era, al-Qata’i‘ and its great congregational mosque. After recounting the story of Ibn Tulun and his successors, architectural historian Tarek Swelim presents a topographic survey of al-Qata’i‘, a city lost since its complete destruction in 905. He then provides a detailed architectural analysis of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, which was spared the destruction and is now the oldest surviving mosque in Egypt and Africa, from the time of its completion until today. Rare archival illustrations and early photographs document the changing appearance and uses of the mosque in modern times, while extraordinary 3D computer renderings take us back in time to recreate its architectural development through its early centuries. Plans, drawings, and maps complement the history, while striking modern color photographs showcase the elegant simplicity of the building’s architecture and decoration. This definitive and generously illustrated book will appeal to scholars and students of Islamic art history, as well as to anyone interested in or inspired by the beauty of early mosque architecture....read more
13 December 2015
120 illus., including color photos, computer drawings, archival prints