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
History and Cultural Identity: Revised and Updated Edition
History and Cultural Identity: Revised and Updated EditionViola Shafik
Since it was first published in 1998, Viola Shafik’s Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity has become an indispensable work for scholars of film and the contemporary Middle East. Combining detailed narrative history—economic, ideological, and aesthetic—with thought-provoking analysis, Arab Cinema provides a comprehensive overview of cinema in the Arab world, tracing the industry’s development from colonial times to the present. It analyzes the ambiguous relationship with commercial western cinema, and the effect of Egyptian market dominance in the region. Tracing the influence on the medium of local and regional art forms and modes of thought, both classical and popular, Shafik shows how indigenous and external factors combine in a dynamic process of “cultural repackaging.” Now updated to reflect cultural shifts in the last two decades, this revised edition contains a new afterword highlighting the latest developments in popular and in art-house filmmaking, with a special focus on Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and the Gulf States. While exploring problematic issues such as European co-production for Arab art films, including their relation to cultural identity and their reception in the region and abroad, this new edition introduces readers to some of the most compelling cinematic works of the last decades.
5 January 2017
50 b/w illus.
Gardens of Sand
Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, Arabia, Turkey, and the Levant
Issam Nassar Patricia Almárcegui Clark Worswick
Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, Arabia, Turkey, and the LevantIssam Nassar
Between 1859 and 1905, a number of photographers working in Damascus, Mecca, Cairo, Istanbul, and northern Africa captured their landscapes, towns, and monuments, bequeathing an unprecedented visual documentation of the Middle East. Gardens of Sand brings together 100 original photographs, masterpieces mostly hitherto unpublished, taken between 1859 and 1905. The archive illustrates the themes of the expatriate photographers of the second half of the nineteenth century—study portraits, royal commissions, landscapes, inventories of significant monuments and buildings, orientalist scenes, steeped in classical European imagination—but also explores the confrontation between western imagination and the visual reality of the Middle East, a meeting that gave rise to a local photography, gradually moving further away from western stereotypes, and includes a critical analysis of orientalism and of photography as a means of conveying a reality of prejudices....read more
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
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.