Cairo’s museums are home to some of the richest collections of Islamic art in the world. Long the seat of great dynasties, whose rulers and descendants both amassed and patronized works of art, Cairo’s status as one of the wealthiest and most populous cities of the medieval world is reflected in the exiquisite arts and crafts that make up its collections, which expanded in the twentieth century through the purchase of private collections so that they now include not just the arts of the dynasties that made Cairo their capital, such as the Fatimids, Ayyubids, and Mamluks, but material from other important areas of the Islamic world, such as Iran and Turkey. Masterpieces of every medium are represented, including the decorative arts of ceramics, metalwork, textiles, woodwork, glass, carved stone and ivory, and the art of the book. The objects vary from pieces made for purely secular purposes, many of them with blazons showing that they were the property of the great amirs of the time, to some of the choicest examples recovered from the architectural masterpieces that permeate Cairo’s landscape. An introductory chapter guides the reader into the world of Islam and its art, while subsequent chapters unfold and describe the riches of the works of art that were crafted and amassed throughout the ages. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with specially commissioned color photographs. Contributors: Mohamed Abbas, Noha Abou-Khatwa, Farouk Askar, Mohamed Hamza, Bernard O’Kane.
The Treasures of Islamic Art in the Museums of Cairo
30 June 2006
300 color illus.
For sale worldwide
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.
Creating Medieval Cairo
Empire, Religion, and Architectural Preservation in Nineteenth-Century Egypt
Empire, Religion, and Architectural Preservation in Nineteenth-Century EgyptPaula Sanders
This book argues that the historic city we know as Medieval Cairo was created in the nineteenth century by both Egyptians and Europeans against a background of four overlapping political and cultural contexts: the local Egyptian, Anglo-Egyptian, Anglo-Indian, and Ottoman imperial milieux. Addressing the interrelated topics of empire, local history, religion, and transnational heritage, historian Paula Sanders shows how Cairo’s architectural heritage became canonized in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book also explains why and how the city assumed its characteristically Mamluk appearance and situates the activities of the European-dominated architectural preservation committee (known as the Comité) within the history of religious life in nineteenth-century Cairo. Offering fresh perspectives and keen historical analysis, this volume examines the unacknowledged colonial legacy that continues to inform the practice of and debates over preservation in Cairo....read more
7 November 2007
36 b/w photographs
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
Messages of Love and Politics
Messages of Love and PoliticsMia Gröndahl
Graffiti began in Gaza in 1987, during the first Intifada, when there was no Palestinian television or radio in the Gaza Strip, and no newspapers: the messages that spread along the walls became an important means of communication. Over the years, all political groups have had their own graffiti artists. Scrawl is not tolerated—it has to look good. Hamas even offers evening classes in graffiti. Documenting the writings on the walls of Gaza over a period of seven years, celebrated Swedish photojournalist Mia Gröndahl lays before us the many roles that they perform, the colorful and surprising range of their artistic expression, and their reflection of the changing political situation. And apart from political slogans, the walls bear witness too to joy and sadness: the wedding celebrations, the many victims of the conflict, and the ever present hope of peace and freedom. For us on the outside, Mia Gröndahl’s photographs offer an exciting and unexpected view of life in Gaza....read more
15 March 2010
150 color illus.