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
300 color illus.
For sale worldwide
Also available by this author
The World of Islamic Art presents a vivid portrait of the cultural heritage of Islam and its great artistic traditions, across an enormous span of geography and time. Having originated in the remote deserts of the Arabian peninsula, Islam grew so quickly that within a century it had dominated North Africa and the former Christian heartlands of Syria and Anatolia. From there the community of believers spread eastward to Persia, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and India, eventually reaching China, Indonesia, and elsewhere in the Far East. The historical diffusion of this truly global religion is related in seven chapters devoted to regionally dominant kingdoms and empires. Each chapter contains an illuminating commentary revealing the beauty and breadth of the many artistic influences—it is explained, for example, how figural imagery was often displaced by calligraphic and geometric forms, and how the sense of the divine in Islam came to be symbolized by the harmonious use of color, pattern, and proportion. Illustrated throughout with a wealth of ornate, often sublime, examples, which include paintings, jewelry, metalwork, sculpture, architecture, and many other art forms, The World of Islamic Art celebrates Islam’s truly magnificent contribution to the cultural and spiritual heritage of humankind....read more
170 color photographs
Cairo of the Mamluks
A History of the Architecture and Its Culture
Doris Behrens-Abouseif 49.95
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
Folk Art of the Great Pilgrimage
Ann Parker Avon Neal 29.95
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
130 color illus.
The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and Mosque
Edited by Carolyn Ludwig Morris Jackson Photographs by Sherif Sonbol 39.95
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and MosqueEdited by Carolyn Ludwig
Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
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....read more
370 color illus.
Rebirth of the City of the Sun
Agnieszka Dobrowolska Jaroslaw Dobrowolski 19.95
Rebirth of the City of the SunAgnieszka Dobrowolska
When in the early years of the twentieth century the Belgian businessman Edouard Empain began to turn his dream of building an entirely new satellite city in the desert outside Cairo into a reality, he followed the then novel urban-planning concept of the “garden city.” But in naming his creation, he turned back to one of the most ancient sites in Egypt, the solar temple of Heliopolis, the biblical On, and in its architecture he sought inspiration in the heritage of Cairo’s Islamic tradition. When the city, known as “New Egypt” in Arabic, was completed, a half-hour tram ride through the desert was needed to reach it. Today, Heliopolis has been enveloped within the huge and ever-growing metropolis of Cairo. However, despite rapid development, overpopulation, and increasing traffic, Heliopolis has retained much of its original character and charm, and the captivating atmosphere of Egypt’s Belle Epoque is still tangible. Its houses, mosques, and churches, designed to imitate various styles of the past, have become historic buildings in their own right. This fully illustrated book introduces the reader to the history and development of Heliopolis through its architecture and its inhabitants past and present....read more
150 illus. incl. 100 in color