Imagining Islamic Aesthetics #30 – Mamluke Dynasty Art and Architecture

The Imagining Islamic Aesthetics postings have reached its 30th mark today! Doesn’t mean anything much though, just telling myself that I still have along way to go.

Anyway, for this edition of Imagining Islamic Aesthetics, We shall look briefly into Mameluke dynasty (particularly in Egypt) art and architecture. The beginning s of the Mameluke or Mamluk dynasty in Egypt began with a Turkish Mamluk (soldier or slave) by the name of Ahmad Ibn Tulun  and created his Tulunid dynasty (hence, effectively became the earliest Mamluk ruler) when he was sent to Egypt as Regent Governor for the Abbasids in 868. Though it was short lived and soon overthrown by Abbassid forces, Mamelukes still hold various posts even in the high offices during the reign of the Ikhshidids  and Fatimids in Egypt. During the Ayyubid Dynasty however, began the origins of the sultanate of the Mamelukes, when Ayyubid rulers had met with internal problems and oppositions, leading up to the rise of the Mameluke Siultans who replaced the Ayyubid.

An example of Mamluk playing card. Islamic art is particularly in its high form during the era of Mameluke Dynasty, that even small items such as this piece of playing card is given an elegant artistic touch.

Circa 1360 Egyptian lamp. Made of glass and painted with enamel and gold, it is located in the Freer Gallery of Art. This lamp is presumably made for a mosque, judging from the calligraphy on the neck.

An illustration of a “mechanism” by Al-Jazari, made in 1315. Now resides in Metropolitan Museum of Art, In New York.

Author - Baldiri

A minaret in the Al-Nasir Muhammad Mosque. Cairo. Egypt. The stonemasons of the Egyptian dynasties exhibit exquisite carving, perhaps an ability taken from their Ancient past.

Author - Michel Benoist

The Mausoleum of the Mamelukes in Cairo, Egypt

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