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  2. 2. ('OXTEXTS fobeword A< KNOWI.ElHi.MF.NTs LENDERS To THE EXHIBITION 12 TIIEMA.MI.rK EMPIRE HISTORY AND ADMINISTRATION 24 ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS Introduction ('atalogue 5ii METALWORK Introduction Catalogue IIS CLASS Introduction < 'atalogue 146 CERAMICS Introduction Catalogue 195 WOODWORK IVOin AND STONE Introduction Catalogue 223 TEXTILES ND RUGS Introduction Catalogue ILLI STR TED MANUSCRIPTS Introduction Catalogue 2W KRY TO SHORTEN ED REFERENCES BIBLIOGRAPHY 2S3 APPENDIX
  3. 3. FOREWORD Why is it that a society blossoms out in a bouquet ofartistry at a given moment in time ' Such a moment occurred when the Mamluk sultans. base<l in Cairo. ruled the East from the mountains ofTurkey to the sands of Nubia, from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean to the Arabian Sea By Western reckoning. the period was that of the Middle Age*. For the world of Islam, the two hundredand fifty years of Mamluk rule marked a rebirth. a renaissance Vet then- were parallels Iwlween W est and East in terms of human goals and Achievements. As the workers. jwasants. and merchants of medieval Europe thrust their Gothic spires toward heaven, the craftsmen of the Arab East gave expression to their faith ami their societal concepts with achievements of architecture, religious manuscripts, metalwork, and glass. which form a legacy ofopulence and beauty In aaenm. the title ofthis book ami the traveling exhibition that it recaptures is not entirely accurate The Mamluks were not artists, far from it. They were professional soldiers, merchants ifyou will, the sultan s bodyguards, who themselves in time rose to be sultans ami establish the Mamluk dynasty Their origins wen- not in the great cities of the East Cairo. Damascus. Baghdad but in the far oil plains ofcentral and western Asia Nor<lid they providt a p-rfect stability for the Inndsowr which they reigned Violence ami turmoil wcrr endemic* in the East as in the West in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Ami the Mamluks m the main did nut sit easily on their thrones And yet they were men of vision and practicality They drove the Crusaders from the Ix-vant and turned back the Mongols They then prmwdrd to trade w ith both Europ- and Asia This trade together with the natural gifts uf the region and skills of its people brought a fabled wealth Mamluk society found it natural to divert vast portions of its wealth to the support ofart ists ami craftsmen. Il was equally natural for those artisans to reflect this generosity by devoting their creative efforts to the glorification of their la-nelm tors This interaction of patron and artist is hardly unique to the Mamluks, it han sustained art through the ages. One must remember, though, that this exhibition ami book deal not simply with a renaissance. but with a renaissance of Islam. From the lime of the Prophet Muhammad until today. Islam has represented a way uf lite, an all-encompassing approneh !<• life itsell. The eras dedication to the philosophy and message of Islam is mirrored in its arl. predominantly ordered, symmetrical and geometric in conception ami execution It is |M»sible to -|h <-ulate that this overriding sense of order w as in part a reaction to disorder to the period’s wars, palace rivalries, and cruelties Despite the disorder, the worhi of the Mamluks was a world of commerce. A rich div idend offered by this volume and exhibition is the evidence they provide of the extent Io which the flow of trade across tin world inspired an intermingling uf images and artistic com-epts. Today, as five centuries ago. the world yearns for peace and unity It is heartening then, to note that this treasure of Mamluk art was gathered together with the unstinting coopTation of the governments of Egypt and Syria and museums, national and private, on four continents with the generous support of an American enterprise, the I'nited Technologies Corporation, and with the dedicated help of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service ami .< variety >>| other Smithsonian staff members and offices. It is through such joint efforts that the cultural accomplishments of the past ran be harnessed to enrich the present S Dillon Ripley Stt rflfi/i/ StiHlIiMinitiH Iii'liliihun
  4. 4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This project was initially conceived as a survey of Mamluk art As my research progressed. I l»ccamc enchanted with the richness ol the artistic traditions and wanted Io share with a w ider audience an Appreciation of the technical excellence and aesthetic refinement of these remarkable objects, and thus the handbook became un exhibition catalogue The enthusiasm and sup|M>rt of friends and colleagues encouraged me to undertake the organization ol a traveling exhibition that would present the splendid art of the Mamluks to the American jieople, This project is the result of a joint effort by many indiv iduals vv ho have enabled me to bring the exhibit to realization by providing reference material and assisting in the selection ofobjects I mn grateful to the collections in Canada Egypt England. France In land, Syria and the I’nitcd States for the loan of their precious objects as well as to the American museums for hosting the exhibition For the assistance given bv the Egyptian authorities 1 vv i.-h to acknowledge His Excellence Di. Ashraf A Ghorlud. the Ambassador of the Arab Republit of Egypt to the I nited States Dr Mansur Hassan Minister of Culture and Information Di Fouad cl Orabi Executive Assistant to the Head of the Higher Council fort ultural Affairs; Dr Sliehada Adam President of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization. Dr Salah Abd el-Sabor. Director of the General Book Organization in Cairo and Director of the National Lihrarv and Abdel Rauf Ali Vusuf. General Director of the Museum of Islamu Art, and members of his curatorial staff For the assistance given by the Syrian authorities I am grateful to His Excellency Dr Sabah Kabbam. formerly the Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic Madame Nagar Attar . Minister ol Culture and National Guidance Dr Afif Bnhnassi. Director General of Antiquities and Museums; and Muhammed al Klioli, Curator of Islamic art. National Museum in Damascus I am especially grateful to His Excellency Alfred I.. Atherton. Jr Mrs Atherton, and Alan Gilbert of the American Embassy in Cairo: His Excellency Talcott W Sevlye and Kenneth R Audroueofthe American Embassy in Damascus; Paul E Walker and James Allen ofthe American Research Center in Egypt who gave all possible help in arranging loan negotiations. Friends and colleagues who provided assistance include Dav id Alexander. Research Assistant in the Arms and Armor Department. Metropolitan Museum of Art Leopoldine H Ar/.. Registrar. Walters Art Gallery Marl he Bernus Taylor, Curator of the Islamic Section Musee du Louvre; Susan Boyd Curator of the Byzantine Collection Dumbarton < Inks. Filiz Gagman ami Zeren Tanindi. < 'unitor and Assistant Curator of Manuscripts Topkapi Palm e Museum John < an»wc||. Director. Oriental Institute Museum Patricia Fiske Assistant Curator. Textile Museum Sidnev M Goldstein, Curator of Ancient Glass, Coming Museum ofGlass Lula Ibrahim Professor Americ an I'niversitv in Cairo David James. Assistant Directot Chester Beattv Library . Arielle P Kozloff. < urator of Ancient Art and Dorothy Shepherd. Curator of Islamic Art. Cleveland Museum of An Kurt T Lurkner. Curator of Ancient Art. Toledo Museum of Art Louise W Mackie formerly <'urator. Textile Museum, now at the Royal Ontario Museum, Maan Madina Professor of Middle East languages and Cultures. Columbia I'niversitv Elsie Holmes Perk Associate Curator of Near Eastern Alt. Detroit Institute of Alts John RiMlenlwck Director. I’nivcreitv Press of I he American I’niversity ill Cairo: John E. Vollmer. Associate ('urntor. Royal Ontario Museum; and Oliver Watson. Assistant Keeper for lslumi< Art Victoria and Alliert Museum S|M‘< ial thanks go to Marilyn Jenkins. Associate < 'urator ol Islamic Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art. ami J. Michael Rogers. Assistant Kee]M*r of the Department of Oriental Antiquities, British Muiwutn. lor their w illingness to share their research Amal Abul hajj (Hull), formerly Curator, Islamic Museum of Hanim al Sharif in Jerusalem lor her Advice on inscriptions Amal el Eman Professor of Islamic
  5. 5. LENDERS TO TH E EX H 1BITK)N Art I’mversity of Cairo. lor verifying inscriptions on objects from < ;iirv Ludvik Kalil- Professor <•! Arabic Epigraphy Erole du Ixnivr*- Paris lor reading the passages on tlx* laaivte p*n Ih>x and hclm«-t YousifI >hularn for deciphering the kuiic inscriptions on the Walter* Art i.dl.iv candlestick and Yasser ill Tid.l.a of the Institute ..I Fine Arts lor his assistance in translating the m-enp tKMUton late titte«-nth «r-nt iu metalwork Among the staff of lh«* Freer Callery of Art I would like to thunk William*! 'ha-- Head Conservator win* photographed tin oimnkable priplieral view .-of the Leakers limn the Wallers Art Call. t and who repaired the copper tray from tin Embassy ol the W.ib Republic i.| Egypt Lymla Zy cherimin Conservator who I"' pared the trrhiii. al rep.rt on objects from Cairo as wellas on other loan* Stanley E Tlirek and .lames T Hayden who pin.’orI.,plied M teral objects including those from the Madina Colhvfmn and the Textile Museum Harriet M< W illiams Assistant Registrar w ho assisted in the typing of the thud manuscript and Dany Curtis-. my invaluable secretary who typ'd numerous drafts, made < on. ■ tion> and spent hour* on the Arabic transcriptions I would like to acknowledge Kulhleen Preciado of tie Smithsonian Institution Pres- who edited the catalogue Anm* R Gossett Emily Dyer and the stall of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service which organized the exhibition and arranged the national tom Ri. hard S Fiske Director of the National Museum of Natural Hi-toiy . lot hosting the Washington. l>« showing and Eugene IMilen < hi« l of the (Itfi.e of Exhibits at the same miiM-uni fm giving full supp.rt during the installation . M C Zahariya. who en aterl the epigraphic blazon of the Arabic title of the exhibition. Minim i Keene who prepared tin* panel with ivory’ plaque* on display from the Metropolitan Museum ol Art and Deivk Birdsall for hi» -up-rh and sensitive design of the Ixxik .luhtin Andrew Schuller sp ot many weeks photographing objects in Cairo ami Damascus Ills photographs ol the Mamluk monuments in Cairo an- included in tlx* exhibition and must of the color illiLst rations m the eatalogue are the result of his work. References to the objects ami the bibliography were compiled by Marianna S Simpson w hose assistance was inestimable during the planning stages of the exhibition and catalogue. < ami Bier help'd finalize the project ami Holly Edwards worked on various asp'ets of the exhibition This project would not luivv lieen possible without grants from the Smithsonian Foreign Currency Program, the Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange between the I nited States of America and the Arab Republic o| Egy pl the Smithsonian Institution Seliolaily Studies Program ami Trans World Airlines. I am particularly indebted to Mrs < .eorgv McGhee for her financial assistanee Above all I am grateful to Harry Cray. Chairman of I ’nitcd Technologies < Corporation Hi- compiny s generous ami imaginativ e suppirl made p.s*iblr both this catalogue ami the exhibition itself Esin Atil ( Hftllor •>] Xw Eririt rn . I rt Erm (InUrry »f .Irl Baltimore The Walters Art Callery Boston. Museum of Fine rt- * aim Museum of Islamic Art < 'aim Nat ional Library Cleveland. The Cleveland Museum ol Art Corning. New York. The Corning Museum <>f <da.— Damascus National Museum Detroit The Detroit Institute of Arts Dublin The Chester Beatty Library London. The British Museum London. Victoria ami Alliert Museum New York Madina Collection New York The Metropolitan Musem of Art Paris Musee du Louvre Toledo. The Toledo Museum of Art Toronto Royal < Intario Museum Washington. DC.. Dumbarton < hiks Washington. DC Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt Washington. DC. The Textile Museum
  6. 6. THE MAMLUK EMPIRE: HISTORY AND ADMINISTRATION Duirriliinl mark* an- not u-od in the trarwliirration of Arnim- w<*nl- and name*.
  7. 7. CENTRAL AS1 12511 1517 Shiraz Mid i SYRIA PALESTINE lilru-al.- llai’lulail MAMLUK EMI’IRf U»<lih mint-tiH Sea < ¥!’Hl > Ankara { .AXATI ILIA AU -a- Jliy.ilX ^•T»l>™ IliAIJ AIfXanilria Hormuz
  8. 8. Following the<<(ilh(NeoftheAyyubki"tali- in 1260,the Mamluk sultansratablifbedn formidable empire, ruling Egypt Syria, and Palestine for more than two hundred and fifty years, their frontiers extending from southeastern Anatolia to the Hijaz and incorporating parts ofSudan ami Libya.' Soon after coining Io power, they defeated the Mongols and ex|n-lled the last ofthe Crusaders from the Near East Trade and agriculture flourished under Mamluk rule, and ('air**, their * apital, bream? one of the wealthiest cities in the Near East and the center ofartistic and intellectual activity It also became tin1 scat of the caliphate and. thus, the most prestigious capital in the Islamic world The word mamluk derives its meaning from the root ofthe verb "to own” in Arabic and refers to persons who were purchased. captured, or acquired as gifts or tribute. The mamluks were at first drawn exclusively from the Turkish tribes ofCentral Asia but later included other peoples from Western Asia Carefully trained in all forms of warfare and horsemanship, they were em­ ployed as bodyguards of the sultans taler. they were freed ami assigned to specific offices that entitled them to have their own mamluks Amirs or freed mamluks rose rapidly within the a<lministration: they often usurped the throne, attempting to establish their own dynasties. In spite of the risks involved, the chivalry of the mamluks made them indispensable to the rulers, w hocould not rely upon the loyalty oftheirsubjectsand who feared the rivalry oftheirrvlativre The tradition of owning an elite corps of bodyguards can In- traced to early Islamic history when the caliph* of Baghdad began to acquire mamluks It continued under the Ayyubids: Sultan hI Salih Najm al bin Ayyub (1240 49) stationed his mamluks in Cairo on the Island of Rodu overlooking the Nile This corp* was known as al Bahnyya al-Salihiyya. identified by the location of their liarracka oftheir origin (bahri meaning the w-a or those who came from across the sea) and the honorific title of their owner Il was the leaders of this group who established in Egypt and Syria the first Mamluk empire • allnl the Bahri Mamluk or more nirreetly tin- Dawlat al Turk, the Turkish State The sultanate of the Bahri Mamluks was overthrown by the mamluks ofSultan Qalawun (1279 90). who had created a regiment ofhis own bodyguardsandquartered them in towers in theCitadel ofCairo This secund jicriod. calk’d the Burji Mamluk (burj meaning tower) is referred to by Arab historians as the Dawhit al-Jarkas. the Circassian State since most of the Burji sultans were originally from the Caucasus The historical distinction between the two Mamluk empires, however is arbitrary ami there is no real, social, political, oradministrative difference between the Bahn and Burji periods HISTORY Bakri Prriod (12M IMO) The formation of the Mamluk slate reads like a medieval romance. full of violence and female intrigue When Najm al Dm Ayyub died in November 1219 his wifi-Shajar al-Durr (Tree of I’eaiL < nneeakd the news ofhis death and ruled by herarif for several months until his son and heir Turan Shah could arrive from M*«ul wherehr hadbeenservingasgovernor. Shajaral-Durr, a woman of intelligence and ambition, had formerly been in the harem of al Mustasim. the Abbasid caliph of Baghdad, who sent her as a gift to Nnjm al Din Ayyub The Ayvubid army unaware of the sultan s death, won a remarkable victory over the Crusadera in February 125" attheBattleolal Mansura Turan Shah, who finally arrived in Cairo and ascended the throne, was greatly dishkwl and was murdered within two months His death ended Ayyubid rub- in Egypt, the Bahri mamlukselected Shajand Purr astheir new sultana and appointed an amirnamed Aybak as hercommander in chief Thus, the Mamluk state was born in May 1250, with a woman on the throne. AI-.Musta.siin. however, was reluctant to bestow the diploma ofinvestiture ton woman who had once belonged to him. and it was finally decided that Shajar al-Durr should marry the commander-in-chief, Aybak. She abdicated the throne in his favor after having reigned only righty days. The Bahri mamluks, vehemently opposed to Aybak. supporteda rival named Aktay who was murdered bythe new sultan Aktay sdeath forced many ofhis mamluk allies toescape to the courts of the last Ayyubid princes who still ruled in Syria. Although Aybak was able to withstand the mamluks antagonism, he made the fatal mistake ofoffering to marry the daughter of the ruler of Mosul in 1257 and. thereby, incurred the wrath of Shajar al-Durr The queen subsequently lured him to her chamlMTsand murdered him in his bath Shajar al-Durr herself met an equally treacherous end three days later at the hands of Aybak’a vengeful concubines, who beat the queen to death with their clogs and threw her body from the walls of the palace. The throne ofthe newly founded Mamluk state passed to Aybak'a son, a fifteen year-old youth named All who ruled until 1259. at which date he was deposed by an amir named Qutuz. Qutuz welcomed tile exiled Balin mamluk* to Cairo and invited them to join forces against the Mongols who. having captured Baghdad and killed the caliph a year earlier, were now rapidly moving into Syria. Among those who returned to Cairo to take up their old positions were Bayban* ami Qaiawun. both Kipchak Turks and former mamluks of Najm al Din Ayyub. The Bahri chapter of Mamluk history actually begins with Bay bars (1260 77) who fought valiantly with Qutuz in September 1260 and helped devastate th*- Mongol foreesat AinJalut near Nazareth This glorious victory which was the Mongols first defeat was sung by poets ami celebrated throughout the Islamic world. A month later Qutuz was stabbed to death, and the Mamluk throne passed to Baybars, who was called al-Bunduqdari. the bowman, after his first official post. He took the additional titles al Malik al Zahir Rukn al Din al Salihi (officer ofSalih, that is. Najm al Din Avyub). During his seventeen-year reign. Bay bars consolidate*! the empire, unified the army, and formed the basis ofa powerful state that endured until t In* second decadeof the sixteenth century Baybars was the epitome of the chivalrous, energetic, and enlighten***! sultan He moved back and forth throughout hi* empire with the s|m****I of lightning, reconstructing fortresses, roads, bridges, and canals, inspecting the army anil the navy . ami checking the fiefs. lie established n regular postal service between Egypt and Syria that had twice-weekly pickuj* and four *lay delivery; even so. Baybars found this method of communication too slow knd often relied on carrirr jsigeons In the area offoreign affaire the sultan established goodrelations with the Byzantine emperor Michael vill Palaeologus and with Manin**! ofSicily . These contacts place*! him in a position to be well informed of any new developments on tin* part of the Crusaders. He also formed an alliance with Berko Khan the head of the (.'olden Horde (th** Kip* Irak Mongols of th** Volga) and grandson of Genghis Khan, who had converted to Islam becoming a sworn enemy of the still pagan Hkhanid Mongols of Iran Baybare also developed a friendly rapport with the Seljuks of Anatolia whose lands were strategically placed next to the Mongol realm and the Christian kingdom ofCilicia The sultan's military activities are also noteworthy. He fought simultaneously in AnatoliH and Nubia, conducting thirty eight campaigns in Syria alone and personally leading half of them Baybare dis|wised ofthe last ofthe Ayyubids in Syria, put an end to the feared sect of the Assasms andcontinued to inflict severe defeatsupon the Mongols As amir, he had taken part in the Battle of al-Mansura against the ('ruaadera. and as sultan he continued to weaken their strength by taking almost all < 'rusader strongholdsand ports from Caesarea to Antioch, sacking Sis. Adana, and Tarsus. In addition to vanquishing the pagan Mongols and the infidel Crusaders. Baybare had the /2 13
  9. 9. foresight and tin* political savvy to welcome tin* last memla-r of thv house <»f Baghdad which had Ihi*ii destroyed by thv Mongols in I25X The n-mstatvment ol tin- Abbasid caliph in • nil. not only enhanced th. iinjMirtamvof Egypt. but also led to tin* .Mamluks' suzerainty over th. h..l < itu- ..I Mr.-.-a mid Medina in the Hijaz Now the Mamluk empire was not only one of the strongest political entities in the Near East. but also the protector rd Islam Although Baybars was primarily preoccupied with battles against foreign invaders and local insurgents, as well as the problem «d consolidating his stat- hr found time to restore the major buildingsin the empire and to construct new edifices His most important structuresare a mostpie and madrasa in Cairo and a mausoleum in Damascus His amirs also sup|M>rtvd the arts and commissioned metal and glass object s (see 110s In 12 and lb. The energetic patronage provided by the court enabled artists to formulate a Mamluk style of art and architecture that became fully established by the beginning of the fourteenth century A legend m his own turn- Baybars died at the height ol his carver in .lune 127" after drinking a cup of poisoned fermented mare s milk He was succeeded by two of his sons. Baraka Khan (1277 79> and Salamish. a scvrti-year-old child whose reign lasted only lour months. The next sultan was Qalaw nil. who established a dynasty that ruled the Mamluk empire until 1390 Fourteen of his defendants, from sons to great-great-grandson, ruled consecutively with only three relatively brief interniptions Qalaw tin had la*vn a trusted friend of Bayhars and was made Commander ol One Thousand or amir-i alf. which was included in lus titles, al Malik al Mansur >ayl al Dm Qalawun al Alfi together with al-Salilii in homage to his first master Sultan al Salih Najm al Dm Ayyul. Qalawun followed tin* jiolicivs of Bay bars, to whom he was by his daughter s marriage to Bay-ban* * son Baraka Khan . he had also served as the uI<iIh k or regent for Baybars's other son Sahimish Qalawiin succeeded in protecting the empin* against the continual attacks of the Mongols and them in 12X1 at Homs, forcing t heir withdraw from Syria In 12x5 his armies took the fortress of the Hospitalers at al Mar<|al>, com|N'lling the Christian knights to retreat to Tripoli w In. h Qalaw un also took lour years later The sultan died nt t he age of seventy in November 12!M> as hr was preparing lor the xeige of Acre. the last of the < 'rusader strongholds. I lie Mamluk empire was now firmly established as the major |M»wer hi I hr Near East, and the tin. at of the Mongol- and Crusaders was |icrmnnently thwarted Qahiwun followed Bayhars - foreign policy ami established amiable diplomatic and trade relations with neighboring stales Trade flourished with merchants from China India, and 'l emeu bringingvaluable goodsthrough Mamluk ports and leaving rich revenues to the state Like Baybars, Qalawun renovated the fortifications of the Mamluk frontier towns ami provided security for both residents and merchant' His complex in < ’aim, comprising a mausoleum madrasa, and hospital, w as lavishly iidomcd with stucco marble ami glass mosaics, symbolizing the wealth of the empire. Alter Qalaw iiii s death hiseldest son. Khalil was appointed sultan ami reigned for threc years, h hitIII sniost im|»ortant political activity was the svigvot Aviv begun by his father This Christian stronghold le|| m 1291 together with Tyre ami Beirut The sultan continued commercial and diplomatic relation-, w it I. neighboring states ami Inuit a fleet to protect hi' Mediterranean coasts and momi|M>h7v the East West trade route, which went cithci inland through Syria or across southern Arabia the Bed >< .i Alexandria and Diimirtta before reaching Europe Heir to the |s»liti..d stability, administrative cHicn-m-y and flourishing vonimvn-ial activity established under the first .Mamluk sultans was Nasir al Dm Muhammad Qahiuun s y ounger son, who reigned for almost hall a century Al Malik al Nasir Nasir al Dm Muhammad ight year-old when the mamluks chose him as then sultan alter his stepbrother Khalil was in I bi-vmhvr 1293 lie was deposed the following year by Amir Kitbugha, on.- of his lather s former mamluks In 1296 Kitbughn was killed and replaced by another amir. Lajin. who met the same fate three years later. In February 1299 Nasir al Din Muhammad, now fourteen years old was reinstated on flu Mamluk throne The young sultan was abb* to rule for ten years Is-lore again living depistil Tin* new sultan Bay bars II. al-JasImigir. was formerly tlu* imp-rial taster. In 1393 he and Amir Salar won a victory against the Mongols in Syria. When Baybars ii the throne in 1309. he took the title al Muz.atlar Rukn al Din and Salar his viceroy This arrangement lasted about a year undin 1310 Nasiral Din Muhammad returned to the throne fur the third time, had Baybars Hand Salar killed, and ruled without interruption until Ins death in June 1311 Although Nasir al-Din Muhammad s first two reigns were characterized by unrest ami political turmoil, his third reign was renowned not only for its duration but also for its p-ace and prosperity' He Iivcame adept nt settling affairs ofstate through diplomacy and friendly alliances with neighboring p.wers In 1323 the sultan com luded a pn.-e treaty with Alm Said tin- first ruler of the llkhanids to be Iwirn a Muslim, thus ending the long feud with the Mongols that had been going on since the birth of the Mamluk empire. His court was frequented by embassies from the Khans of the Golden Horde. Rasulids of Y.-mcn, llkhanids of Iran ami sultans of Delhi as well as the 1‘ope and the kings ol Aragon. France. Byzantium. Bulgaria. Tunisia and Abyssinia Trade was supported by both tin- Mamluks and the Mongols to mutual benefit, and luxury g.Hsis from the < trient p.i—ed through Syria and Egy pt The golden age of Mamluk art occurred .luring Nasir al-Din Muhammad's reign. With his treasury overflowing with revenues from trade and improved methods of agriculture, he could well afford to be the greatest Mamluk patron of rhe arts, commissioning magnificent palaces and mosquesand ordering spectacular objects lor secular and religious use The amirs competed with the sultan, building and furnishing masques. madrasas, mausoleums, k/iiiHi/fi* (Sufi monasteries) <ndnla' (inns). (fountains) bath*, ami palace* The wealth of the Mamluk empire and the luxury of the sultan's court stimulated artists and architects to achieve thv highest technical and aesthetic p-rl.i-timi during the first half of the fourteenth century. Thv competitive and demanding patronage of the court enabled artists to excel in the creation of manuscripts, metalwork, glass, ceramics, textiles and all forms of architectural decoration (Mi­ nos. I 3. IX 28.50 51 53.66 73.77 M 92 96 99 100. I<>2 3. I<i6. ami 113 17. land II). The fierce competition among piwerful amirs of the court w Im held the posts of imperial cup­ bearer taster, and secretary (such a.- Qusun. Almas. Altunbiigha Bvshtak.’Salar Toquztimur. and Kitbugha ami Bay bars the latter two later usurp'd the throne) extended into the patronage of art and architecture and led to an unprecedented explosion in artistic production (mi-nos. 15 16.27 28, and 93 96) Thearts wen- also supported by the orbabal-qalau‘ or men of thv pen, including the renowned scholar Abul who was a descendant of thv Ay y uluds and a trusted Irien.l ofthe sultan (see nos. 23 21 ami 53) Thv work ofMamluk artists was in demand by thv Basulid sultans of Yemen, who ordered a number of inlaid brasses and enameled and glass (noa, 14, 22. and 50). Thv wealth ofgoods arriving from thv East introduced new decorative features readily adapted by Mamluk artists Far Eastern ami Central Asian Moral motifs (such as lotus and peony senilis) and fantastic animals (including therA i/iaand phoenixJenriehedthe decorative vocabulary and wen* absorlail by thv indigenous traditions, which showed a predominance of arulM-sque* and inscriptions. Figural compositions employed on metalwork, glass, ceramics, and textiles had a last great flourish (see nos. 10-23,44 4S, X2-84. 102 113. and 117) but wen-gradually n-plai-ed by epigraphy and blazons (see nos. 24 32.50.52. ami 93 96). wliiih along with Ihe arabesquebecame characteristii' themes of Mamluk art until the end of the empin- Thv descendants of Nasir al-Din Muhammad continued to support the arts and lived in luxurious surroundings, even though thv actual rule of the empire was in the handsoftheir amirs. 14
  10. 10. Twelve sultans wen- (some nt them twice) in a span of forty nine years following the death ..I Nasir al-Din Muhammad with the longest reigns Monging to Hasan and Shahan n During the reign <il Sultan Hasan < 1317 51 and 1354 C>|) oneof Nasir al-Ihn Muhammad's eight •M.nstoasevnd the thmne. the real ruler was Amir Narghithmish Shahan ii (1363 76). grandsonof Nasir al Din Muhammad, was on the throne at the age of ten by the powerful Amir Vrlbugha ami was under his control lor most of Ins sultanate I tespitethe lack of political indi-p-ndcm-v both Hasan and Shahan it wen* active patronsof art and an hitri ture (see me. 4 6. 30 33 52: ill and i |. One of the most celebrated structures in 1 aim is the madmsa and mausoleumof Sultan Hasan, built livtwcen 1356 and 1362and decoratint with sii|mtI> stonework metalwork ami woodwork Theglass mosque lamp* (no. 52) produced for this i omplex an* among the masterpieces of Mamluk art Amir S.irghitbluish. the sultans master o| the mla-s ami Amir Shaykhu hiscuplwamr. aIso commissioned inos.pjcs. XAu/e/us. and which were adorned uitli impressive lamps ami other architectural decoration In his turn. Shaban II dedicated spectacular Korans(no> 5 «■) for his complex built in 1376 as well as for the madrasa of his mother. Khwand Baraka, founded in 1368 till In the -•■oiid halfofthe fourteenth century. the political andeconomic fortune-, ofthe Mamluk Mate were undermimii by several natural calamities and man made disasters. Pestilence and disease attacked livestock and agricultural produce; the dreaded Black Death seriously* reduced the population of Egypt and the Near East between 1348 and I35<i A fleet from Rhodes. Venice ami Genoa led by the king of Cyprus. Alexandria in 1365, plundered the city, and raptured thousands of resident* Peace was finally secured in 1370, enabling the Mamluks to move against the kingdom ofCilicia. a troubles,miv Christian state from the Mamluk view for its continual support of the Crusaders Mamluks captured Adana and Tarsus The fall of Sis. the capital put an end to the kingdom A different type of disaster was brewing to the cast with the i entnd Asian armies of Timur advancing into the heart of the Islamic world But this time a Burp amir named Barquq had overthrown the Bahri ruler and claimed the sultanate in 1382. taking the titles al Malik al-Zahir Sayf al Din The Inst Bahri sultan Hajji 11. w as reinstated and rilled until 131Ml nt which date he was once again deposed bv Barquq, thereby ending the Bahri Mamluk period Hf'rji I’trnri t I3.V' 1517) Barquq had Item purchased in the Crimea and. unlike other mamluks, he knew his father. Anas. He overthrew the eleven year old Hajji II hut was himself ousted in an uprising among the mamluk', who imprisoned him ami reinstalled Sultan Hajji in 1389 Barquq escaped from prison, gathered his forces -.nd made a Iriiimphnnt reentry into Cairo the following year. He reclaimed the Mamluk throne, establishing the Burji rule in Egypt and Syria Timur s advance into Iran and Iraq forced Barquq to form an alliance with the sultan of the ' Ittomans and the Khan of the Golden Houle; he also offered refuge to the ruler of Iraq. Sultan Ahmad Jaluir. whose capital of Baghdad, had Iwen sacked liy thcTimurids. Barquq died in 1309. In-Ion- In- could confront Timur himself It was leiI to I’aruj. Ins thirteen year-old son and successor. to fave the fearsome enemy After Timur's army sacked Aleppo and Damascus. Faraj was forced to sign a humiliating treaty Barquq s ambition had liven not only to terminate the rule of tin- Bahri sultans but also to re. realr then glorious age and to outdo their magnificent endowments. In 1381 86 he erected a mosque next to the complex of Qalawun and th.- mosque of Nasir al Din Muhammad and . nili-lliilml it with enameled and gilded mosque lamps, marble pavements and silver inlaid in.-tal doors. Faraj. following in hi* footste|». built a great Hain././and mausoleum for his father in th.- northern cemetery ofCairo. During the early decades of the fifteenth century, the Mamluk economy was by inadequate collection of taxes, loss of trade revenue, increasing military expenditures, devaluation of the currency, and inflation Famine and food shortages added to the high <*ost of living and began to undermine the wealth of the empire In the Burp period, the sultanatv was generally achieved through violence and intrigue, and it became customary for rulers to reward theirsupporters quite liandsomelv in orderto remain in power. The sultans purchased new slaves and created a personal corps for self'protection. further draining the treasury. I'nlikr the mamluks of the Bahri period, these slaves were often adults and difficult to control; they became unruly, harassed the population, and invited riots. Offices were now sold to pay brilies and buy new slaves In the next tenyears the Mamluk throne wasoccupied by several amirs, each ofwhom came to a violent end The moat powerful among them was al Muayyad Nayf al Din Shaykh (1412 21). who was able to reestablish internal security and partially restore the economy In spite of internal unrest ami corruption, the empire was still strong enough to extend its frontiers and continue trade activities. During the sultanate of Barebay (1 >22 38). who look the title al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Cyprus wa- conquered in 1426 arid the territory of the Akkoyunlu Turkmans in southeastern Anatolia was raided. Barebay resorted to devious and unorthodox measures to increase the revenues of his state he diverted the Indian trade from Aden to Jvdd.i which was under Mamluk rule, and thus collected a substantial amount of addit ional taxes, he pla<*ed a state mono|H>ly on commercial items, such as spices ami sugar he even banned non Muslims from entering government service. know mg well that they would try to get in by paying large sums, which would eventually find their way into the state treasury. Following the practice of Mamluk rulers Barabay Imilt impressive structures in Cairo including a mosque-madraxa and a Lhtint/ii with his mausoleum (see no. 107), and supplied them with illuminated Koran* (nos 7 8) The sultan also commissioned metalwork for both personal and ceremonial use (no 411 Barebay wassucceeded by his fourteen year old son. Yusuf w ho was overthrow n after ninety fourdays by his regent.Jaqtnaq 11438 53) During the next fifteen year*, the t krone w as by six rulers, the longest sultanates la-longing to Inal (1453 611 ami Khuxhqadarn (1461 67). The reign of the next sultan Qaitbay (1468 !H>) was phenomenal in that it lasted almost three decades and witnessed the renaissance of Mamluk art. Qaitbay was second only to.Sultan Nasir al-Din Muhammad in his patronage of the arts He was obsessed with endowing buildings and erect**! numerous mosques, fountains, gates. judai-es. and inns throughout the capital as well as in Alexandria. Mecca. Syria, and Palestine (see nos. I<»5 and 112). His mausoleum, built Is tween 1472 and 1474 in the northern cemetery of Cairo, is a jewel of Mamluk architecture, richly decorated with and inhid stone, stained glass, and metalwork Coder his patronage, all forms of artistic production were revitalized. with the court commissioning manuscripts, metalwork glass, ceramics. textiles, and rugs (see nos. 9. 34 35 39 and 121 28) Qaitbay whose reign titles were al-Malik al-Ashraf Abu I Nasir Nayf al-Din al-.Mahmudi al-Zahiri. wasoriginally purchased by Barebay lb- ruled w ith compassion, wisdom, andstrength, lie deposed rulers and their descendants with respect an«l earned tin* true devotion of his mamluks The sultan increased state revenues by encouraging commercial activities; he granted new privileges to Europeans and local merchants by abolishing certain taxes. 1 lie income from improved commercial activities, however, wax nil but spent on supportingthe army and constructing new buildings Qaitbay antagonized the < fttoman sultan Bvyazid11 by supporting his brother and pretender to the throne. Bevazid retaliated by invading Cilicia. capturing Tarsus and Adana Although the Mamluk army was sur.i-xsful in halting the enemy advance. Qaitbay the immense power of the < Ittomans and sued for peace in 1491 16
  11. 11. Tin- final war- ill (Jaitbay - reign were troubled by tin- plague which kilhtl a substantial |M»rtii,n ol the population. including hi- wife and daughtei This calamity was followed by a devastating famine Despite these disasters. the ageof (Jail luy was the highe-t point in the Burji |M*ii<id. The -ultnn. whodied in -Inly I4!lli, left a proud and glorious|ega< y In- bail recaptured the splendorol the past, however briefly «Jail bay w a- -m <-e«-d«-d by his soli Muhammad who was replaced in I4'JS by hi.- uncle (Jaiisuh In the following three years, two amirs aseend<*d the throne each to Im- overthrown by the inamluksof his rival In April IAn I the council chose an amir named Qansuh al-Ghuri. a man ol sixty w ho soon demonstrated that lie waxatill v igorous and enrrgetic in -pile of his advanced age The new sultan s* first move was to replenish the empty treasury, lb- achieved this goal by resorting to extortion and heavy taxation which brought in substantial revenues With these funds lie strengthened many .Mamluk fortresses reconstructed the pilgrimage road to Mecca, and built a series ol impressive structures. including mosques madrasas fialaees. inns, ami a mausoleum Her no- 101 ami 110) Sultan (Jmisuh al < .him wasan intellectual and one of the rare Mamluk rulers who showed an interest in literature and painting He sponsored the Turkish translation of the Shalt>airun the epic history of Iran written in Persian by Firdausi and employed paiiitvr-s to illustrate the text (no V) lie also wrote poetry and had several works copied l»y his court artists. Commercial activity which constituted a major portion ol Mamluk slate income by way of tariff- had Is-gun to decline eversince the landing of the Portuguese in India hi 1-198, Trade, now controlled by tin- Portuguese, was routed around theC’ape of Good Hope, resulting in vast losses tothc Mamluk treasury In an effort todivert the trade back tothc Red Sea the sultan sent a Heet to tight the Portuguese in the Indian harbor of('haul The first encounter in IAnn was siicwssful but in the follow mg year the Mamluk nax y was destroyed in the battle nt Dm. near Bombay . and th. Mamluk world was rut ofl from its most essential source of income a loss that proved to be fatal on the eve of • It toman advances in the Near East The Ottomans, led liy Selim I. defeated the Safavidsof Iran hi 151 I ami then moved against th. Zulkadir- a tributary state of the Mamluks in southeastern Anatolia (Jansuh al-Ghun met the Ottomans at Marj DaInk. north of AlcpjMi in August |5l«i. His forces were outnumbered by the Ottomans who had superior artillery and military discipline which were sadly lacking among thi- Mamluks When the left wing of the Mamluk army joined the enemy, defeat was in evitable and (Jarisuh al-Ghun lost Ins life in the ensuing battle Selim i moved casily throughSyna and arrived in Egypt Meanw hilc Tmnanbay n who had just hren elected sultan. led the remain mg Mamluk lor< <•-: hr was first defeated near< Jaza. then at Raidaniyya. outside (’airo The final battle was fought in January 1517. aixl the Ottoman sultan was n*eognizcd as the master of Egypt ami Syria Tumanbay was < aught ami executed in April 1517 thus ending the Mamluk rule Egypt was now an < Ottoman province the Hijaz with the holy cities of Meix-a ami Medina (Hissed to the Ottoman- ami Istanbul Itecamc the seat of the new sultanate ns well as the caliphate. The i Ittoman conquest did not tiring a radical change in administration since Egypt ami Sy ria wi re still ruled fix a jiowcrful ami elite foreign group The < Mtomans relied on mamluks to run a niimlM-r of bureaus in fart the first Ottoman governor of Egypt was Kluiirhay a Burji amir The governor* sent from Istanbul and the local mamluk aristocracy continued to build charitable foundations and to maintain existing endow mrnU The art ami architecture produced during the Ottoman period (1517 IMS) drprmlrd on the Mamluk decorative vocabulary ami reveal a continuation of older traditions ADMINISTRATION At first glance the Mamluk state appears to have Iwen lull ol paradoxes it wasstrong ami stable enough to survive for more than twoand a halfcenturies despite continuous exposure to internal rivalries and intrigue Needless to say. the greatest asset of the empire was its wraith, acquired through various sources oftaxation, such as duties on all goods (Missing through Egypt ami Sy ria and taxes on land, monopolies, and agricultural produce. The strength and weakness of the state lay in flu- institution ofthe mamluks w hirh enabled an individual to rise from slave ranks to supreme rule mid yet the sultan hail to Im- elected or confirmed by the council. The mamluk system forced th<- ruling military elite to Im- splendidly trained in warfare and in the art of self-preservation Its administrative machinery enabled the bureaus to continue working independently in spite ofinternal turmoil, corruption, and bribery The amirs kept their quarrels to themselves and did not allow interference by natives or foreigners, thus retaining a solidarity in the face of internal ur external atta< k- At the head of the military oligarchy was tin- sultan, a mamluk by origin, lie was surrounded by a group of high amirs, also former mamluks This rulingelite constituted therirWi al ftyuj or men of the sword. The sultan had a group of mamluks entitled the itammlik al lultaNiyya. who served as his jtersonal bodyguards and held specific offices in tin- palace When these imperial mamluks were freed and became amirs, tiny were given prestigious ap|M>intm«-nts in the provinces and held military commanda and court offices The amirs had I heir own corps of mamluks, the ataritalik al numra. who could be freed or passed on to im|M-rial service The members of the arbab al-*uynf were of foreign descent, predominantly Kipchak Turks ami Circassians. they wen- all Muslims but retained their Turkish munes. The social structure of the military class was rigidly defined. The amirs were allotted fiefs (iyla). which were landed estates, towns, villages or even annual revenues from taxes and custom duties. Each amir was obliged to divide two thirds of hi- lief among his mamluks, giving them either a portion of the estate or an allow anev. The fief-, the backbone of the administration were controller! by a s|M-< ial offi«v that determined their allocation and cheeked their administration and maintenance Thearbabal .oo/a/also constituted the army whichconsisted ofthix-ebasic units the mamluks of tin- sultan, the amirs and the mamluks ol the amirs Although there w?-re auxiliary troops made up of natives such as Bedouins. Egyptians. Palestinians, and Syrian.- (lie bulk of the military force- were amir- and mamluks Technically, the sultan w aschosen by the consent of the leading amirs of the slat*-. and upon his accession he was given the diploma of investiture by the caliph. Even when tin- sultanate was inherited from lather to son. this protocol was duly observed. Tile next class constituted the arbab al yabua or men ol the pen. who were native free born Mushins, with a few local Christians and Jews. They held civil appointments and served asjudges, tca< In-rs. learned men, clerks, and administrators The amirs' sons, w ho had Muslim name.-, also belonged to this class and wen- cnllcil att’bui al mi*. sons of the jM-op|e Although the rule of tin-sultan was absolute, he was assisted by high officials of the two classes When he held council, these officials took their place on either side of bun according to rank The senior amirs, called Amirs ofthrCouncil, included the sultan's representative (mn/d. commander in chief (amir kabir i. president of (he council (amir majlin), commander ol the guards, minister of war. minister of interior or secretary (<lauvular} minister oi the palace or majordomo nebular}, chief military judge, and other important personnges Below Amirs of the Council were Amirs of < >n<- Thousand, from which the governors of the Syrian provinces (Alep|M>. Damascus. Hama, and Tripoli) were chosen. The next group was
  12. 12. <>t Amirs ■ Forty who had the right to he accompanied by their own tnblakkana military band The Kuccei'ding ranks consisted ol Amirs ofTen and the lowest military officers Tin mamluks wen* purchased by a special officer. the tajir al-maaailik The newly acquired slaves wi re educated m the mamluk school in Cairo then distributed to various corps as pages They serve*I sm h diverse |»osts as cup bearer, sword-bearer. polo master, and master-of-the robe When they outlis acquired the necessary training, they wen* placed in the service ofthe amirs ami as vacancies occurred, they were sent to the sultan's palace Those fortunate enough to he included among tin* sultan > laxlyguards wen- called khrwahi and later liecame powerful umirs. The offices held by the mamluks and the amirs wen* identified by blazons, which are unique to the Mamluk world ’ Although heraldic emblems hail been employed by other Turkish rulers such as the Artukidsoi Anatolia. Seljuks of Hum.and Khwnrazin Shahs ofTurkestan theywere generally symbols of royalty and did not represent a hierarchic system In the .Mamluk world, the blazon identified a specific office and was used by the amir who held that post. Everyone in his household including his mamluks and women, could use the emblem. The blazon was placed on his houses and religious foundations: it was applied to his boats, tents, baggage, banners, blankets, and train and it was used on his garments, arms and armor, ami on objects lie commissioned for |>ersonal and ceremonial use When an amir was disgrace*! or executed. his blazons were erased when his potwasions were taken over by another amir, the new master placed his own blazon on the holdings of the former owner Blazons cniltellisbed all types of Mamluk art and architecture They are found on religious buildings. carved in stone or stucco, painted on wood ceilings and doors as well anon furnishings, such as minbars (pulpits) (arxtx I lecterns), and rtMrg (bookstands) Heraldic emblems were woven intotextilesami carpets, inlaid intobrassobjects, and paintedon glass, ceramics,and tiles. In the Mamluk world, the word for blazon was rank, which means ‘color.’' indicating that color played an important role hi the identification ofthe signs. The emblem was always enclosed by a round, pointed, pear shafted, or oval shield. At times the shield was divided into either two or three fields, each of which contained a different sign, constituting a hybrid or <om|»osite blazon The chronological and typological development of the Mamluk blazon makes a fascinating study ami assists in the dating of many objects. The first sultan to use a blazon was Aybak. who was formerly the /U'/uog/r or im|s iial taster ol Najm al Dm Ayvub lie used the symlxil of a round tabic to identify hislornici offict Someofthe early Mamluk sultans(su«*h as Kitbughaand Bay bars n i uwd as their blazons the signs oftheir previous offices After the second quarterofthe fourteenth century flic rulers adopted an epigraphic format tn which their official reign titles were given in a round shield divided into thus* fields. Mamluk blazons tall intofivegruups they eithercontain animals 8|M*cific motifs, epigraphy,or signsofoffice or they aie eom|K»sitvs Tlw tirst sultan to usean animal was Baybars, who chose the lion a> hi> emblem The lion symbol of power and strength, was used on all the sultan's buildings and objects (sec no I OX) and wasemployed by his officials w ho combined it w ith their own blazons M-e no. 46 The lion also figured in the blazon of Bay bars s m>ii Baraka Khan The single or double headerI eagle, another im|"-rial symbol. is thought to identify Nasir al Din Muhammad It often apjwars in combination w ith other elements (such a> a cup, napkin, or sword) on objects made for his amir* holding the offices identified by these signs («e nos 27 ami Some animals sin h as tin- fish. thick ami horse might have had specific meanings but they do not appear to constitute true blazons and werr lined only for decorative pur|»oscs ■ Certain motifs including the tleur delis, rosette, crescent, l»ends and bars, an* difficult to identify and wen- most likely used to indicate imperial power The tieur tie lis (an abstract**! lotus blossom i *ix-|N*ttiled rosette, ami cres<x'nt are thought Io represent the house of Qalawun (see nos 17. 27 28 ‘ .KI. 96 and 114 15). The live-petalcd rnradte was chosen as the blazon of the KaMilid dynasty of Yemen and was employed on all objects made lor the Kasulid sultans in the thirteenth and fourteenth rentlines (see nos 14. 22. ami 5<ii The bendsordiagonal lines in the lower halfof a shield identified the llama branch ol the Ayyubids and were used in the blazon of its most famous mcinlier, Abu l Fida (sec nos 24 and 46) The bars nr horizontal lines do not ap|M*ar on im|M*rial wares and may have been used by a lower class of freed mamluks Other devices, such as the checkerlroard and cross, were probably decorative motifs with no heraldic connotations. The lanujhii. the stamp or mark used by Turkish trilies, however, identified a particular group of dignitaries who never served as mamluks (sec no 83) The epigraphic blazon which began to be used by Nasir al Din Muhammad around the 132<>s, became the heraldic emblem of all subsequent Mamluk sultans. On objects made for the Bahri sultans (nos 26.29 31. and 52). the round shield was divided into three horizontal units, with the name and titles ofthe ruler inscribed in the center In the Burji period, inscriptions were placed in all three fields ami wad in the sequence ofsecond, first, ami third bars (see nos. 34-35 101. and 110). This form was used by the Mamluk sultans until the < tltoman conquest.4 As mentioned earlier. Aybak w as the first amir to use ihesyinlMil ofan office, a table identifying thejwhniffir Other signs ofoffice included the cup used by thexmp orcup l»earer(sve nos 15 16. 28. 109. and 125); the pen box of the dmvadar or secretary (nos. 20 21) flic napkin (bmjja) of the jamdaror master of the robes (no. 93); the sword ofthe xi/«A//ur orsword bearer (no. 94); the bow of the bundiu/dar or bowman the ewer of the lidildar or superintendent of stores (no XX): the polo-stick of thejakandar or polo master . the banner of the alamdar or Hag-bearer : the mace of thejumaqdur or mace-bearer; ami thedrum of the labldar or drummer in lahlakhaim. military band. In some cases, amirs incorporated the sign of office with tin* blazon of their masters for instance. Amir Toquztiinur who was theangi of Nasir al -1 >in Muhammad, employed as his blazon an eagle standing above a cup. w hich identifies both his master ami his rank (we nos. 27 and 96). The composite blazon of the Burji period is a shield divided into three fields representing several symbols, such as a cup. napkin. jien box. and sword and a peculiar motif identified as a powderhorn (•«• nos. 39 and 124). This type ofblazon was used collectively by all the mamluks of a particular sultan, t hat is. by t he mamalikal.-uilhinitp/a as well as by theamim ami their mamahk a! umarti. Although the sultan retained the exclusive right to theepigraphic blazon, the collective blazon of his mamluks and amirs was also represented on some of his objects. Although more than one hundred Mamluk blazons have been identified, t Heir studv is far from complete. A munis*! of motifs functioned both as decorative elements and us heraldic emblems: some. like the lion of Bay bars, arc very specific, while others, such as the rosette and crescent, have a more general application? The Mamluks established a formidable state with u strung administrative arid military system that withstood foreign invasion, internal strife, and economic crisis, They were tin* true defenders of Islam they preserved the caliphate were victorious in their jihads or holy wars and protected the holy cities. Their piety, often overshadowed by political ambition. benefited artists, foreach sultan and amir at tempted to outdo his predecessorby endow ing more magnificent buildings and commissioning mure impressive objects. Their zeal lor establishing religious foundations, reconstructing existing endowments, and supplying them w ith beautiful furnishings places tlw Mamluks among the greatest patrons of art ami architecture in tin* history of Islam It could Im- argued that Mamluk art was not innovative ami did not create new styles and themes but merely elaborated upon traditions established in the past Ami yet Mamluk artists. stimulat«*d by the demands of their patrons, produc'd tin* most spectacular examples of Islamic manuscripts, metalwork, and glass, but their aesthetic achievements were often overshadowed by a display of technical virtuosity 2/
  13. 13. I'1 Im • i . lx. . • -l . ■., ■ i I1.1.... - befina on pagt -'••• ■ For additionalhvtnriral(late < ntrira on ih. Mamluk* and mdivMnal rulen in Em»loutiiu ■ f/ahm Lapidm I IMI7 ZJada IBMand Iff7. I 1 1 IWMand IBS? M<inaekt it: ind IB74 I III. diMtk was twlleved fu In Um blaMmofSultan Qnlawun wIhwname woa thought duck In Pnrkiab I1'- 1 1 1 ’ ■ ' • I- .... i th.,. I, n.. I. ...I.I m Mamluk Ida/......... ■ mho ngthri . dth< huldm FrufeoMM^InmtiTebin<d HarvaniItaivmitj bowerw has * I ph. want I hi- - ..fl aPl- ar- to Ion i- th. -am. m.iiihI » the tuttnr Qalat* un and it* meaning «- related to theword for *dd duck which ap|*wr* >m Mamluk objctH Th. mho. o-...luti.m with mrim and < anting <<<at wa-thought torXBf with th. Imn ..I Havhi.r- wh.wrmiim- | n».n. Lord I'.nthi t in Turkinh 'Ihi* attribution i- highly doubtful, ■imr «>.<• lion tbe kingofthe animal kma<b« «w >w>|4.o*d a-an .*IAw .4 r>.*ali* in an.*ml lino and wml.diMd ultimalr puwvt I It apjaan. t.. h.M. . oritir...... undrr < ttloman rule lot inMnn<r th.' (itadd id i.w|..|.mI by Sultan Suk*>iuaii in I.VII .12 hw a-l ivid divided into thiwtidd* with th. dedicatory him ription following the traditional Mamluk format • dory to ..nt ma-lrt th. oillan al Malik al Muznflur Abu I Xanit Sul. t man Shah ibii llbman may hb victory l-chrnoti* | Miner IWCt p 3t»i ’. Xiimi«mato . *idem*- . H. r* little help. -in.. u ikdimte .orrclution between blazon- ami drv u. . iimiI on coins b. < -tul.h-hr-d Net- Allan I97l» ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS 22
  14. 14. The exquisite illuminations, calligraphy and bindings of Mamluk Kornns are uriequaled in any other Islamic tradition of bookmaking. Tlio technical and artistii virtuosity found in these manuscripts is representative of the Mamluks, who. embracing Islam with the fervor ofconverts, endowed elalmratc religious complexesand supplied each major foundation with its set ol Korans Patronage of the court stimulated artists to develop a rich repertoire of decorative elements ami to excel in the execution of different styles of script. The manuscripts illustrated in this section represent the moat significant |>erio(ls in the development of Mamluk Korans and religious texts they reveal tin- evolution ol illumination and calligraphy as well as the nn|s>rtancc of patronage The majority of Korans were specifically commissioned by the sultans and amirs for their mosques and mndrasas. The manuscripts wen* registered hi the waqf or endowment records and kept in the buildings for winch they were commissioned until the end of the nineteenth century at which time many were moved bv theTornite de Conservation des Monuments de lArt Arabe to the National Library in Cairo, which now houses the largest collection of Mamluk Korans Another imjiorlant group of inanus, npts is hi the Topkapi Palace Museum in istanbul. but this collection comprises non-waqf Inxiks taken after the Ottoman conquest Ottoman sultans and their governors res|»e< ted the Mamluk foundations and their endow ments They protected the religious buildings and the objects registered a* w aqi lot hrs*' establishments. including Korans. metalwork, glass. and furnishings. Select manuscripts that left Cairo at the end of the nine­ teenth and Iw-ginning of the twentieth century an* today owned by a number of Eurojiean museum*. including the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin and the British Library in Ixmdon The production of Korans under the Mamluks was so prolific that today every public and private collection devoted to Islamic art owns several folios from an mi|M-rial manuscript /toAri I'rriodUtM MM4 Tlie Mamluks must have donated Koran* to their establiahments dur ing the second halfof the thirteenth rent hiy . but no dated or datable example from before- the turn of the fourteenth century has liven identified Most of the earliest datable manu.-M'npts were conceived as thirty volume set,, the characteristic format of Mamluk Korans Although multivolume Korans were produced in Iran during the S.-ljuk period as early as the eleventh century, this format achieved an unprecedented popularity m the Mamluk period < hie of the earliest thirty volume Mamluk Koransis in the National Library and contains the waql of Muhammad ibn Ishaqi. dated 1303 | another set. seven volumes of which are now in the British Library was produced in !3tM for Baybar* al-Jashnigir. who later la-eame sultan ' ’flic next extant work is the famous ami controversial thirty volume Koran copied in 1313 lor al Malik al Nasir Muhammad This Koran housed in the National Library, contains the waqf of Sayf al Dm Baktimur who donated the ent in-set in 1320 to his foundation in Cairo.* A fourth set Ix-longing to this group of early Kurans. in undated: two ol its surviving volumes an- owned by tile Chester Beatty Library (nos 12); the remaining part, in the British Library contains the waqf of Sultan Faraj. which was added in the early I IbOs The dates of these thirty volume Koran* coincide with the reign of Nasir al Din Muhammad (1293 1311. with interruption). Muhammad ibn Ishaqi. the donor of the earliest work, has not liven identified in historical sources but he must have Im-cii one of the court official- The second work wait commissioned by Bayliars while he served the sultan This ambitious amir forced the sultan to abdicate in 1309 and reigned for almost a year la-fore Nasir al Din Muhammad was able to regain his throne and have Baybars eliminated The thirty-volume Koran dated 1313 and dedicati-d to al Malik al Nasir Muhammad i- thought to have Im-cii written fbi Oljaitu II3«M 17), the llkhanid ruler of Iran The titles given in the maim script were used Iwith by Nasir al Din Muhammad and Oljaitu w ho r-onvertr-d to Islam ami took the name Muhammad together with the honorific al-Mahk al Nasir meaning the Victorious King The dedication, however, also includes the title.- Nasir al Dunya wa I Din (ihiyath al Dunya wa I Din which wen- never used by Mamluk sultans. In addition, the Koran praise* at length the twelve Shiite imams. precluding it- patronage by tin- protector ol the Sunni < ali pliatc. the Mamluk sultan The colophon state- that the manuscript waacopied and illuminated by Abdallah dm Muhammad ibn Ilamdani in September 1313 in Hamadan (western Irani furthersup|»or1ing the argument that it was produced for tin- llkhanid ruler The manuscript must have arrived in < aim by 132G and fallen info the possession of Amir Sayfal Din Baktimur. the *w/i or cup bearer of Sultan Nasir al Din Muhammad It is possildr that tlu- Koran came as a diplomatic gift from the IIkhanid sultan Alm Said who succeeded Oljaitu and concluded a p-ace treaty w ith the Mamluk- in 1323 Alm Said is recorder! as having sent camel loads of gifts to the Mamluk court following the armistice ami this work may have l>een included hi the shipment llkhanid and Mamluk Korans. however reveal a numlM-r of similar stylistic features? and tin- decorations of the 1313 Koran are wry close to those found in other early Mumluk manu scripts (see nos. I 3). Many of these early manuscripts were commissioned by Sultan Nasiral-Din Muhammad who donated them to his foundations Oneof his most celebrated single-volume Korans is w ritten in gold and Iw-ars a waqfnatation dated I33't This remarkable work doea not possess a colophon, but it must have been completed shortly before thedateofthe waqf.'That same yeartliesultan commissioned another single volume Koran, which is now in the Keir Collection in London ' A third Koran copied in 1334 (no. 3), does not huve a dedicationor a waqf. but itsdati ofexecution falls within the sultanate ofNasiral Dili Muhammad. The same date is found on a thirty volume Koran, five parts of which are now in the Chester Beatty Library ? Several other Korans lack dedi rations, yet their dates indicate that they were also produced in the court of Nasir al Din Muhammad? These manuscripts demonstrate that the tradition of the thirty volume- Koran was firmly established in the Mamluk world by the first quarter of the fourteenth century The volume- in each set have uniform bindings, illuminations and script, and each part contains one juz: prayer* for each day of the Muslim month Tin- entire set would have la-vn stored in a large Koran box. generally given to the establishment by the same |»atron who donated the Koran. Several such boxes |mi- no 25). made of wood and covered with plates of brass inlaid w ith silver and gold, wen- produced during tin- reign of Sultan Nasir al Din Muhammad.' The format established by these early Koran* was standardized in t lie second halfofthe fourteenth century and applied to single volume, two volume, and thirty volume Korans (nos 1 G) Tin- manuscripts open with a double frontispiece which is followed by an illuminated double folio containing the first verses, the text is adorned with illuminated chapter headings, marginal ornament- ami vcim- .-tops -uinc of which <*ontain tin- word apa (verse). The com lulling double folio.- are also illuminated ami followed by a double tinispivce. A symmetry govern- tin- organization of the IwMik with the lay out of the op-rung folio* mirrored in the concluding pages insistence on symmetry is also evident in the design of the double folios ami hi the <lreoration of individual pages. The double frontispiece that is. the first pair of illuminated pages, is conceived as a unit with a wide arabesque border enclosing the vompo-ition across the two page.- The border thus surrounds three sides ol each page but does not extend down the .-pine (see nos. I 5) The rectangular area created by the •bonier is div idrd intothree fields w ith I wo narrow panels placed above and la-low a central square I’he up|M-r ami lower panels are subdivided to form two small squares Hanking an oblong unit. Koranic verses rendered in white or gold kufic (angular script) app-ar within car touches in the oblong units, and an intricate geometric <-omp>sition till- the ventral square Koranic passages, spread across two facing pages of the frontispiece often quote well known verse* from Surat al Waqia (The Event, 77 KO) Crrlainly thi> /• an honored Koran, in a bonk that t.> protected. none dialI touch it *arr thu purified, / it m/« ret dalion from the Lord of th- World" In some cases this is replaeefl by a quotation from Surat al Slmara (The Poets xxvi 192 97). which also strc.-M-s the divine revelation of the Holy Book. 11 is in t lie <lecoration <>11 In- cent i al square-1hat Mamink arti.-t* truly excelled, combining impeccable t.-< hnique and tine aesthetic sense to createextraorelinarily sophisticated geometric composition* ’Hn-gco metri< design* an- often radial and com|M>sc<l of units evolving from 24
  15. 15. I.IJ .MIN.VI HI> MANI'M KIl’Ts twelve-pointed or sixteen pointed stars that form conrentric rings subdivided into pilygons of diverge shap-s Each unit is filled with *' mmetrically arranged and superimpmrd geometric and floral motifs The illuminations symbolize the universe: the motifs are inspired by solar and astral bodies bursting with energy and radiating from the core with a phenomenal centrifugal foroeaccelerated by variations in eol<ir and form Tin- ^imposition is harnessed by continuous thin bunds that define ami outline the units, inducing order anil harmony from otherwise turbulent movement No other Islamic artistic tradi tion approaches the refinement ofdesign and the depth ofspirituality found in these illuminations. Tin- hash t ripartite division of the frontispiece p-r*ists in the illumi­ nated double folios with verses of the oppning chapter placed in the central square The text is outlined by contour bands and a delicate aralx-sque appears in the background These opening folios are as carefully decorated as the frontispiece (no. 6) ami reveal a harmonious balance between illumination anil calligraphy. < *oop*ration 1stwren illuminator arid calligrapher is evident through out I he manuscript The illuminator was responsible for decoratingthe chapter headings, marginal ornaments, ami verse stops, all of which show an infinite variety of geometric and floral motifs in each volume The calligrapherwas responsible for pufevt copying of the text and the chapter headings The chapter headings were rendered in kufic, at times substituted by thuluth. a hierarchic script usd lor inscriptions on architectural decorations ami metal and glass objects The body of the manuscript was w nttrn in the cursive aiaA/^//script Muhaq^ meaning meticulously produced was the characteristic script of Mamluk Korans. its sweeping horizontals contrasting harmoniously with its tall straight verticals. Some manuscripts employed rihani another variation of the cursive style closely related to muha^aq The letters in rihani script are generally smaller and the contrast between horizontals and verticals is not as pronounced as in muhaqqaii: the diacritical marks and orthographic signs are often written with a finer pen Although a wealth of Korans was produced during the Bahri Main luk period very few manuscripts contain the names of calligraphers and illuminators (Inly a handful ofcalligraphers are known from the colophons Muhammad ibn nl Walid copied the thirty volume Koran for Baybars in I3<»4 Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al Khabbaz. copied the Koran dated 1315 Muhammad ibn Bilbekal Muhsinial Nasri worked on one dedicated to Nasir al bin Muhammad in 1330: Amir Hajj ibn Ahmad al Sami copied the thirty volume set finished in 1334: Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kamal ibn Yahya al Ansari al Mutatabbib was th. < alhgrapherof the 1331 Koran (no. 3y Yakub ibn Khalil al Hanafi worked on a two volume manuscript completed in 1356 and dedicated twelve years later by Sultan Shahan to his mother's madman;” and Ali ibn Muhammad al Mukattib al Aahrafi executed in 1372 the Koran (n<> fi)dedicated four years later by Sultan Shahan to htecomplex.The names of illuminators are even scarcer Muhammad ibn Muhadir ami Avdughdir ibn Abdallah ahBadri worked on the thirty volume Koran dated 1304, and Ibruhim al-Amidi * name is given in the colophon of the manuscript completed in 1372 (no 6) Among Mamluk Koran* ofthe second halfof the fourteenth century are oversized single volumes that required sjiecial huro*or lecterns for the reciter. These magnificent f-araw. made of carved wood ami miaul in ivory, can still be seen in many religious foundations dating from this period The production ofgigantic Koran*, some of w hich are over one meter high (mon* than three feet), appeal’s to coincide with the construction of large mosque-madraxa-mausoleum* Two-volume medium-size Korens (about fifty centimeters or twenty inches high) also make theirappearance in this p»nod particu larly during the sultanate of Shahan ii (1363 70). grandson of Nasir al-l>in Muhammad Both Sultan Shahan ami his mother Ellwand Baraka, donated Korens (nos 5-0) for their foundations Amirs of the sultans also endowed pious foundations and com missioned Korens for their establishment* Among the patron amir- were Arghun Shah, thought to be in the service of Sultan Shahan Arghun Shah's Koran (no 4) was produced alxiut the same time as those made for the sultan Sarghithmish. another amir, in the service ofSultan Hasan 11347 61. with interruption), commissioned two sets of thirty-volume Karans for his inadrasa completed in 1356."' His master. Sultan Hasan, gave to hi* famous foundation in ( 'airo several Korans. both single-volume manuscripts and thirty volume sets " Hurji Period 11382 1317 ) The production of large single volume Korens. midsizd two volume manuscripts, and smaller thirty volume sets continued in the Burji period. These manuscripts follow the traditional format established in the fourteenth century and reveal the same high technical and aesthetic standards Barquq (1382 99 with interruption) founder of the new regime and patron of the large mosque-madrasa hearing his name, is known to have donated a number of Koran* to his foundation.11 His son and successor, Faraj. commissioned a thirty volume Koran in 14In. four parts of which are now in the Keir Collection.11 The majority of fifteenth century Korens are cither oversize single volume manuscript* or smaller thirty volume sets «inc of the largest Koran* was copied in 1417 by Musa ibn Ismail al Kinani d Hanati known as al Hijjini It was donated in 1419 by Sultan Shaykh (1412 21) to his mosque called al-Muayyad.1* Another single olume Koran was executed in 1444 for Sultan .Jaqmaq 1143s 53) by Muhammad Abu l-Fath al-Ansari The name of this calligrapher also appears in the colophon of a manuscript completed in 1454 for Sultan Khushqadain (1461 671, w hose waqfappearson several thirty volume Koran* The most energetic patron among fifteenth-century sultans was Barsbay (1422 3Si. who donated several single-volume two volume, and thirty volume Koran* to his inadrasa built in 1425. One of the most livautiful two volume sets bearinghi* uaql (nos. 7 8) reveals the change in style and taste that occurred in the fifteenth century the books an- smaller and squatter than those made in the second halfof the fourteenth century, the centrifugal designs characteristic ofearlier frontispieces are subdued and the astral motifs appear more decorative than symbolic, and although kutie appears in the headings, the text has )>«-en copied in naskhi and not in the usual muAm/yu^. The last ofthe great Mamluk patrons waa Sultan Qaitbav (1468 96). who not only donated Koran* to his foundations but also com missioned book* on history, literature, and theology for his personal library ” <»nv of the outstanding works made for QHitbay (no. 9) display* the extraordinary virtuosity of the calligrapher. Qaneni al-Shariti, whoexe. uted fourdifferent cursive scripts (thuluth, naskhi naxkhJuda, and ri.pi) in varying sizes and different colored inks. Tlie bindings of Mamluk books reveal versatile technique* ami designs Similar to all Islamic bookittvcrs. they are made on a pasteboard ••ore covered with leather.’* The decoration was stamped as well as blind tooled and gilded, in a few eases parts of the design wen- painted with touches of blue or green The traditional design of bookbindings consist# of a central medallion fill'll with geometric motifs repeated in four comer quadrants. while a series of braids and bunds frames the edges. Some bookbindings are decorated with an overall geometric design recalling the composition of the frontispiece. The doul>lures (inner covers) are also made of leather and block stamp'd with delicate floral and geometric patterns Mamluk bindings with filigree designs are among the mart exquisite of all Islamic bookcovers The design, rut into leather was placed against a • olored ground, generally of finely woven silk. The motifs on flic raised areas were blind-tooled gilded, and painted Filigree designs, which app-ar on the interior of fifteenth-century examples from Iran, an’ placed on the exterior of many Mamluk Koran*. The most beautiful filigree bindings are found on manuscripts produced for Khu.-hqailain and Qaitbay. suggesting that this technique was fully developed in the Mamluk world by the middleofthe fifteenth century Although in the fifteenth century imp-rial pitronagv app-ars to have dwindled in certain arts, particularly in metalwork and glass it is very evident in the production of Koran.1- and other religious texts. The same suppirt is oliservcd in tin- construction of buildings with more than halfof the existing Mamluk structures in Cairo elating from the Burji period The interest in building i.- paralleled by the enthusiasm in supplying these foundations with suitable Koran* Competition among amirs Id to the endow ment of elaborate architectural complexes and to the creation of the most sumptuous Koran# in the history of Islam
  16. 16. I « «im Natmnul Libraiv 70 i-mipkn thirty volumet .in. 1969 rm 28»n are given in W la llkhurml Korun K<>run- <<!»<■( which »•• prudu. rd in MomiIiii I3|O and to Sultan » H|.iOi .nd hi-tw mini-ten. H—hid ill Ihn and Sa>i al bin (purt. twenty live n Imiiihin Bnti-b lubrnry Ot 1915 utliri part, in htanbul; langs 1976 pb. 52 hnk*. anal Safwlt 1976 tm 99 i nothrr thirty volume Korun dutrd I3<»4 i* thought Io liavr lieen i opted in Baghdad(Tehran Iran Barton Mumuin ',1518 anil S«fadi B»7li n > '«7 Ibe llkliannl ■ nurt uhm eoninimsmiuxl a »ixty * oliiim Koran a part of -hub i- imw In Lindon. British library. Or 1339 Koran- oith »rxty part-, although rnrr are not unusual and “-n produced m Maghrib during tlw thirtsvnth xeiitun Two *u<h «■(»are in London. British Library Or 12323and 13*m and Saladi I87fl. m*.45-171 • • Nil -• al I. -.t.»ix 4 > .Ifn I'-i'i. r.u 2*2 Ling-ami xvladi 1976 no 71) Lirxloii K-ir Collection Ling- and Salailr 1976, rm 72 B M Kolrimmri 1976a 6 Dublin • 'heater Beatly Library 1469) Artrerry 1967. noa 69 731 7 l.omb.n K.ii roll.iii. n d.ii. d I'llLiOgB od - i ,.i. |87....... 70 B W |«m 1976a .... mis I tubIin Ch.-kt Ik,tty Library Ms|»u| dated 132" hrKun.t . xm,. Berlin 1971 n.. 19 and fig 69 ii al Azhar Library |Wi.t 1929 m. 371 mt 1932. W 1976 pl- 73 74 L.i.don 1976 tm 336) (Cairn I9B9 n<> 287| -nd Mt* and Safadi 1976, 11 Singl. volum. Konm-aie minim National Library 5 ami Dublin Chralrr Beattv Library M- I 453 Atlieiiy 1967. no 57l Thirty volume Koran*are in I mm National Library 59and 62 12 Singli I olunn Korun i- in ( .it.. Nalmiud Library 13 The »i«nw < olketi.m ..uri­ ll It 1976a no vn ||l 32 pl L'd II ( aim National library 17 < aim I9®» no 292 London 1976 tm 5I«> 15 Dublin. Cherter Beat1v l.ibriirv vi- I3«7 lArtierry 1967. tm l*»l). Their i» iibiid Korun .opted m 144* by Khnvral Ihn - idled Ibn al Khatib al Mnradn in Lmd.m Kent .11.. ti.-idl U Kol.iri-.Mi 1976- no Ml 39. Although this Kirrnn d>* • nut li.n •• a ded>.-iitnHi it- date ofI'oinph'tioiiciiin.-itk'. with Sultan >la«|mn<| ■ It; Sin.l’ 'oluii;.■ Koran i- in (aim Natmnal l.ibrarv !«• "C thirty V.duille Kot-r- -re iil.» in lb. -urn. <4l.-tmii 9 |<M and 4"I An undated maniix npt in Dublin Cheater lleatty Library ux 11*3 was r..pi.-d for sultan Khudupukrn by .laiuim dm Abdallah al Saib (died I4*3> 17 xo. ral Korun- bearing Qmih-y - name are hon-rd in Cairo Natmrial library 19 -ml Min..tit "ingle volume w..rk.| und MS and l"l -part, of thirty volume maniiM ript-. Other Koran, dedicated to him urv in Ihihlin tiirrtrr Ikatty Librniv M- l.’-H lArlieriy 1967 no |IHl l.indon Kerr C.dle.tmn copied l>v|,1... M. .1 saKriklR W RoUmbi l«7«a rm Ml 111 ami I If/'t Ling-und Saladi IU7'i rm 8K| Knnaig the manu-i ript- in Irtnnbul Topkupi I'alan Mu-um ...mim-mned by Qaitbay -re text- un an herv < v2425, theology i *2956I grtirulngy and biography of the Ptopliet (*6632) and literature I*8519) < n . t.' .1 h -t.tut. whe h pliiinmg - ' ' - 'I - I i.min I..K-kmaking ami a iatah«ue id it. Imldmpi Moat of thrar himling. were atudird in It.-.-I. 1952 Morral example- u. n- publuhrd in Baltimore 1957 n.* 61 71 Ser
  17. 17. by while beaded bands frame.* tin- central Iangle and divides >1 into thtw tields The narrow panels nlmve and l-lnu contain an oval unit with kulic inscriptions written hi white on a blueground enhanced with .1 gold floral m roll The two iipp. i panels al Wa<|ia 1 crtainly this i» an hmmrrd Koran, in a book that is protected the tw« lower |«nel< state that this is the fourth yir:; oltliirt s The central, almost stprarr section has three lilies of la-nut ifull) rendered uniAm/i/m/ script enclosed by contour bands: an aralM*si|ue with split leaves accentuated by Lug** cartouches appears la-hind file contour bands The a cursive M-npt uifh Imifn<illions balance between straight verticals and sweeping horizontals was ii«ed hi main Mamluk Kurans i. m-c nos II III Two large gold roundels with the wnrd ajfti an- u*i-d as verwe stops on flu­ right half (lol 2b| Two pairs of larger gold margins next to the Untie inscriptions Tlu-si- two folios n-v.-al a highly Miphislic.itrd sense of desigil and a superb technical virtuosity in the u*r ol color and Im m Tin- understated elegance of the central panel with Idaek um-iI in the text, contour bands, and arabesques and cartouches of tin- background is contrasted by the sumptuous richness ofgold employer in the braid marginal roundels, and vcrs» Stops The massiveness ol the gold braid n counteracted by thcdelnaiv oi l lie w hite kiific iiim upturns and the white beaded bands that enclose the braid and outline th.- oval units in the narrow panels addition o| eolol Blue IS UM.I III the ground of the kutic inscriptions and varying intensities ol pink. r»-d. blue, and green, w ith touches of whit.- appear m the outer flame I' inallx tIn two pairs ol Imiiils placed in the margins ex lend the illurninat.-d punek almost Irev.....I the phy sical boundaries oi lh.-foii<« Throughout the work the artist has provided many striking contrasts between the rigid white kiltie and flow mg black painterly handling of the p.lyehrom. motifs in the outer fraim
  18. 18. R "
  19. 19. Till- double hni'pH >> llol-. 377b 37Sa i is l«-ihii|i> lh>-1**---! |>t* '* i*-*l -i i >il illuminated folio* in th* manuscript lm*»-t iilcntival t>* tin* ilotilile frontispiece. th*--*- folios uh framcrl <»n tlnve ••ut«-r edges l*y a florid aialM--i|ii-- milIlin'1 by a thin hlui* line with minute roiiiulcL*and finials pr*>jectmg into th*- iiiiiltfili** Tile exaggerated «**rnrr tinial- extend almost t.* the edge* ul th*- folio- Th*- Moral araliesque *>t tin- tram* i* *m*iii|m>s<*iI of scrolling branehe-wiili split leave-, blos-itins and cartouche* The t**nr- *«t hlu*- green and iwl accentuating the blossom* and h-av.-* are better preserved on these folios than hi the frontispiece • .old IihikIs rnriiise a rvctangulur unit divided into three field* two narrow panel* nt the t**p and liottoni hair oval cartouches with white kuti* inscription* placed against a him- ground eoveied with n gold floral aral*e-*|ii« In contrast to tin- front i-pi«-*»- the central square unit ofthe fini-pi*-*.- has a serie* *>l polygons that radiate from an eight pointed star and form several ring* around rhe • orc Th*- concentric zones are defined by various color combinations* white on blue gold mi gold, and blur on white, each »illi loin lies <*t |Mi|ychrome Th** intensity of color and the -iz*- *<t th* unit* create a bursting .-fleet .-omparabl*-t*. astral formation- Even th*- arabesque* filling th*- polygon-arc charged with a force that propel* rhrin away from the core Because tln- eoinpositiiMi extends beyond th*- restrictive gold frame (which cut* off the elements at the edges), one ha.- the feeling that wbiit i" raptured and translated mt** visual form i* onl.v a microcosm **f a powerfully radiant celestial phenomenon Th*- implication **l celestial light, stressrd by tin- ii.-*- of gold and blur the • olors of the heaven* i- |htIii*|« tl**- most *ophi*ti< atrd .«y mbol ofthe omni|H>tencr nfthe Creator. a befitting fini'pir**- to tin- Holy B«*ok of Islam Tlic text included is also an appropriate ending to th.- manuscript anil refer* to the Koran Xo lalsrhoi-l . an approach it from lieforv or after; it i* sent down by one full o| w isdom worthy of all praise Equally emphatic expression- of this energetic centrifugal design can be found in the lither contemporary art*, parii. iiliuiy in
  20. 20. White floral scroll with a blue ground A blue band adorned with a gold scroll Iwaring alternating lotus hlox-oinsand jieoniesencircle- the central square A white Iwaded rihl>ori enelo-ed Io g -trips frame- tins hand and outline- the intricate design in the . entral square Tin* design wolvtrot white sixteen pointed -tin radiating from a diffused gold core the ultimate visual expre-ioii ot dazzling and blinding wl< the color Iwromes r Three rings ol on radiate from the -i’ -u-ingls widening cirruniterrnrr .(■n pointed Mar the last one rut d of a gold arabesque on a blur ground, terminate- w ith white trefoil- The next zone a large astral formation sing this is a -cries ol ar ground ■II. w bite, and black. The third rone the frame The innern amp Ido* that have gold cartouches i- composed ot |Miltygon* in varymg »ha|M*> which through repetition of color and design form two internal ring.-. The sixteen pentagon* of the first ring ■ddifth brown with green cartom hr-: tilh unit-decorated with gold on gold r The |H-n1agon* of the next and last ,iv visihl......ily in the corner-. they are identical Irsign to those in the first ring but have a dark ground under the green cartouche* they alterna and gold oil ring a in brow The artist has displayed n developing throughout the r |Kisitional theme first introduced in the stamped decoration on the binding The waqf notation give-the name nt Atghim Shah who refer* to himself a- Mug in the sen i«e ol al Malik al-Ashraf (lol la) lthough the title al Malik was used by all Mamluk sultans al Ashrat was employed by only two fourteenth centurv rulers Kujuk(l34l 421 and Shahan it (I3ti3 "0 I he name Arghun Shah was also used by -vend amirs oneot whom served Sultan Kutuk as Amir ot I'oity Although it is tempting to assign the Koran to this Arghun Shall who died in I34!». the Style of the fl.... n-pieee and the overall -its
  21. 21. r«iK> National Library UlVol. I fol*. II. 2a) . ....... I'niiii .il Sultan XImImii Madras (built I 168 Both Sliuban ii 1I3».3 7'i .hkI hi< mother Kliwaml . ommi*«ioiird a numbvi ..! Koran* for their religious Kh« wd Baraka •> midnua talltd I-nun al Saltan Slinban . om|i|e1.«|m I he-ultail donated thn-c identii al m Hire mid w< ,e produced asa two XoflUDVM*t Hid one I. I slight ly large, -mglr X ollimr Khwand I’.araku h.-r*»-lt ><mmi**iotird other Korun* |..r her madra-a in inns 'he doimte.1 a thirty xolum? *.t and m rhe followiiig year -he Im-'IoukI a single voliinie work 1 ’"iiltan shahan gat e only one Koran to hi" own I h. double fronti‘|i|. < e illustrated hen-t* from the tir-t lami I '-II. . ! 1||>>' <1--Hated l- ''lilt,HI 1- ,"l overall pattern . ......ntr;i*t to the explore and ,4<fl.Olt ■•"‘Il |f| f||t illumination* o| otfw , «•.,» slightly in perprtualdow monoii 1 bi* d.’*ign represents .^Ily'iXt’ Hou ol th. h.-ax rn*. Ie.*> turbulent hut in ■t <tli.i .1.>iil>L> ll Oil! 1 I U II<O •-I < <l< II<I<I<III <1... 4..I............ 1.~.. ..Ul.-I » .11. tun .Mn-i,,, I to* Irani.- i- a«l< If..1.- ... ....1.4 .....1 aii.-maieiy in gohl amt with tforal motif* Eight? ..lot an-applied to thv blue ground i overiti with a green Hural arabesque. the ground but an- highlighted by a w hite scroll enclosing a single (Nilyehmm*- blossom The composition nl the ventral square i* bawd on the repetition ofright lobcd medallion* one of these ap|M«an> in the rote, surrounded By lour similar unit- eight others arc cut by the frame into halve* at the edges or into quarters at the romers The zone* between the medallion* are filled with polygons rmMlidled with gold lotu* blossom* on a gold ground or quatrefoils de. orated w ith blue floral* on a black ground. A white la-adcd band link* the < om|*onent* underprt'sinu and oxerpas*ing while looping around them to create an intro-ale maze The eight lol»ed medallions an- decorated with slightly different motif* Each half of tl>edouble frontispiece show - a variation in design and color The ventral medallion the lour half medallion* on the side* and the lour quarter im-dalboii* m the corner* an- identical while the remaining one* hav e another design Th? first group la-ar* four lolu* bh>*«om* surrounding a ivntral quatrefoil on a blai k ground, tlu- outci zone ha* a blue ground with a gold *i-r>dl on top of wInch an- • artouch?* with lotus bud* Placed around the ventral medallion are four medallion* which have hi th? renter a jenny framed by an clalwirate star formation whose golden |Munt*evolve into a romph-x araltesque. The ground alternate* Iwtxx’een blue, black and brown A* in other imperial Mamluk Koran*, the frontispiece i* followed l»y an illuminated double folio with th? opening ver*?* (fols 2I» 3a i The physical layout of thew page* i* identical to that of th? frontispiece. except that three line* ofscript appear in the ventral square The following folio* have illuminatisl heading*, marginal ornaments and vena- »!o,i» with the won! aifii Minutely written <-ommvntarn-* ar? placed diagonally in the margin* The last |Mgei|ol 3Xiil>) i* al*>> illuminated Th.- binding dak's from the • htomnn jieriod The waqfnotation, which till* the entin- page (fol, lai. < ontain* a lengthy prai"? of the sultan and give* hi* title* and name*, al Malik al A*hr-«l Mm 1-Muz.affar Shaitan It also mention-hi* ancestor* Husrin (his father) Sultan Nasir al Din Muhammad (hi* grandfather i Sultan al Mansur Muhammad ihi* ■ ou«in and immediate prvdeo'ssor). and Sultan Salih (hi* uncle.imi prrde. of his cousin) The waqf state* that th? sultan stipulated that tin- Koran Im- placed in Ills mother’s ma<lra*a on tin- fifteenth day of Shahan 77" Thin white loaded hamUoutli ■hl kilt ,.(. .16 6* ......I*.!. b H.7.! , . *1
  22. 22. Tile fwil ol.lollg |i 1 1 tl 1 1 it Tl . rneloMed 1 4 . lolvchniinr floral-<-ro|| <<>m|N>M' id two tor "a blue *n>Ulid The in p right m st11des ' Surat al Eatiha th.-l^iimiiig the book •tt indicate: ^tliat thi'' impt. r wa> I lie 1I|I|-T trit indicates tr Mm-a and Medina Be|. ap|«*ar on Mamluk frontispieces mid illuniinalrd heading' 'it is in the ventral-quaie that the illuminator Ibrahim reveals In- true talent As d challenging the fact that hr illuminalioii He has drawn a tight <ontour band -«i th. illuminators (compare with m» I and s; ami covered the the number* i»l word* within that section I he work which in- thr.-.- blue dot- folding over another an*i .loud, with trails ami pulk ('urination'- rrnilen-d in t while till thr an as la-twi the sweeping movement .......... . . 1. ■ 1... .. ... wo tones of blur and highlighted by -rn the tall vertical Irttvis and e. Im of the mlligraph) Illuminated I I . le | tl co tra-tm- -rem line a. .mt ^"T-x/'tI .''um- nt tll'Ai'.i'.l in th."?r<~- .tops w.'i. al... seen mother Mamluk K< .ran., (seem-' 1 2 and A Hie (litre lines of text <m each loin al Eatiha preceded l. t Thr Iwidy <d tin- manti chapter heading. each <■ .i-ontam the seven vrixe* of Surat script ha* exquisite!) illuminated
  23. 23. A thick g..|<| brawl <-n. with w hit.' on n blur ground with a gold r»ii blossom The background ot the**' panels is painted in the same t.ate «»f blur that d|>|NMr> in the wide frame and III the thin band rnekanng the text This band ■semlH lhdu-d with » gold Pie central panel is horizontal ami • mitain* tjvr line* offine iiaskhi script enclosed hv spacious r.intour band* the gold florid scroll in the background i* barely visible Illuminated right around tll«- lobes serve MS VelX-stops
  24. 24. rii.-losed uh all four ~i<h- A red In overlaid w ith i scrolling split 1 fuinel anil is <>t band* (mid at i gold braid eon ithneil l.y sever id white band* al thin gold divide tlie panel* at the t op and bottom tile central unit is transloi strip* added t< lined into a squ ■ are by vertical The rigid rei■tangle* ofthe < relieved bv tin•em ular subdi- unit boldly oi itlmeil in white and gold Anol al cartouche flanked by ap|H*at> in the oblong panel*: an eight tubed medallion .*un< -mall roundels A blue ground oWtmg panek verlit«1 strips in tin- center is minded by lour 1 ap|irara in the and eight lolled i.hiikI l<» tlx central «<pi;iie Hie gold floral on tin- nil and blue fields rv,H i «■>.,II- pl...-.-.l ofcoloraeernt ing the lulus bl. >*.*oms and buds further < ontrast i* provided hy the inscription- . majestic white thululh uppetir* in the oval rartoutIn s wink large gold thuluth fill* the.entnd medallion.* The medallions contain the name of the |mtron and tin* lirnedirtion yaitbay may hi* victory Ih- glorious The text on the up|w-r right panel state* that the maiiUM-npl «a- oidrrrd for the treasury of "«nir master the sultan' the lower panel contain* Quitbay .» title*, llir royal al Malik al A-hraf Abu l Nasir the -.inn- linn- by illuminator Tim with similar hdi, reign ol Qaitbay The coi t«'.«|HHiding | smelson the left give th. title of th.- work and < IimI Ide.* him and Although thi*. op manuscript made l<• secretary idumi<//rr) 1 eolielude With the phra-e grant him salvation y k undated. an nl.-nl u al r Amir Yashbak the .late 1172 73 ' Both style that they must works art- so similar in have tan produced at
  25. 25. METALWORK
  26. 26. The art of the Mamluks is possibly host known for the creation of spectacular metalwork, examples of which are among the most cherished possessions of many public and private collections around the world The Bahn sultans and ainirs commissioned an unpre­ cedented numlH-r of metal ohjeets, and artists vied with oneanother to produce larger ami more impressive picies for their patrons. Some examples are so detailed and executed with such finesse that they surpass even the work of illuminators an<l painters. The most famous examples of Mamluk metalwork wen* executed in the fourteenth century, when the art of the metalworker reached its epitome Artists created delicate pieces for personal use and ostenta­ tiousobjects for ceremonial functions,decoratingthem with silverand gold inlay In the Burji period, the production of metalwork declined notice­ ably Inlaying with precious metals was discontinued, and brass objects were simply engraved with bitumen applied to the bark ground In tin- late fifteenth century. cop|MT was also used and often covered with a thin coat of tin /faAn Prriod 11250 I'iUOf Early Mamluk metalwork shows a continuation of Ayyubid styleshikI themes (see nos in 24) Figural compositions. inscriptions, floral ami geometric motifs developed by the Ayyubida nourished under the Mamluks and persisted until the second quarter of the fourteenth century. Figuial com|KMiitions include the traditional courtly repertoire of warriors and hunters, musicians ami dancers, drinkers ami revelers (see nos l<» 12 II IK. ami 2<» 23) Figures an- also employed to |>eraonifv planets and constellationsof tin- zodiac (nos 13 14 and 16). An assortment ofreal ami fantastic animals is frequently depicted in pairs with predator* chasing l.hcir prey (see nos III, 14. 10. IB-19. and 21 22) or intermingled with arabesques in which the tendrils of the scrolls terminate with headsor liodies ofvarious creatures (n<». Bl II. 13 In. 21 22 21. ami 26). One of the most popular animals is the wild duck shown in flocks encircling medallions or as confronted and a<ldors«-d |>airs in geometric units (mm-na« Hi 19.22 2-1. and 31) This theme appeal* to have flourished between the I29<>s and the 1320s. lingering on until the middle of the fourteenth century. The third and most common ingredient of Mamluk art is writing, which is used on almost all metal objects here discussed, the only exception beinga camliestand (no 17). Inscriptions are rendered in a variety ofscripts angular kufic (we nos. 12. 23, 25. and 32). w liirh w as at times UM*d as a decorative feature, with letter* plaited or foliated (nos 10 and Bi) simple nasklu (nos. 10-13 IK. 20-22. and 32). sometimes animated with letters composed ol human and animal figures (nos 15 and IN) and thuluth the most characteristic Mamluk script (nos 11 Hi. IN 19. and 22 43). Kulic and naskhi. employed in earlier pieces, were abandoned in favor of the more majestic ami hierarchic thuluth, which soon Iwcame the favored style of writing The evolution of thuluth as the dominant script on Mamluk metalwork coincides with a change in the style ofdecoration. After the 1320s, Imld inscriptions became the main decorative theme (see nos. 25 32). Inscriptions apja-ar in panels interrupted by medallions and in circular formations with tin- vertical shafts of the letters radiating from the center Epigraphic blazons containing the sultan s name ami title were also inserted into prominent areas of the design Geometric motifs and floral arabesques, either used in the back ground of tile figural and epigraphic units or as main themes, are the next most common decorative elements. Various geometric |>atterns ap|M-ar in the center of medallions, serve us borders, and cover large areas. Floral motifs, consisting ofstylized arabesques and naturalistic lotus and peony blossoms, evolved at the same time as the epigraphic style and survived until the end of the Mamluk period Geometry’ was the basis for the decorative layout of Mamluk metalwork, with surfaces divided into tripartite or quadripartite segments, which in turn wen- subdivided into multiples of threes ami fours. Tripartite divisions soon became predominant, particularly after the development of the epigraphic style (see no. 26). Each segment of the design is interrelated, displaying a syncopated rhythm of geometric units, inscriptions, and decorative motifs. Continuous strips encircle the units and loop around them, creating an intricate maze that defines and unifies the components, similar to compositions in manuscript illumination Between 1275 and 1350 the art of Mamluk metalwork reached its apogee During these years the figural style flourished and the epigraphic style was established. At this time artists responded to an extremely energetic and supportive patronage by creating unique and spectacular pieces. The majority ofMamluk objects bearingsignatures ofmetalworkers datesfrom this period.The namesofseventeen artists from the Bahri period are known; in contrast there an- only five or six signatures from the subsequent Burji period? Among the outstanding artists was Mahmud ibn Sunqur. who produced an exquisite pen box in 1281 (no. 13); the renow ned muallim (teacher or master) Muhammad ibn al-Zayn, who created a inagnifi cent bowl and basin between 1290 and 1310 (nos. 20 21); and Ahmad ibn Husein al-Mawsili, who made a tray (no. 22) circa 1300 1320 lor the Rasulid sultan Dawud Other great artists known by their works include Ahmad ibn All al Baghdadi, whose name appears on a late-thirteenth-century bowl ;* Muhammad ibn Sunqur al-Baghdadi. called ibn al-muallim (son of the master), who made for Sultan Nasir al-Din Muhammad an oversize hexagonal table in 1327 and a Koran box around the same date, w orking on the latter with Hajj Yusuf ibn al Ghawabi? Ahmad ibn Bara al-Mawsili. who in 1322 made another Koran box for the sultan ? and Muhammad al Waziri. the artist of a mirror dedicated around 1340 to Amir Altunbugha? One should add to this list of metal workers. Ali ibn Umar ihn Ibrahimal-Sunqurial-Mawsili. who in 1317 made a candlestick • Badr ibn Ali Yala, who made a lantern in 1329 for Amir Qusun. cup-bearer of Sultan Nasir al Din Muhammad .7 and Ahmad al Hakam. the artist ofa mid fourteenth rent ury bowl " < Inc ofthe more prolific metalworkers was Ali ilm II usein al Mawsill, whose name is inscrils-d on three pieces of imperial quality: a ewer made in 1275 for the liasulid sultan Yusuf, a candlestick dated I2K2. and a basin dated I2K5? The name Ali ibn Hamud al-Mawsili also appears on three pieces a vase made for Qustah ibn Tudhrah in 1259 and a ewer dated 1274 and matching undated basin dedicated to Amir At mish al-Sadi."'The last two objects. most likely made in Syria wen- found with other contemporary pieces of metalwork in 1908 in Hamadan, western Iran The patrons of the pieces have not been identified, but their Turkish names indicate that they were former mamluks in the service of the last Ayyubid sultan and early Mamluk rulers. Another matching ewer and basin was made by Ali ibn Abdallah al-Alawi al-Mawsili.11 This set. which is not dated, reveals IIm- same stylistic features ofearly Mamluk metalwork seen in works of al-Mawsili metalworkers. A significant group of artists working in the early Mamluk period used the nitba (word designating place of origin) of al Mawsili. meaning from Mosul in Iraq In addition to the six individuals mentioned earlier, two other metalw orkers employed this term Muhammad ibn Hasan, who made a candlestick dated 1269 (no. 10) . ami Muhammad ibn Hilal. who in 1275 made a celestialglobe?* It is difficult to soil out the family relationships between the Muhammads. Ahmads, and Alls who use the same ninba Only one family appears to lx- more or less distinguishable a metalworker named Husein ibn Muhammad al Mawsili executed a ewer in Damascus in 1258 for the last Ayyubid sultan Yusuf.” the artist's •twosons. Ali ibn Husein ibn Muhammad ami Ahmad ibn Husein (who omits his grandfather's name), worked in Cairo, as stated in the inscriptions of their objects dated Iwtween 1275 and 1320 (see no. 22). Incidentally. these artists, together with Muhammad ibn Hasan are the only ones to include the names ofcities on their objects (see no 10) These al Mawsili artists should be considered as a group of men who worked in a specific style, perhaps associated at one time with the metalwork tradition of Mosul They display an expert handling oi figural compositions and a refined technique The consistent use of the nitba al-Mawsili long after Mosul and its artistic production fell into oblivion suggests that these men regarded themselves as members of an elite group, jierhaps a guild or society. It is quite possible that al-Mawsili was used in the same spirit as the ni.<ba al Tawrizi (from Tabriz) and al-Shann (from Sham, that is. Damascus) were used by fxiHcrs The mata and the figural style of Mamluk metalwork disappear after the second quarter of the fourteenth century. The production of metalwork during the Bahri period was extremely prolific, including imperial and ceremonial wares as well as