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Description - The Art and Architecture of Islamic Cairo by Richard Yeomans

Since Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798, the western traveller has been obsessed with the Pharaohs and Egypt's ancient past. Her Islamic culture has been largely ignored, and the pyramids have been allowed to cast a long shadow over the visual culture of Islamic Cairo, obscuring a magnificent art and architectural heritage that has lasted over a thousand years, from the building of the Mosque of Amr in the seventh century to that of Muhammad Ali in the nineteenth. Cairo is full of masterpieces of medieval art and architecture reflecting the status of Egypt as the centre of several significant Muslim empires. The purpose of this book is to redress the cultural balance and examine the art and architectural treasures of Cairo from the Arab to the Ottoman conquests (642-1517). Set within an historical narrative, the stylistic development of the visual arts is explained within changing religious, social and political contexts. Examples of the decorative arts - ceramics, glass, woodwork, metalwork, textiles and manuscripts - are examined in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, and other major collections in Europe and the USA. Architecture, woodwork, pottery, textiles, ceramics and metalware from the Tulunid period through to the Mamluk period are dealt with separately, culminating in the flowering of a distinctly Islamic architecture from the initial dependency of the Umayyad Caliphate, despite their considerable political and mercantile acumen, upon the artistic expertise of the non-Arab indigenous population. Detailed stylistic descriptions of both monuments and the decorative arts illustrate how the story of Islamic art and architecture is one of continuing adaptation, change and innovation in response to the complex relationship between the Arabs and the native Egyptians as the Arabs struggle with their inherent desire to establish their own identity, whilst acutely aware of their own feelings of cultural inferiority, thus attempting to reconcile feelings of profound admiration, distaste and resentment. By concentrating on Cairo's Islamic art and architecture, rather than the Valley of the Kings and the pyramids, within a historical context, Yeomans has created a study of Islamic style which is unprecedented in its historical scope. Fully illustrated with over 200 vivid photographs, plans and elevations and a comprehensive glossary of architectural terms, this book will be essential reading for architects, designers and historians; indeed, for anyone with an appreciation of one of the world's finest and richest architectural legacies, tragically under threat.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781859641545
ISBN-10: 1859641547
Format: Hardback
(320mm x 240mm x 20mm)
Pages: 280
Imprint: Garnet Publishing Ltd
Publisher: Garnet Publishing Ltd
Publish Date: 24-Feb-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Richard Yeomans

Richard Yeomans is an independent scholar who was formerly a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of Warwick, where he was the Co-ordinator for Art and Design. The author of The Story of Islamic Architecture, he is also a painter who has regularly exhibited his work in solo and mixed exhibitions in London, the Midlands and abroad. The Islamic architecture of Egypt has been the subject of his painting for over twenty years and this book springs from that intimate visual knowledge and experience.