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9 Two Mamlūk minbars in Cairo: Approaching Material Culture through Narrative Sources

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Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces the Mamlūk minbars of the madrasa of Qāḍī Abū Bakr Ibn Muzhir, and of the Ghamrī Mosque. Today the latter is preserved in the funerary complex of Sultan al-Ashraf Barsbāy in the Northern Cemetery in Cairo. Neither minbar is signed, yet both were allegedly created by the carpenter Aḥmad b. ʿĪsā al-Dimyāṭī, who is mentioned in the biographical dictionary of fifteenth century notables, al-Ḍawʾ al-Lāmiʿ lī-Ahl al-Qarn al-Tāsiʿ, written by the Egyptian hadith scholar and prosopographer Shams al-Dīn Abū l-Khayr Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sakhāwī al-Shāfiʿī. Al-Sakhāwī provides a biographical note on this carpenter, a contemporary to him, and refers to several of his works. Al-Sakhāwī's reference to a minbar in the madrasa of Qāḍī Abū Bakr Ibn Muzhir and the Ghamrī Mosque allows to ascribe to the carpenter al-Dimyāṭī the unsigned but preserved minbars in these two mosques.

Keywords: Aḥmad b. ʿĪsā al-Dimyāṭī; Cairo; Ghamrī Mosque; Mamlūk minbars; Qāḍī Abū Bakr Ibn Muzhir



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