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The Foundation of a Tabrizi Workshop in Cairo: A Case Study of Its Influence on the Mosque of Emir Altunbugha Al-Maridani

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This article discusses the introduction of new decorative techniques to Bahri Mamluk architecture in Cairo; the focus is primarily on the Mosque of Emir Altunbugha al-Maridani. The mosque was built during the third reign of al-Nasir Muhammad, which was marked by great growth and urban development. The exchange of artists from the Ilkhanid domain and the foundation of a court workshop in Cairo during the 1330s and 1340s were responsible for the increase in the use of tile decoration and stuccowork on Cairene architecture. Four tile panels above the entryways to the mosque and stucco decoration are analyzed technically and stylistically to learn more about the craftsmen’s inspiration and technique, as well as the extent of the workshop’s involvement in the mosque. The discussion further aims at contextualizing the mosque in light of contemporaneous historical events and at examining how these may have contributed or influenced the architecture of this period. 

Affiliations: 1: Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations, The American University in Cairo


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