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ARTH303: Art of the Islamic World

Unit 3: Art and Architecture of the Fatimid (909-1171), Ayyubid (1171-1250), and Mamluk (1250-1517) Dynasties   This unit focuses on the art and architecture of three successive Islamic dynasties whose empire was based in Egypt: the Fatimids, Ayyubids, and Mamluks.  We will first learn about the building of Cairo by the Fatimid rulers, their patronage of the decorative arts, and the production of Tiraz textiles.  We will then turn to the Ayyubid madrasas and other building projects as well as Ayyubid patronage of the decorative arts.  This unit concludes by examining later Islamic art and architecture in Egypt under the Mamluk dynasty.  After completing this unit, you should have a comprehensive understanding of the artistic and architectural traditions of these three Islamic Egyptian dynasties. 

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit will take you about 12 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 4.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3: 4.5 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify major building projects undertaken by the Fatimids, Ayyubids, and Mamluks.
  • Explain major architectural and artistic developments under the Fatimids, Ayyubids, and Mamluks.

3.1 Fatimid Art and Architecture   - Reading: Museums with No Frontiers’ “The Fatimids” Link: Museums with No Frontiers’ “The Fatimids” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading covers materials for subunits 3.1.1 and 3.1.2.  Click on the link titled “Introduction.”  Read the text on the page and then click on the hyperlink in the right hand of the page labeled “Next page” to access each subsequent page for reading.  Continue to do this until you have reached the end of the online exhibition (17 webpages total).
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.1 Fatimid Architecture   - Reading: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Building Style: Fatimid” Link: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Building Style: Fatimid” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading covers the topics for subunits 3.1.1.1 and 3.1.1.2.  First, read this page as an introduction to Fatimid architecture.  Afterwards, click on the link labeled, “Al-Azhar Mosque” and “Al-Hakim Mosque.”  After you have finished each of these pages, make sure to click on “view thumbnail images” at the top right-hand corner to view images of these mosques.
 
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3.1.1.1 The Al-Azhar Mosque   - Reading: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Al-Azhar Mosque” Link: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Al-Azhar Mosque” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  Then, click on the thumbnails at the top right corner of the page to view images of the Al-Azhar Mosque
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.1.2 The Al-Hakim Mosque   - Reading: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Al-Hakim Mosque” Link: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Al-Hakim Mosque” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  Then, click on the thumbnails at the top right corner of the page to view images of the Al-Hakim Mosque
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.2 Fatimid Art   - Reading: The Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Style in Islamic Art: Fatimid Style” Link: The Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Style in Islamic Art: Fatimid Style” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading covers material for subunits 3.1.2.1-3.2.2.  Please read the short text as an introduction to Abbasid art.  Then click on “Balanced design,” “The human figure,” and “Warding off evil” and read about different characteristics of Fatimid art.
 
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3.1.2.1 Fatimid Ceramics, Metalwork, and Glass   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 3.1.  Focus specifically on the webpage, “The Decorative Arts.”

3.1.2.2 Tiraz Textiles   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 3.1.  Focus specifically on the webpage, “Sartorial Splendour: Tiraz and Contemporary Costume.”

3.2 Ayyubid Art and Architecture   3.2.1 Ayyubid Architecture   - Reading: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Building Style: Ayyubid” Link: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Building Style: Ayyubid” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this text as an introduction to Ayyubid architecture.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.1.1 The Fortified Citadels of Cairo and Aleppo   - Reading: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Cairo Citadel” and “Aleppo Citadel” Link: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Cairo Citadel” (HTML) and “Aleppo Citadel” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read these webpages.  When you are finished reading each page, click on the thumbnails at the top right corner to view images of the Cairo and Aleppo citadels.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.1.2 Ayyubid Madrasas   - Reading: Museum with No Frontiers’ “The Atabegs and Ayyubids: Madrasas and Education” Link: Museum with No Frontiers’ “The Atabegs and Ayyubids: Madrasas and Education” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the text on the webpage, and then click on the hyperlink in the right-hand corner of the page titled “Next page.”  Continue to do this until you have reached the end of the online exhibition about Atabeg and Ayyubid madrasas (4 webpages total).
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.1.3 Imam al-Shafi'i Mausoleum   - Reading: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Imam al-Shafi'i Mausoleum” Link: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Imam al-Shafi'i Mausoleum” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  Then, click on the thumbnails at the top right corner of the page to view images of the Imam al-Shafi'i Mausoleum.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.1.4 Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub Funerary Complex   - Reading: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub Funerary Complex” Link: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub Funerary Complex” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  Then, click on the thumbnails at the top right corner of the page to view images of the Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub Funerary Complex.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.2 Ayyubid Ceramics, Metalwork, Wood, and Glass   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Suzan Yalman’s “The Art of the Ayubbid Period (c. 1171-1260)" Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Suzan Yalman’s “The Art of the Ayyubid Period (c. 1171-1260)" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this page as an introduction to the history and art of the Ayyubid period.  After you have read the text, click on “View Slideshow” to explore examples of Ayyubid art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Click on each individual image, and read the accompanying text.
 
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3.3 Mamluk Art and Architecture   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Suzan Yalman’s “The Art of the Mamluk Period (1250-1517)” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Suzan Yalman’s “The Art of the Mamluk Period (1250-1517)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please note that this reading also covers material for subunit 3.3.2.  Read this page as an introduction to the history and art of the Malmuk period.  After you have read the text, click on “View Slideshow” to explore examples of Malmuk art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Click on each individual image, and read the accompanying text.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.1 Mamluk Architecture   - Reading: Museum with No Frontiers: Mohammad Al-Asad’s “Mamluks: Monuments” Link: Museum with Now Frontiers: Mohammad Al-Asad’s “Mamluks: Monuments” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this page as an introduction to Mamluk architecture.  After you are finished, make sure to click on each image on the right side of the webpage, and read the accompanying text.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Sultan al-Nasir Hasan Funerary Complex” Link: Archnet’s Digital Library: “Sultan al-Nasir Hasan Funerary Complex” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this page about the Sultan al-Nasir Hasan Funerary Complex.  After you have finished, make sure to click on “view thumbnail images” at the top right-hand corner to see Images of the complex.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Saudi Aramco World: John Feeney’s “A City Adorned” Link: Saudi Aramco World: John Feeney’s “A City Adorned” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this article that focuses on Sultan Hasan Mosque.  Make sure to click on the play button after “View the slideshow,” which is directly to the right below the title bar, to view images associated with this article that originally appeared on pages 20-31 of the January/February 2005 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.
     
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3.3.2 Mamluk Decorative Arts   Note: This subunit is also covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 3.3.  Focus specifically on the images in the slideshow and their accompanying text.

  • Reading: The Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Style in Islamic Art: Mamluk Style” Link: The Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Style in Islamic Art: Mamluk Style” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the short text as an introduction to Mamluk art.  Then, click on “Bold Inscriptions,” “Badges of Office,” and “Complex Geometry” on the right side of the webpage, and read each of these sections about the different characteristics of Mamluk art (four pages total including the introduction).
     
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  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Stefano Carboni and Qamar Adamjee’s “Enameled and Gilded Glass from Islamic Lands” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Stefano Carboni and Qamar Adamjee’s “Enameled and Gilded Glass from Islamic Lands” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this page as an introduction to enameled and gilded glass produced during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods.   After you have read the text, click on “View Slideshow” at the top of the webpage to see examples of Islamic enameled and gilded glass in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Click on each individual image, and read the accompanying text.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.