Decorative Lintels in the Mamluk Architecture of Cairo

This project is for the study of the decorative lintels of Cairo during the Mamluk period (1250- 1517 CE). The period is known as the golden age of Islamic Cairo, when the architecture and decorations reached sophistication. During that period, every architectural element was decorated to excellence Project Director: Tarek Swelim

This is a study on the decorative lintels of Cairo during the Mamluk period (1250-1517 CE), when the architectural decorations had reached their maximum degree of sophistication. Among the most remarkable elements that were elaborately decorated were the lintels of those buildings. Lintels were used in Egypt since Ancient Egyptian times and during the Islamic period they were used through systems of joggled voussoirs, in the Fatimid period, and at the end had begun decorating them, which was taken further by the Ayyubids and more so by the Mamluks. They develop a variety of independent geometric and floral arabesques, until they became more complex in designs during the Circassian Mamluk period, reaching their maximum height during the periods of Sultan Qaitbay. The project is intended to be a comprehensive study of the designs of the lintels, in documenting, analyzing, photographing, which may be useful source of reference in the future.

Project Details


Location: Cairo, Egypt, Northern Africa, Africa Organiser(s): Hamad Bin Khalifa University Project partner(s): The Nadim Foundation Funder(s): American Research Center in Egypt - Antiquities Endowment Fund Grant Funding received: $28,380 Commencement Date: 07/2019 Project Status: Active
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