CAIRO — Islamic artwork shouldn’t be the product of 1 nation or one individuals, writes Tharwat Okasha in his e-book, “The Encyclopedia of Islamic Pictures.” Slightly, it’s the merger of the humanities of a number of civilizations that flourished earlier than Islam, together with the Persian, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, because of the geographical enlargement of the Islamic state.
Mukhtar al-Kasbani, a professor of Islamic and Coptic antiquities at Cairo College, advised Al-Monitor, “Spiritual tolerance in Egypt instilled concord between faith and artwork. Egyptian rulers had targeted on the competences and abilities of artists or architects with out discrimination primarily based on faith. This prompted Muslim architects to be taught the ornamental options of Coptic artwork. They subsequently developed these stylistic options and gave them an Islamic identification, turning them into what grew to become generally known as Islamic artwork.”
He identified that Islamic artwork in Egypt is characterised by abstraction, simplicity and using geometric and vegetal varieties, whereas rejecting the depiction of dwelling beings. “All these traits are impressed from Coptic artwork. This seems clearly within the decorations protecting the partitions, facades and doorways of mosques. Egyptian mosques and church buildings are easy when it comes to architectural composition and design, in contrast to the Pharaonic temples, that are grandiose and dazzling.”
Kasbani commented on the marble columns topped by crosses which can be discovered within the mosques of Historic Cairo. “These had been introduced from ruined buildings. No church was demolished to construct a mosque for the reason that Islamic conquest of Egypt. The crosses adorning the tops of the columns, or capitals, are a manifestation of Coptic artwork. There was no spiritual objection to utilizing and preserving remnants of Coptic or Pharaonic monuments in constructing mosques.”
He added that there are mosques in Cairo the place capitals bear crosses, together with Al-Azhar Mosque, the place a human head seems in a single capital and one other bears a fowl.
Al-Nasir Mohammad Ibn Qalawun Mosque, Al-Saleh Tala’i Mosque and the mosque of Al-Tanbugha Al-Mardani all comprise column capitals adorned by crosses. Guests can nonetheless see the crosses or components of them. Some have been damaged or eroded over time.
Tour information Nur Yahya agrees with Kasbani. He confirmed that most of the mosques that had been constructed for the reason that Islamic conquest of Egypt in 641 AD by the Mamluk period embody capitals depicting crosses that had been introduced from ruined church buildings or run-down Christian houses.
Yahya advised Al-Monitor that almost all of Egypt’s Muslim rulers have preserved its Christian church buildings. “Some Pharaonic temples and Roman monasteries have was church buildings with the unfold of Christianity and earlier than the introduction of Islam. Pagan [imagery] in these church buildings had been erased and their partitions and pillars had been adorned with crosses and passages from the Bible.”
Yahya identified that Coptic affect on Islamic artwork goes past columns from ruined church buildings, saying, “A marble Gothic door was introduced from one of many church buildings of the town of Acre. It was used as a gate to the Al-Nasir Mohammad Ibn Qalawun Mosque in Al-Muizz Avenue in Cairo.”
Yahya defined that domes maintain the identical spiritual significance in mosques and church buildings akin to “the Church of Abu Serga [St. Sergius] and the Hanging Church within the Outdated Cairo neighborhood.” He added, “Domes are also present in mosques, the place we discover domes topped by a crescent.”
Abdul Rahim Rayhan, an archaeologist and director of analysis, archaeological research and scientific publishing for the archeological websites of South Sinai, mentioned that Christian and Islamic structure in Egypt share a substantial amount of symbolism owing to the mutual affect and cohesion of the 2 traditions.
In a phone interview with Al-Monitor, Rayhan talked about Islamic monuments constructed by Coptic architects, most notably Saeed bin Katib Al-Farghani, who designed Ibn Tulun Mosque.
The mosque was constructed by order of Prince Ahmed Ibn Tulun, the governor of the Abbasid state in 877 AD, on the high of Jabal Yashkar overlooking the hills of Mokattam. “Ibn Tulun needed to construct a mosque that may face up to fireplace or flood, even when Egypt was totally consumed or submerged. The mosque was supported by 160 brick piers as a substitute of the marble columns utilized in most mosques,” he mentioned.
Rayhan additionally talked about Al-Rifai Mosque within the Citadel Sq. in Cairo. “Khoshyar Hanim, the mom of Khedive Ismail, ordered its building in 1869. The mosque was constructed over two levels and Hussein Fahmy Pasha was the unique engineer. When Hoshiyar Qadin died in 1885, work was halted on the mosque and was resumed 25 years later on the order of Khedive Abbas Helmy II. Max Herz Pasha, a Hungarian Jewish architect and head of the Committee for the Conservation of Arab Monuments in Cairo, led the second part of building. That is why the mosque was constructed with a facade adorned with big crosses.”
Rayhan identified that the similarity between Coptic and Islamic arts attest to the shared values and cohesion between the Egyptian nation’s two essential spiritual traditions.