Coptic artwork adorns Cairo’s historic mosques

Oct 17, 2020

CAIRO — Islamic artwork is now not the fabricated from 1 nation or one folks, writes Tharwat Okasha in his e guide, “The Encyclopedia of Islamic Footage.” Quite, it’s a methods the merger of the humanities of a number of civilizations that flourished earlier than Islam, alongside aspect the Persian, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, because of the geographical growth of the Islamic specific. 

Mukhtar al-Kasbani, a professor of Islamic and Coptic antiquities at Cairo School, instructed Al-Observe, “Spiritual tolerance in Egypt instilled cohesion between religion and artwork. Egyptian rulers had focused on the competences and abilities of artists or architects with out discrimination in line with religion. This triggered Muslim architects to be taught the decorative features of Coptic artwork. They because of this truth developed these stylistic features and gave them an Islamic identification, turning them into what grew to become recognized as Islamic artwork.” 

He identified that Islamic artwork in Egypt is characterised by abstraction, simplicity and the utilization of geometric and vegetal kinds, whereas rejecting the depiction of dwelling beings. “All these traits are impressed from Coptic artwork. This seems to be clearly throughout the decorations masking the partitions, facades and doorways of mosques. Egyptian mosques and church buildings are simple by method of architectural composition and manufacture, in distinction to the Pharaonic temples, that are grandiose and glowing.” 

Kasbani commented on the marble columns topped by crosses that are painting throughout the mosques of Historic Cairo. “These had been launched from ruined constructions. No church was demolished to invent a mosque for the rationale that Islamic conquest of Egypt. The crosses adorning the tops of the columns, or capitals, are a manifestation of Coptic artwork. There was no religious objection to utilizing and conserving remnants of Coptic or Pharaonic monuments in constructing mosques.” 

He added that there are mosques in Cairo the get capitals endure crosses, alongside aspect Al-Azhar Mosque, the get a human head seems to be in a single capital and yet another bears a rooster.

Al-Nasir Mohammad Ibn Qalawun Mosque, Al-Saleh Tala’i Mosque and the mosque of Al-Tanbugha Al-Mardani all dangle column capitals embellished by crosses. Visitors can quiet observe the crosses or components of them. Some had been broken or eroded over time.

Tour particulars Nur Yahya agrees with Kasbani. He confirmed that heaps of the mosques that had been constructed for the rationale that Islamic conquest of Egypt in 641 AD by the Mamluk abilities include capitals depicting crosses that had been launched from ruined church buildings or disappear-down Christian properties.

Yahya instructed Al-Observe that the majority of Egypt’s Muslim rulers catch preserved its Christian church buildings. “Some Pharaonic temples and Roman monasteries catch changed into 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 embellished with crosses and passages from the Bible.” 

Yahya identified that Coptic have an effect on on Islamic artwork goes past columns from ruined church buildings, saying, “A marble Gothic door was launched from one among the church buildings of city of Acre. It was outdated as a gate to the Al-Nasir Mohammad Ibn Qalawun Mosque in Al-Muizz Facet toll highway in Cairo.”

Yahya defined that domes defend the similar religious significance in mosques and church buildings equal to “the Church of Abu Serga [St. Sergius] and the Putting Church throughout the Inclined Cairo neighborhood.” He added, “Domes moreover are painting in mosques, the get we acquire domes topped by a crescent.”

Abdul Rahim Rayhan, an archaeologist and director of analysis, archaeological evaluation and scientific publishing for the archeological websites of South Sinai, talked about that Christian and Islamic structure in Egypt part an enormous deal of symbolism owing to the mutual have an effect on and harmony of the two traditions.

In a phone interview with Al-Observe, 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 command of Prince Ahmed Ibn Tulun, the governor of the Abbasid specific in 877 AD, on the tip of Jabal Yashkar overlooking the hills of Mokattam. “Ibn Tulun wished to invent a mosque that might face as a lot as hearth or flood, even when Egypt was fully consumed or submerged. The mosque was supported by 160 brick piers as yet another of the marble columns outdated in most mosques,” he talked about.

Rayhan moreover talked about Al-Rifai Mosque throughout 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 traditional engineer. When Hoshiyar Qadin died in 1885, work was halted on the mosque and was resumed 25 years later on the command 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. Right here is why the mosque was constructed with a facade embellished with large crosses.”

Rayhan identified that the similarity between Coptic and Islamic arts attest to the shared values ​​and harmony between the Egyptian nation’s two predominant religious traditions.

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