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(EGYPT.) CRESWELL, K. A. C., & Ahmad Hassan Al-Bâkourî.

The Mosques of Egypt from 21 H. (641) to 1365 H. (1946).

Being a series of views in colour and monochrome of the principal mosques of Egypt with a brief note on each monument describing its history, and architectural features accompanied by detailed plans and maps.

Giza : 1949 Stock Code: 138671
£3,000.00
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Notes

First edition in English of this landmark publication, a lavishly illustrated monograph described justifiably by Creswell in his preface as "the finest piece of book production achieved in Egypt"; this copy in the highly uncommon de luxe morocco-grain roan binding. It was first published in Arabic in 1948.

The British architect and engineer Sir Keppel Archibald Cameron Creswell (1879-1974) "was a pioneer in Islamic architectural history who considered photography an essential part of his fieldwork. Following World War I, Creswell used his connections to obtain an appointment as Inspector of Monuments under General Edmund Allenby's Occupied Enemy Territory Administration. Between July 1919 and May 1920, he travelled throughout Syria and Palestine measuring and photographing monuments. During this time, he produced 960 photographs, 20 measured drawings, and 300 pages of notes. Based on this material, he successfully petitioned King Fuad I of Egypt to finance his work. Beginning in Cairo in October 1920 and continuing until 1969, he published five volumes of Early Muslim Architecture and the Muslim Architecture of Egypt. Mostly illustrated with his photographs, these works remain essential in the history of Egypt's Islamic architecture. Creswell served as Professor of Islamic Art and Archaeology at Fuad University in Cairo, ex-officio member of the Higher Council for the Conservation of Arab Monuments, a trustee of the Palestine Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem, a Rockefeller Institute fellow, and a Bollingen Foundation fellow. After the Suez Crisis in 1956, he donated his library for safekeeping with the American University in Cairo. In addition to his photographs, it includes primary source materials and other works on Muslim art and architecture that he collected over some 60 years and used as the basis for his Bibliography of the Architecture, Arts and Crafts of Islam published in 1961" (Harvard University, K. A. C. Creswell photograph collection of Islamic architecture, retrieved 24 February 2020).

"Cairo possesses a most remarkable series of Muslim monuments, running unbroken from the ninth to the nineteenth century. In the latter respect it is unique; other cities, such as Damascus, possess a large number of monuments but some centuries are not represented at all. As one surveys the gorgeous monuments of Muslim Egypt one is struck by the grandeur, the beauty and the mysteries of mosques. They represent Art at its best and in its varied aspects. They record the eventful history of those momentous periods. They seem to hide within them secrets which had far-reaching effects on the political and social history of the country as well as on its intellectual and spiritual life throughout the centuries. Indeed the history of the Muslim World in general and Muslim Egypt in particular cannot be properly understood or rightly interpreted unless mosques are thoroughly studied as links in the chain of the past. It is therefore of great advantage to Egypt and to the world to unveil those secrets and reveal them; for mosques were not only places of worship, but also colleges for the study of religious doctrines, philosophical ideas and political theories" (Preface).

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Description

2 volumes, folio (430 x 325 mm). Original green morocco-grain roan, smooth spines lettered in gilt and decorated in gilt and blind, sides with blind ornamental panelling, front covers lettered in gilt, both covers decorated with gilt roundels, pale green patterned endpapers.

Illustrations

Chromolithograph frontispiece and title page border in each volume, 243 photogravure plates from photographs by Creswell (27 coloured, with tissue-guards), numerous line drawings, plans and elevations in the text, index and very large folding map of Cair

Condition

Bindings professionally refurbished with particular attention to spines, colour sympathetically retouched, a few light abrasions. A very good set.

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