HANDS ON Traditional Crafts at The City of the Dead in Cairo

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Tomb of Amir Azrumuk (No.87), A.D.1504-5 / 909-10 A.H.

This is a very late-Mamluk tomb, built by a man who was ‘Amir of One Hundred’ under Sultan Qansuh al Ghuri, meaning that he served under the orders of this Sultan’s Commander of the Armies, Amir Kebir Qurqumas, whose grand funerary complex stands some 1,500 metres away at the other end of the Northern Cemetery.

 

In their sophistication, the elaborate fleur-de-lys that crest the tomb chamber walls, and the complex crystalline-looking zone-of-transition are typical of architecture in Cairo in Sultan al-Ghuri’s times. The dome itself is carved in fine floral motifs turned into abstract geometric patterns that defy the distinction between the object and its background. In the middle of each “leaf” is a drop-shaped blob of turquoise-coloured faience; this is a unique feature in Cairo.