Madrasa & mausoleum of Sultan Hassan.
14th c Egyptian Mamluk Architecture
(1250 - 1517)
The plan of the foundation of Sultan Hasan helps us understand the relationship of madrasa, mosque and tomb. The entire complex is organized around a large central court, called a "sahn." Four iwans, or porches, opened of the central court, and the spaces within them served as classrooms where the teachers lectured. Sultan Hasan's foundation actually housed four madrases, each controlled by a different Islamic sect. They are arranged around the central court forming a modified Greek cross plan. One of the iwans served as a mosque, and you can see the qiblah wall with its mirhab and minbar. Look back at a representation of the mirhab and the minbar from Sultan Hasan's mosque that was shown in the early part of the lesson.
Behind the qiblah wall was the mausoleum of the sultan with his sarcophagus in the center of a large square room which was covered by a dome. The dome is indicated by a circle. Notice the half-circles over the four iwans. We will later look at the elaborate stalactite decoration in one of these half-domes.
The spelling of the terms in this plan introduce one of the problems of studying Islamic art, which is the transcription of the Arabic into various European languages. The term "madrasa" is sometimes spelled "medresa" as it is here, and "iwan" is sometimes spelled "liwan." "Moslem" is also spelled "Moslem." You will run across all of these spelling variants and more in your study. Don't worry about them, for you can use either spelling. I just wanted you to be aware of the reason for the inconsistencies. Similar problems exist with the transcription of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese characters. Thus, you will also see variant spellings in discussions of those cultures.
MAMLUK | Mosque of Sultan Hassan. Plan. | Mamluk | Islamic
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