Mosque of Sultan Hasan. Vault from entrance.
14th c Egyptian Mamluk Architecture
(1250 - 1517)
Here is one of the elaborate stalactite half-domes that covers one of the iwans from the foundation of Sultan Hasan in Cairo.
The rich and complex patterns derive from the muqarnas that we discussed earlier, which were originally cell-like architectural structural supporting units but gradually became more decorative. The muqarnas covered the SQUINCHES that were used by many Islamic architects to make the transition from a square to dome. Instead of using the triangular pendentives favored by Byzantine architects, they place a series of lintels or arches across the corner of the square, and gradually approached the circle by moving from a four-sided figure, to and eight -sided figures, to a sixteen-sided one.
The lacy domes of Sultan Hasan's complex are very similar to the 14th century domes found in the Spanish Alhambra palace. As I pointed out when I discussed the Alhambra, the Moslems of Southern Spain had formed an alliance with those of North Africa, which resulted not only in political support, but also in stylistic similarities.
MAMLUK | Mosque of Sultan Hasan. Vault from entrance. | 1356-1362 | Islamic | Mamluk
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