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Photograph - Wood door inlaid with ivory from the mosque Mamluk Sultan al-Ashraf Barsbay in the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo
  • Wood door inlaid with ivory from the mosque Mamluk Sultan al-Ashraf Barsbay in the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo
    Sebah, Pascal, born 1823 - died 1886
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Wood door inlaid with ivory from the mosque Mamluk Sultan al-Ashraf Barsbay in the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (photographed)
    Cairo (photographed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1880

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sebah, Pascal, born 1823 - died 1886 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print

  • Museum number:

    85524

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case BX, shelf 167

Physical description

A mounted albumen print showing an object from the Museum of Islamic Art collection in Cairo, Egypt

Place of Origin

Egypt (photographed)
Cairo (photographed)

Date

ca. 1880

Artist/maker

Sebah, Pascal, born 1823 - died 1886 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print

Marks and inscriptions

باب من جامع الأشرفية

Object history note

This photograph is one of a set (numbered 85520 to 85545) taken by Pascal Sebah and presented to the Museum by the Ministers of Public Worship, Cairo, in 1884. It was probably taken as early documentation for the collection of the Museum of Arab Art in Cairo (today known as the Museum of Islamic Art) when it was still housed in al-Hakim mosque.
In 1869, Khedive Ismail’s attention focussed on the importance of creating a museum for Arab art. He delegated the creation of the museum to Franz Pasha (head of the Technical Bureau of the Administration of Endowment). However, it took 34 years for the idea to come to fruition. The project was first delayed for eleven years as no building was allocated. Then, in 1880, Khedive Tewfik appointed Franz Pasha again and authorised him to gather all objects of artistic value to the canon of Arab art in a suitable location. The arcades of al-Hakim mosque were chosen to shelter the first holdings. The objects were mostly detached fragments and pieces collected from historic cairene structures, that had fallen into disrepair.
The establishment of the Museum did not become effective until the 'Comité de conservation des monuments de l'art arabe' was officially created by khedivial decree in 1881. One of the Comité's main responsibilities was to focus on items of interest to the Arab art. The collection was expanding and soon al-Hakim mosque ran out of space. A new home for the collection was secured after the Comité convinced the government on its necessity. The collection was then transferred from al-Hakim mosque in 1903 and the Museum was inaugurated on the 28th of December of that year. It still occupies the same building designed by Alfonso Manelesco in neo-Mamluk style.
The photograph was most likely taken sometime in 1880-1886, probably by order of the Comité, as a way of documenting the collections of the Museum. A first catalogue was published in 1895 by Max Herz Pasha, the Museum's inaugural director.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Pascal Sebah, captioned 'Cairo: Arabian Museum. Doors from the mosque El Achraf at El-Acharfieh' [Mosque of Sultan al-Ashraf Barsbay], built in 1423-1424, Cairo, Egypt, albumen print, ca. 1880

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Survey of Egypt, Index to Map of Cairo showing Mohammedan monuments (Cairo, 1951) no.175
Herz, Max. Catalogue sommaire des monuments exposés dans le Musée national de l'art arabe. Cairo: G. Lekegian & cie, 1895.

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Albumen process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Doors

Categories

Historic Cairo; Architecture; Monuments

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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