Qaytbay was one of Barsbay’s Mamluks. A Mamluk was a slave and Qaytbay was originally purchased for fifty dinars. However, in this strange culture, often one had to begin his life as a slave to obtain greatness, and thus Qaytbay worked his way up through the ranks to become commander-in-chief of the army, and ultimately sultan. he reign from 1468 through 1496, a record broken only by al-Nasir Muhammad. He was noted for his martial prowess and physical energy, and for his remorseless financial taxation of his subjects. The two main efforts of his reign were developing relations with the rising power of the Ottomans and a promotion of trade, particularly with the Italians.
Sultan Qaytbay was a prolific builder of various institutions in Egypt during his reign, much like al-Nasir Muhammad in the fourteenth century. In fact, some eighty-five structures have been attributed to him in Syria, Palestine, Mecca, Alexandria and Cairo. His reign was long enough to allow specific styles to develop in the various important monuments that he sponsored. This was a period of consolidation, however, rather than innovation, when domestic ideas of architecture played a more significant part than did foreign ideas. This was a golden age of stone carving when architecture, rather than being gigantic, tended towards refinement. Particularly on facades, marble work also played a prominent role in decoration.
Qaytbay’s monument remains a fine example of architecture during a period when decorative arts had reached their zenith. It was once a vast desert complex that included a commercial center on the main north-south trade route with Syria and the east-west trade route with the Red Sea. This complex, built between 1472 and 1474 AD and now featured on the Egyptian One Pound Note, is well worth a visit.
To the left of the portal is a sabil–kuttab, and on the right is a minaret. Rising from the structure on the southeast side is a small but magnificent mausoleum dome. Its surface is adorned with a carved straight-lined star pattern superimposed on another carved network of undulating arabesques.
The stone minaret, carved with stars in high relief, is slender and elegant. On its surface there are two separate designs, complex but clear. One is a plain, raised straight-lined star pattern and the other an undulating lacework of floral arabesque that is grooved and recessed. The bulb at the top has a carved, twisted band on its neck. This is one of the most beautiful minarets in Cairo, and from its tower one is provided with an excellent view of the dome. The sabil, or fountain, has a gilded wooden ceiling and in the vestibule is a stone bench and cupboard with doors inlaid with wood and ivory.
Ashli Jewelers is proudly to present this recreation of The Preaching Stand based on the original 15th century plans of the Mosque of Qaytbay (Egypt). The structure of the Stand has a 23k Yellow Gold & White Gold coating that is enhanced by the use of 3,300 pieces semi-precious gemstones that consist of Lapis Lazuli, Red Onyx, Mother-of-Pearl, Malachite and of Picture Jasper. The end result is a stunning work of art which combines the exacting skills of lapidary, metal processing and intricate craftsmanship. Detailed information on the of the Mosque of Qaytbay (Egypt) can be read at http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/qaytbayfunerary.htm
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