Against Gravity

Amenah Abdulkarim

Building Practices in Light of Mamluk Documents
Literary Mamluk sources give little attention to building craftsmen. Therefore, looking for other primary sources that reveal more about Mamluk building practices guided this research to utilize Mamluk deeds. Practices such as building, maintenance, restoration, and evaluation have got a better chance to be recorded in Mamluk deeds. Several endowment deeds tell us about the role of architects and masons in the astonishing extant Mamluk monuments, thus they enhance the modern perception of Mamluk architects and builders. Modern scholars utilize endowment deeds to analyze Mamluk architecture in terms of architectural, artistic, urban, functional, social, and cultural characteristics with giving little attention to builders who cooperated to produce these great monuments. Consequently, the topic of Mamluk architects as practitioners and people living in society needs to come to light and reveal more about their professional and social life. This paper focuses on aspects of Mamluk architects’ various building practices as reflected in endowment deeds as well as how these practices were regulated by Mamluk Sultanate.