Creswell’s Cairo: Then and Now
The Islamic Art Network
The Islamic Art Network is a project undertaken by the Thesaurus Islamicus
Foundation, a charitable, non-profit foundation that was established to
advance, support and promote the protection, preservation, study and
dissemination of the Islamic intellectual, cultural and artistic patrimony
by any means deemed appropriate.
The Network currently consists of the following sections:
The Bulletins are a standard resource for the study of the Islamic
architecture of Cairo as they describe the restoration work on all its
Islamic monuments between 1882 –1953 by the Comité de Conservation des
Monuments de l’Art Arabe. They include photographs, drawings, and plans of
buildings that have disappeared and of others distorted by later restoration
work. For this reason they are invaluable. They also have full descriptions
of these monuments and their historical backgrounds.
A team of photographers have been documenting photographically the Islamic
monuments of Cairo for the digital photo archive of the Network. The aim is
to cover all of Cairo and then the rest of Egypt. The second step will be
recording the monuments around the Islamic world, with cities such as Fez,
Istanbul, Damascus and Isfahan fully exhibited.
Creswell’s Cairo: Then and Now
An exhibition that was organised to honour one of the founders of the
discipline of Islamic Art and Architecture History, Professor Sir Keppel
Archibald Cameron Creswell, and to commemorate his efforts in documenting
Islamic buildings not only in Cairo but all over the Muslim world.
The Islamic Art Network has taken a selection of the black and white
photographs from the Creswell Collection at the Rare Books and Special
Collections Library at the American University in Cairo, and matched these
with colour photographs shot from an identical perspective in the year 2003.
The Exhibition was inaugurated on December 22nd 2003 by Dr. Zahi Hawass,
Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The Islamic Art Network is planning to make books on Islamic art and
architecture that have gone out of print digitally available through its
website. The first book that has been added to our website is the monograph
on the mosque of Sultan Hasan written by Max Herz Pasha in 1899 entitled
Mosquée du Sultan Hassan au Caire.
As a source of reference the Network has several rare articles online. The
topics of the articles range from woodwork, numismatics, and architecture to
pottery. The first step was the digitisation of the articles published in
the Bulletins and Memoires of the Institut d’Egypte.
This glossary is composed of all the terms common in the field of Islamic
art and architecture including Islamic dynasties, craftsmen vocabulary,
endowment deeds’ vocabulary, etc.
The Islamic Art Network would like to thank the Rare Books and Special
Collection library (RBSC) at the American University of Cairo, for
permission to scan their collection of the Comité bulletins, their map of
Southern Cairo and the use of their Creswell collection. Their generosity
and continued support is greatly appreciated, without which the Network
would never have included the bulletins in their present form.
We would also like to thank Dr. Alaa El-Habashi for contributing missing
bulletins from his private collection, as well as for the loan of his map of
Northern Cairo, and for his frequent advice and assistance.
Upcoming Additions to the Network:
A Navigable map of Cairo
The standard reference for the location of the Islamic monuments of Cairo is
a map printed in 1948 by the Survey of Egypt. This map is the culmination of
the work started by Pierre Grand Bey, an active member of the Comité de
Conservation des Monuments de l’Art Arabe, in 1874 for Khedive Isma‘il.
Although the map is still available in Arabic, the English version is now
out of print. Reproduced on the Network’s website will be the plans of both
northern and southern Cairo, originally on two separate sheets, at a scale
of 1:5000, following the original colour-coding, that assigned a different
colour to each historical era.
A fully comprehensive bibliography of all the literature written about or
relevant to Islamic art and architecture.
Islamic Art Network
21 Misr Helwan al-Ziraa‘i St.,
Al-Ma'adi, Cairo, Egypt
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