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BIC Excellence Award

Power and Patronage in Medieval Syria
The Architecture and Urban Works of Tankiz al-Nasiri

By Ellen Kenney

Power and Patronage in Medieval Syria
Hardback, 269 pages £65.00
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780970819949
Format: 287mm x 218mm
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Subjects: Arabic and Islamic Studies, Middle East Documentation Center
Series: Chicago Studies on the Middle East

The long reign of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad was one of the most productive periods for architectural construction, restoration and urban development in the medieval Near East. The building works of this ruler and his amirs transformed the fabric of the Mamluk capital, Cairo, and shaped its future development in decades to come. For most of al-Nasir Muhammads sultanate, Tankiz al-Nasiri ruled as governor of the Syrian province. Tankizs term was one of the longest for any amir to retain a single office and to remain in the good graces of this sultan, known for his mercurial nature. Tankiz played a critical role in Mamluk politics and Syrian history. His lengthy tenure also allowed him to give sustained attention to the built environment of the province. During his term, he undertook an ambitious program of construction that involved monuments, urban works and renewal projects. This book investigates Tankizs building program by identifying the works that he commissioned, exploring the nature of his participation in these works, and situating them within the broader contexts of architectural development in the region and patronage during the Mamluk period.

The volume features over 80 photographs and other illustrations, including several in full colour. It is fully indexed and provides a wealth of references to primary and secondary literature.

List of Illustrations and Plates


List of Abbreviations and Short References


Space, Authority and the Past in Mamluk Damascus: Re-Forming a Provincial Capital

Re-Shaping the Holy: Tankiz's Patronage in Jerusalem and Hebron

Color Plates

Building Periphery: Commissions in the Bilad al-Sham

Patterns of Patronage in Mamluk Syria: The Case of Tankiz



Ellen Kenney received her doctorate in the History of Art from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 2004. She specialises in the study of Islamic Art and Architecture. She currently does research for the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 269 pages
 287mm x 218mm

BIC Code:
  HIS026000, HIS037010
 Middle East Documentation Center


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