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Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. The Royal Cemetery in Cairo

Ḥūš al-Bāšā. Le cimetière royal du Caire
حوش الباشا. مدافن العائلة المالكة في القاهرة
Mai Mohamed Kolkailah
p. 273-341

Résumés

Cet article se concentre sur Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, cimetière royal situé près du mausolée d’al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī. Dans un premier temps, l’historiographie de Ḥūš al‑Bāšā est examinée afin de déterminer la place du mausolée dans l’espace et le temps. Ensuite, pour réévaluer la date de construction du mausolée, cette étude reconstitue soigneusement la chronologie complexe de Ḥūš al-Bāšā en croisant des sources contemporaines avec des récits des témoignages oculaires de voyageurs du xixe siècle et des dessins de Ḥūš al‑Bāšā réalisés par Pascal Coste et Antonio Schranz Jr.
Dans le cadre d’une réécriture critique du récit historique de Ḥūš al-Bāšā, cette étude cartographie le mélange d’éléments décoratifs du cimetière et identifie leurs premiers modèles d’inspiration dans le but d’analyser les tendances éclectiques et les étapes innovantes de construction de Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. Ainsi, elle permet de définir ce qui a constitué le style ottoman traditionnel au xixe siècle. Enfin, une comparaison est faite entre le milieu artistique de l’État impérial d’Istanbul et celui de la province khédiviale du Caire, afin d’interroger les vecteurs d’influence de l’occidentalisation sur l’évolution stylistique de Ḥūš al-Bāšā. Sans doute, Ḥūš al-Bāšā représente-t-il une manifestation de pouvoir, un tournant de transformation visuelle décisif et un rappel de la modernisation de l’ordre social.

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Texte intégral

This paper is drawn from my Master’s thesis, which was submitted to the American University in Cairo (AUC) in January 2021. I am incredibly grateful to Professor Bernard O’Kane for reviewing multiple drafts of this paper and continuously guiding me through my academic research. I would like to also express my sincerest appreciation to Mrs. Eman Morgan, Assistant Director of Special Projects at the Rare Books and Special Collections Library—AUC, for helping me find crucial research materials especially during the difficult times of the COVID‑19 lockdown. Many thanks to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback on an earlier version of this study.

1Ḥūš al-Bāšā, also known as the Tomb of the Family of Muḥammad ʿAlī (r. 1805–1848), is an architectural ensemble where cultural identities meet, artistic forms collide, and the dead keep each other company. The mausoleum is located in the Qarāfa, the Southern Cemetery in Cairo, near the shrine of al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī. Fashioned slowly but surely throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century to accommodate deaths in the sovereign family, the royal cemetery’s gradual visual transformation reveals historically relevant information about the stylistic tendencies of local and imperial artistic milieus during this period. The main objective of this study is to, first and foremost, reconstruct Ḥūš al-Bāšā’s complicated building chronology and reassess when it was built. Then, this study surveys the various modes of ornamentation employed at the royal cemetery to bridge between its blend of decorative motifs and their diverse visual references, and identify if the creative process that shaped Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s artistic expression was one of innovation, inspiration, or mere imitation. Finally, in an effort to better understand Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s architectural character, the cemetery is studied in reference to the politics of the Imperial state, the ambitions of the provincial patron, and the identity of the so‑called Ottoman architect. Ḥūš al‑Bāšā is arguably one of the most intriguing architectural moments in Ottoman Cairo not only because of the significance of where it is located and who is buried there, but also, most importantly, how the mausoleum’s patterns of stylistic evolution reflect the complexity of socio-political factors that affected Cairo’s building activities at the time.

Historical context

  • 1 Fahmy 2009, pp. 1–3.
  • 2 For a literature review on Muḥammad ʿAlī’s family roots, see Lowry, Erünsal 2011, pp. 1–4.
  • 3 al-Sayyid Marsot 1984, p. 25.

2Muḥammad ʿAlī, the patron of Ḥūš al-Bāšā, was the founder of a dynasty that ruled Egypt for a century and a half. He was born in Kavala, Macedonia in 1769 and died in Alexandria, Egypt in 1849.1 Though the view on Muḥammad ʿAlī’s family roots being of Albanian origins has been widely accepted in scholarly literature, certain historians argue in favor of a Kurdish origin based on an account by Muḥammad ʿAlī’s son that mentions his family having originally come to Kavala from Konya in central Anatolia.2 Little is certain about the family’s history beyond the fact that Muḥammad ʿAlī, whose father was a commander of a provincial unit in Kavala, came from three generations of military service.3 Muḥammad ʿAlī’s rise to power began when he was first summoned as a commander of an Albanian force dispatched by the Ottoman Empire to expel the French occupation from Egypt in 1801. After successfully ousting the French, he settled in Egypt and drew up an ambitious plan for himself to reach the throne. In a grand political scheme, he gained the support of the general public by joining forces with prominent Egyptian figures from scholars to sheikhs and inciting the troops to rally against the Ottoman ruler. By the will of the people, indeed, Muḥammad ʿAlī managed to become the de facto ruler and forced the Ottoman Sulṭān to recognize him as his viceroy in Egypt. To secure his power over the country, the wālī (governor) eliminated any possible opposition, including the Mamluks, and eventually acquired the hereditary right to rule Egypt and the Sudan.

  • 4 al-Sayyid Marsot 1984, p. 117.
  • 5 El-Ashmouni, Bartsch 2014, p. 56.
  • 6 Ṣabat 1966, p. 133; Hassan 2021, pp. 2, 4, 16; according to Sabat and Hassan, Muḥammad ʿAlī issued (...)

3In a determined endeavor to establish a modernized state with a centralized authority for himself and his family, Muḥammad ʿAlī instituted many developments geared towards the total reform of Egypt’s agriculture, economy, military, education, and administration. Amongst countless other projects, he improved agricultural practices and irrigation systems, increasing the agricultural land and crop yield;4 ordered the construction of the Maḥmūdiyya Canal (1820) and a fleet of river boats, bringing about control over trade and commerce that revived the country’s socio‑economic status;5 founded the Government Press in Bulaq (1815) which revolutionized the printing industry in Egypt and ultimately became one of the largest printing establishments in the Near East;6 and developed the country’s military, expanding to frontiers beyond his territory.

  • 7 For a detailed survey of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s palaces, see El-Ǧawhary 1954; ʿAbd al-Raḥman 2005.
  • 8 For an overview of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s architectural commissions, see Rizq 2003, vol. 5, 26; ʿAbd Allāh (...)
  • 9 A more detailed analysis of Ḥūš al-Bāšā’s decorative repertoire will be further discussed in the up (...)

4Muḥammad ʿAlī also transformed Egypt visually, contributing to the long tradition of dynastic architectural patronage. He commissioned countless palaces, including the Šubra Palace in 1809, the al‑Ǧawhara Palace in 1812, and the Ras al-Tīn Palace in 1817.7 He also commissioned two sebils to commemorate the deaths of his sons, one in the al-ʿAqādīn area (1820) for Ṭūsūn Pāshā (d. 1231/1816) and the other in the al-Naḥasīn area (1828) for Ismāʿīl Pāshā (d. 1238/1822–1823), both of whom are buried in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. Besides constructing his own Citadel in 1810, Muḥammad ʿAlī made significant additions to Qālʿat al-ǧabal (the Citadel of the Mountain), including the construction of Dār al-Ḍarb in 1812 and his monumental mosque (1830–1848).8 Many of the buildings commissioned by him share more than just a patron; they share a cosmopolitan identity reflected in an eclectic decorative scheme that blends neo‑classical motifs with Ottoman and local precedents. The same fusion of visual references was adopted at the royal cemetery of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, which was also attributed to Muḥammad ʿAlī but continued to be altered throughout his dynasty.9

  • 10 Kenny 1967, p. 51.
  • 11 Mubārak 1980, p. 246; the original text reads: “wa-dafn al mawtā al-ʾān fī ḫamsat maḥalāt ḫāriǧ al (...)

5From the nineteenth century onwards, five cemeteries had been established as the main burial grounds in Cairo. In al-ḫiṭaṭ al-Tawfīqiyya al-ǧadīda (Tawfīq’s New Districts), a twenty-volume repository of information on nineteenth-century Egypt, the Egyptian administrator and minister of education ʿAli Pāshā Mubārak (d. 1893)10 states that, “the dead are now buried in one of five places outside the city: the Cemetery of Sayyida Nafīsa, the Cemetery of al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī within which is the burial grounds of the royal family, the cemetery of Bāb al‑Wazīr, the Cemetery of al‑Muǧāwrīn and Qāytbāy, and the Cemetery of Bāb al‑Naṣr.”11

  • 12 Ibn ʿUthmān 1995, pp. 483–496.

6The grave of al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī had long been a holy site of baraka and, according to the many accounts of pious visitors cited by al-Muwaffaq Ibn ʿUthmān in Muršid alzuwwar (Guide of Visitors), a place of pilgrimage;12 however, according to several sources, the area of the shrine had allegedly not been established as the Southern Cemetery referred to by Mubārak until 608 (1211) when Sulṭān al‑Kāmil (r. 1218–1238) made significant additions to the tomb of al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī. As Maqrīzī states:

  • 13 al-Maqrīzī, al-Mawāʿiẓ, pp. 850–851; the original text reads: “iʿlam an al-nās fī al-qadīm inamā (...)

Know that in the old days people would only bury their dead between the Mosque of al-Fatḥ and the foot of al-Muqaṭṭam and they also took their dead to the great burial grounds… which is now known as the Qarāfa al‑Kubrā (Great Cemetery). When Sulṭān al‑Kāmil Muḥammad ibn al‑ʿAdil Abū Bakr ibn Ayyūb buried his son in the year 608 (1211) next to the Tomb of Imām Muḥammad bin Idrīs al‑Šāfʿī and he built a great dome over the tomb and connected water to it from the pond of al‑Ḥabash by means of an aqueduct, people moved their buildings from the Qarāfa al‑Kubrā to the area around al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī and established the burial grounds known as the Qarāfa al‑Suġrā (Lesser Cemetery), its buildings increased while the other’s (Great Cemetery) faded.13

  • 14 Creswell 1952, vol. 2, p. 64.
  • 15 Mulder 2006, p. 22.
  • 16 O’Kane 2016, p. 51; Behrens-Abouseif 1989, p. 85; Williams 1985, p. 57.
  • 17 According to Behrens-Abouseif, “the mausoleum of al-Imām al‑Shafiʿi continued to be highly venerate (...)

7Maqrīzī makes the mistake of saying son instead of mother, “for it was al‑Kāmil’s mother who died on 25 Ṣafar of this year (August 8, 1211), and it is her cenotaph which is the second most important in the shrine,”14 but the point being made in this supposition is that the urbanization of the Southern Cemetery was a consequence of al-Kāmil’s constructions. Mulder also confirms that earlier building activities were concentrated in the Qarāfa al‑Kubrā and that “when the Šāfʿī complex was built, that cemetery, as well as much of Fustat, still lay in ruins after being intentionally burned by the Fatimids in 1168.”15 Al‑Kāmil’s building activities in the Qarāfa may have institutionalized pilgrimages to the shrine and possibly attracted more buildings as Maqrīzī and Mulder claim; however, it must be acknowledged that it was Salaḥ al‑Dīn’s (r. 1174–1193) earlier construction of a well‑endowed madrasa on site that initially enhanced the area. The Ayyubid rulers purposely championed the saint and invested in his shrine with the agenda of asserting their own religious orthodoxy and reinstating Sunnism in Egypt by supplanting the cult of the ʿAlīd dead cultivated by their Fatimid predecessors.16 Al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī, who had always been an important religious figure, played a prominent political role for the Ayyubids and continued to be highly venerated during the Ottoman period.17

8Muḥammad ʿAlī, be it consciously or organically, followed in the footsteps of his precursors. The Ottoman governor chose to bury his family and possibly planned at first to also have himself buried within close proximity to the Imām, just like al‑Malik al‑Kāmil did before him, for baraka and prestige. The new presence of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā in the area along with Muḥammad ʿAlī’s efforts to provide the site with water supplies and accessibility brought with it another wave of urbanization, whereby the rich and the ruling family alike, keeping up with the trend of family madfans and grand shrines, commissioned new structures and radically changed the landscape of the cemetery.

  • 18 Al-Ibrashy 2005, p. 203.

9The location of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā and transformation of the Southern Cemetery not only seemingly aligned the rising power of Muḥammad ʿAlī with the Ayyubids but also visually dominated the Mamluks. As stated by al-Ibrashy on the patterns of patronage after the Ottoman conquest in 1517, the Mamluks were dispossessed of their lands and “only buildings and horticultural lands endowed as waqf were left untouched”.18 The buildings and lands that were not taken by the Ottomans were neglected, tactically showing that while the Ottomans rose and throve, the Mamluks fell and withered both visually and politically. This visual dominance indeed resonated with the people, including nineteenth-century travellers like John Stephens who wrote:

  • 19 Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, vol. 1, p. 42.

In this grand city of the dead stand the tombs of the Mamelukes, originally slaves from the foot of the Caucasus, then the lords and tyrants of Egypt, and now an exterminated race: the tombs are large, handsome buildings, with domes and minarets, the interior of the domes beautifully wrought, and windows of stained glass, all going to ruins. Here too, is the tomb of the pacha. Fallen, changed, completely revolutionized as Egypt is.19

10Whenever the tombs of the royal family are mentioned in contemporary sources, they are almost always discussed in topographical association with the mausoleum of al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī, underlining the sacred shrine’s significance within the landscape. For example, in a biography of Muḥammad ʿAlī that examines the many phases of his long life, a French historian describes the funeral of his elder son Ṭūsūn Pāshā (d. 1816) as follows:

  • 20 Marcel, Égypte, p. 43 ; the original texts states: “Les obsèques du prince furent célébrées avec be (...)

The prince’s funeral was celebrated with great pomp, numerous processions of military dignitaries and civilians accompanied the funerary convoy, and Muḥammad ʿAlī followed on foot the remains of his son until al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī, at the place intended for the burial of his family members. Abundant alms were distributed to the poor and the mosques. The tomb of Ṭūsūn is a domed construction, Arab in form.20

11This statement not only confirms the role of al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī’s tomb as a pivotal landmark and that a ritualistic funerary procession to the Southern Cemetery was already established at the time, but it also reveals that the royal cemetery was more than a mere burial ground when Ṭūsūn Pāshā died.

Architectural overview

12Before delving into careful considerations of how Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s significant location, patron, and chronology fit within the broader frameworks of architectural precedents and political intentions, a description of the royal cemetery independent of any contextual connotations is in order. Along al‑Imām al‑Layth Street currently stands the stone edifice of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. A projecting portal flanked by octagonal buttresses greets the visitor while the words Madāfin al‑ʿāʾila almālika (Cemetery of the Royal Family) engraved across the doorway’s lintel formally introduce the building (fig. 1). Upon entering the structure through its wooden doors, a visitor is welcomed into a domed vestibule (fig. 2.3) with symmetrical extensions used originally as units for the kitchen and other dependencies (fig. 2.4). Regardless of the direction in which a visitor chooses to take from the vestibule, the architecture guides them back to the same point—the arcade (fig. 2.5). Surmounted by a series of small domes, the arcade opens onto the courtyard on either side and concludes at an intermediate vestibule with a stone-carved portal (fig. 2.7). A rectangular hall with a wooden roof follows the stone portal, leading firstly to a separate tomb chamber (fig. 2.9) made exclusively for Šafaq Nūr (d. 1883), the mother of Khedive Tawfīq (r. 1879–1892) and, secondly, to a series of irregular dome chambers where the sons of Muḥammad ʿAlī are buried along with their wives, children, government officials, and other devoted servants.

13The architectural character of this funerary complex in its present state shifts in terms of circulation and decoration as a visitor moves within the building from one space to the next. Ḥūš al‑Bāšā can be conceptually partitioned into different spaces that are bound together by the same visual forms and spatial functions. The areas from the main entrance to the stone‑carved portal (fig. 2.2–7) serve as transitional spaces that not only bridge between the entrance and the dome chambers to lead the visitor, but also unify the interior and exterior spaces to incorporate the courtyard. The arcade leading up to the stone‑carved portal curates a striking visual juxtaposition as it captures within the frames of its columns a view of al-Imām al‑Šāfʿī’s dome on one side and a view of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s domes on the other.

14The stone-carved portal preceding the rectangular hall marks a shift in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s spatial sequence and decorative scheme (fig. 3). Elements of ornamentation throughout the transitional spaces leading up to this intermediate vestibule have been subtle, stone‑carved, and appear mainly as medallions of radiating star designs in the domes and on the ceilings of corridors; whereas the stone-carved portal, though of the same material, is more decorative, featuring bands of small leaves in the archivolts, scroll work in the spandrels and tympanum, engaged columns on the jambs, and a frame of interlacing geometric patterns with rosettes.

15Through the wooden doors of the stone-carved portal, a visitor enters a vast and colorful hall. Rectangular in shape and static in nature, the hall emerges as a staying space that invites the visitor to momentarily linger and take in the array of decorative motifs and diverse materials employed at different visual levels. Here, as opposed to the monotonous stone surfaces of the preceding transitional spaces, marble paneling is used for the dado, ashlar masonry for the upper walls, and wood panels for the flat roof. The roof, divided into a symmetrical grid with a large central medallion, is elaborately ornamented with panels of geometric designs carved in low relief and framed by patterns of interlacing foliage painted in red, green, gold, and dark blue. The palmettes and arabesques on the frames as well as the cornice are all intriguingly outlined with a slightly angled and faded darker color to create the optical illusion of a shadow, providing the painted forms with a sense of depth.

16Across this hall from the stone-carved portal is the doorway into the adjacent dome chamber belonging to Šafaq Nūr (fig. 4). Though the rectangular hall does not have an obvious specific function, it essentially operates as an anteroom for Šafaq Nūr’s dome chamber, simultaneously linking the chamber to and separating it from the adjacent spaces. The marble dado continues from the hall into the chamber; however, the design and the color range of the marble panelling within the chamber is much more elaborate. From the marble dado up to the muqarnas pendentives, vertical bands are painted in the same color scheme of the flat wooden roof in the rectangular hall with a white border between the bands and a stylized lotus motif adorning the top and bottom of each color segment. The vertical lines of the marble panelling on the lower walls, the color segments on the upper walls, and the triple-tiered tomb seem to collectively emphasize the height of Šafaq Nūr’s chamber and draw the viewer’s gaze upwards. The dome, which feels lightweight due to the series of windows lining the drum, is beautifully painted in gold with an interlacing knotted grid that outlines arabesque foliage. The placement of Šafaq Nūr’s cenotaph in the center of the dome chamber dictates the visitor’s movement within this space, directing them to circumambulate the cenotaph, view every side of it, then exit the room, and return to the rectangular hall in order to access the rest of the chambers.

  • 21 Ibrahim Ilhāmy Pāshā was the only son of ʿAbbās Ḥelmy I (r. 1848–1854), the grandson of Ṭūsūn Pāshā (...)

17An arched doorway on the northwestern wall of the rectangular hall connects the enclosure to a series of irregular dome chambers through a barrel vault. Unlike how Šafaq Nūr is buried alone, the rest of the royals are buried collectively in several tombs per chamber. Ṭūsūn Pāshā, Muḥammad ʿAlī’s elder son, shares his dome chamber (fig. 2.10) with Mahivech Qadīn Hānim (d. 1307/1889–1890), the wife of Ṭūsūn’s son ʿAbbās Ḥelmy I (r. 1848–1854) and the mother of his grandson Ibrahim Ilhāmy Pāshā (d. 1277/1861).21 The same chamber also includes several smaller, more deteriorated tombs that belong to ten children most of whom are Muḥammad ʿAlī’s own and had died between 1810 and 1829. A large bronze maqsura (fig. 5) surrounding Ṭūsūn’s cenotaph noticeably takes up more space than it should as it digs into the single‑step elevation and cuts into the soffits of the archways to carve out a place of its own, leaving very little space between the tombs and making it difficult to reach the spaces beyond.

  • 22 Ḫadīǧa Hānim (d. 1220/1805), Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s Daughter who is buried in chamber 12, has the earliest d (...)
  • 23 Caroline Williams remarks that “in an outer room, several to a cenotaph, lie the mamluks or retaine (...)

18Under the two shallow domes behind Ṭūsūn’s chamber, (fig. 2.11–12) lie more men, women, and children of the royal family, including ten of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s grandchildren as well as his brother‑in‑law, Muṣṭafā Bey (d. 1231/1816), who is buried next to his immediate family. Eight out of the ten grandchildren were from Ṭūsūn’s offspring and most of them were buried there before their father between 1805 and 1817.22 Buried amongst the royals in one of the shallow-domed chambers (fig. 2.11) are Gūlfīdān (d. 1228/1813), the servant of Muḥammad ʿAlī, and Šams Ǧahan (d. 1228/1813), the manumitted slave of Ṭūsūn Pāshā.23 Though the two shallow dome chambers lack any distinct stylistic character in their bare stone walls, basic pendentives, and plain white domes, the contrast between them and Ṭūsūn’s chamber is not pronounced, possibly because the domes are very different in structure but primarily because the oversized bronze muqarnas surrounding Ṭūsūn’s tomb along with the excessive number of cenotaphs next to it create such a spatial and visual divide between the chambers that a visitor is left quite literally without room to notice where the decoration on the walls ends.

19Across the barrel vault from Ṭūsūn’s dome chamber lies Ismāʿīl Pāshā (d. 1238/1822–1823), Muḥammad ʿAlī’s third son (fig. 2.13). In the adjacent dome chamber (fig. 2.14) is the wife of Muḥammad ʿAlī, Amīna Hānim (d. 1239/1823–1824), and Ismāʿīl Pāshā’s daughters, Ruqayya Hānim (d. 1239/1823) who shares a cenotaph with her sister Fātima Hānim (d. 1250/1834–1835). The juxtaposition of the chambers on either side of the barrel vault highlights the striking stylistic contrast between them. The chambers of Ṭūsūn and Ismāʿīl (fig. 2.10, 2.13) are structurally similar when it comes to the semi‑dome squinches underlined by cells of muqarnas in the zone of transition and the eight arched windows of stained glass fixed in stucco along the drum area; beyond those two elements, however, everything about these chambers is drastically different. While Ismāʿīl’s chamber has bare stone walls and a plain white dome, Ṭūsūn’s chamber is richly ornamented in massive acanthus scrolls with rose finials on the soffits of the arches, white marble dado fixed with slightly projecting niches of densely carved gold arabesques for the lower walls, imitation marble painted on plaster for the upper walls, acanthus medallions in gold and green between the semi‑dome squinches, thick acanthus foliate bands lining the drum and framing all eight of its windows, and a radial medallion of ribbon‑like rays expanding from the center of the green dome to the edges of the drum. This elaborate decorative scheme, which visibly breaks off once a visitor steps into the dome chambers of Ismāʿīl Pāshā and Amīna Hānim, is carried over by the barrel-vaulted space and continued throughout the remaining three large dome chambers.

20Twenty-nine more people are buried in the remaining chambers (fig. 2.15–17). Some of the most prominent family members buried in the first of the three chambers (fig. 2.15) are Fātima Hānim the daughter of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1248/1833), Zahraʾ ʿAʾiša Hānim the sister of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1246/1831), and three of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s great grandchildren from ʿAbbās Ḥelmy I. In the adjacent dome chamber (fig. 2.16), Ibrāhīm Pāshā (d. 1264/1848), Muḥammad ʿAlī’s eldest son, and Šams Hānim (d. 1266/1850), one of the wives of Muḥammad ʿAlī are buried amongst other royal figures. In the last dome chamber (fig. 2.17), ʿAbbās Ḥelmy I (d. 1270/1854) is buried with one of his wives, his daughter, and his only surviving son Ibrahim Ilhāmy Pāshā; joining them is Aḥmed Rifʿat Pāshā (d. 1273/1857–1858), Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s son, and his wife Šams Hānim (d. 1308/1890–1891).

  • 24 Such was the case with Mahivech Qadīn Hānim who died later in the nineteenth century but was still (...)

21This brief survey of who was buried when and where in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā has several purposes. Firstly, the survey indicates that servants and government officials were buried amongst the royals, women were buried with men and children, and immediate family members were spread out across the chambers; therefore, the royals were not buried within the cemetery according to any order be it one of political rank, gender, age, or even relation to other family members.24 Secondly, the survey highlights the chaotic reality of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s burial arrangement and justifies the shift in spatial flow a visitor experiences while walking through the irregular dome chambers, which cannot be fully grasped from the architectural plan. Because the cenotaphs were placed according to the available spaces or the lack thereof, all eight dome chambers became spatially congested despite being architecturally open; for example, the five vertically aligned dome chambers (fig. 2.10–14) open onto one another through archways without any restrictions in the floor plan except for the single‑step elevation defining the barrel‑vaulted space, yet, the line of sight and spatial flow are interrupted by the cenotaphs (fig. 6) so much so that a visitor would have to climb through the back window of Ṭūsūn’s bronze maqsura in order to reach the shallow dome chambers behind it. Furthermore, cenotaphs are jammed under the archways and in front of the built‑in benches under the windows, stripping away these staying and transitory spaces from their intended functions. Thirdly, and most importantly, this survey aids in the reconstruction of Ḥūš al-Bāšā’s complicated building chronology.

Building chronology

  • 25 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 109.

22Textual documentations on Ḥūš al‑Bāšā are few and far between. “The reign of Muḥammad ʿAlī in Egypt (1805–1848) is in general fairly documented, but the history of the arts and crafts during this period less so.”25 On the one hand, contemporary sources mention Ḥūš al‑Bāšā in passing, not addressing it as a dynastic mausoleum or an architectural entity but merely as the tombs of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s family. On the other hand, the minority of modern scholars who acknowledge the existence of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, mainly for its association with the Southern Cemetery, give incredibly brief and shallow overviews of the mausoleum. Therefore, this study will tread carefully as it examines all the relevant evidence in order to trace the mausoleum’s building sequence while refraining from portraying it through an unrealistic neatly comprehensive framework.

23Starting at the earliest possible historical point, Muḥammad Mahran suggests that the primary stage of the ḥūš originally dates back to the Mamluk period based on an account from Clot‑Bey’s Aperçu général sur l’Égypte, which claims:

  • 26 Clot-Bey, Aperçu général sur l’Égypte, vol. 2, pp. 555–556; the original text reads: “Dans le c (...)

In the cemetery of al-Imām al‑Šāfʿī in Cairo, a rectangular building was built during the Mamluk period near the large dome of the al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī Mosque. In this building his highness Muḥammad ʿAlī Pāshā built a grand shrine for his son Ṭūsūn who died of the plague upon his return from campaigns against the Wahabin in the lands of the Arabs, along with additional tombs for other members of the family who had answered the calling of their lord and died since he [Muḥammad ʿAlī] started ruling the Egyptian lands.26

  • 27 Diwan al-madāris, p. 99; Mahran 1998, p. 104; the original text reads: “anahu kān yaʿlū Bāb al-madf (...)

24Furthermore, Muḥammad Mahran cites a letter written by Ḥasan ʿAbd al‑Wahhāb from the archives of Dar al‑Wathāʾiq al-Qawmiyya, declaring “that above the mausoleum’s entrance, before its current renovations, there used to be a Turkish inscription panel made of marble and dated to the year 1223 (1808–1809)”.27

  • 28 Pückler-Muskau, Die Rückkehr, vol. 1, p. 224; Behrens-Abouseif 2001, p. 78; the original text reads (...)
  • 29 Coste, L’Architecture arabe, p. 46; the original text reads: “Dans le cimetière de l’Imam, au sud d (...)

25A German nobleman by the name of Hermann von Pückler‑Muskau, who was renowned as a landscape architect as well as an author of multiple books on travel, visited Cairo in 1837 and similarly noted that Muḥammad ʿAlī reused a Mamluk building as the burial grounds. In his account of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, the nobleman states: “it seems extremely strange to me that Muḥammad ʿAlī established his family tomb and his own tomb here in an old Mamluk grave, and only recently redecorated it. It seems that even in death he wants to defy his old enemies”.28 Pascal Coste, the accomplished engineer and Muḥammad ʿAlī’s architect, also noted in his texts on Ḥūš al‑Bāšā that “in the Imām Cemetery, south of the city of Cairo, there is a long single‑storey building with arcades, richly decorated, built during the Mamluk dynasty, near the great dome of Imām Šāfʿī”.29

  • 30 Ismāʿīl 1997, pp. 114–115.
  • 31 al-Jabarti, al-Tārīkh, vol. 2, pp. 539–540; the original text reads: “wa-ḏahabū bih ilā al-madfan (...)

26Ḥusām al-Dīn Ismāʿīl sides with the scholarly opinion that Muḥammad ʿAlī might have been working with a pre-existing structure based on stylistic reasons, such as the irregularity of the domes and the stucco decorations that have seemingly been plastered on the stone walls later;30 however, he ultimately dates the mausoleum to 1816 based on references to the building in contemporary sources, such as that of Marcel, the above‑mentioned French historian, which confirm the burial of Ṭūsūn Pāshā under an Arabic‑shaped dome at the royal cemetery near the mausoleum of al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī upon his death in 1816 and al-Jabarti’s account, which states that “they took him [Ṭūsūn] to the cemetery prepared for him by the Pāshā [Muḥammad ʿAlī] for himself and his dead.”31

27When discussing the year 1816 as a potential date for the attribution of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, the adjacent burial place of the Šarīf family should be taken into consideration. The neighboring mausoleum, which is also situated on Imām al-Layth Street, has a foundation inscription panel that mentions the royal cemetery. The square marble panel inscribed in thuluth translates as follows:

  • 32 Qurʾan 4:78; the original text reads: “bismillāh al-Raḥman al-raḥīm, qāl Allāh tabārak wa-taʿāllā a (...)

In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
said God, Exalted and Almighty, wherever you may be
death will overtake you even if you were in fortified towers
This mausoleum was established and renovated by the honorable Affandina
His Excellency Muḥammad Šarīf during his lifetime
Inside the ḥūš of the benefactor the Khedive next to Sayyid
al‑Imām al‑Šāfʿī and by it he gained from God
the continuous reward so date this
with the genuineness of the mighty lights.32

28A central cartouche on this panel contains the date 1231 (1815–1816). Though the inscriptions only mention a “ḥūš”, not necessarily a building, the word “bidāḫil” (inside) interestingly implies an enclosure that to some extent has spatially defined parameters.

  • 33 Ismāʿīl 1997, pp. 114–115; Darwish 2013, p. 145; Bakr 2011, p. 77; Muṣṭafā 2003, p. 46.
  • 34 Barakat 1991, p. 118.

29Similarly to Ḥusām al‑Dīn Ismāʿīl, Sawsan Darwish and Amany Bakr date the graveyard to 1815 in their scientific studies of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, but report “that Muḥammad ʿAlī bought this courtyard in 1805”; both scholars cite Fadya Muṣṭafā’s thesis as well as the 2002 edition of Caroline Williams’s Practical Guide for this information, but the former source does not provide a thread of evidence for this alleged purchase and the latter does not mention it altogether.33 In fact, Caroline Williams in every edition of the Practical Guide, like Muṣṭafā Barakat in alNuqūsh alkitābiyya (The Decorated Inscriptions), assigns Ḥūš al‑Bāšā the date of 1270 (1854) mentioned in the foundation inscription panel of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s dome chamber (fig. 2.16).34 The panel states in Persian the following:

  • 35 Mahran 1998, pp. 131–132; this foundation inscription as well as the stelae inscriptions on the cen (...)

In the reign of the Sulṭān of Sulṭāns of the age
and Emperor of Emperors of the world
ʿAbd al-Maǧid Ḫan, may God preserve his kingdom,
construction of this beautiful structure
for the sake of the heavenly dwelling of Ibrāhīm Pāshā;
his honorable sons
Aḥmad Pāshā, and Ismāʿīl Pāshā 
and his Excellency Muṣṭafā Pāshā, in the year 1270 (1854),
with the adornment of all, made it complete.
Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānī numbered it.35

30Certain scholars have considered this date to be the only solid evidence indicating when the building must have existed. But this date unfortunately does not determine when Ḥūš al-Bāšā was actually first built. If scholars are eager to settle for a terminus ante quem, then it might as well be the one provided by a decree from the Khedival court, dated 30 Šawwāl 1279 (July 27, 1853), which authorizes the removal of a wall in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā in order to place the oversized tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā in its current position. The decree declares:

  • 36 Diwan al-madāris, p. 99; the original text reads: “ṣadar al-amr bi-l-mūwāfqa ʿala al-ṭalab al-muqad (...)

The order was issued to approve the request submitted by their excellencies Aḥmad Pāshā, Ismāʿīl Pāshā, Muṣṭafā Bey, sons of the late Ibrāhīm Pāshā, regarding the permit to make an opening on the riverine [northern] wall to enter the installation of the late Pāshā’s tomb to its headquarters, provided that the demolition and construction costs are on the aforementioned princes.36

  • 37 The exterior rusticated masonry on the western wall of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s chamber shows a clear break (...)

31In light of this decree, the date 1270/1854 stated in the foundation inscription could arguably be referring to the completion of the chamber in terms of structural repairs after having removed the northern wall to place the oversized tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā as mentioned in the khedival decree.37 The word “tarkīb” used in the foundation inscription could very much mean a structure and not exclusively the installation of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb. Furthermore, the full adornment referred to by the words “zīnat tamām” could imply the completion of the chamber’s decoration as well, but that requires further examination.

32A watercolor drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum by the artist Antonio Schranz Jr., titled “Mausoleum of Mehmet Ali and his family at Cairo” and dated roughly to 1840–1850 (fig. 7), depicts Ḥūš al‑Bāšā from the position of where Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb currently is (fig. 2.16) looking back towards the adjacent chamber (fig. 2.15). The drawing is fairly simple and unnaturalistic, but it’s realistic rendering of certain architectural details provides the viewer with enough visual information to be able to effectively identify each of the illustrated tombs and evaluate the decorative status of the cemetery at the time this drawing was created. The artist captures the wall segments oddly protruding to either side of the doorway in the far back as well as the tension between the grilled window and the muqarnas of the squinch directly above it (fig. 8), all of which are minute but crucial visual features that verify the drawing’s realism and the artist’s location in the cemetery. Based on the motifs of the depicted cenotaphs, their relative location within each chamber, the color of the cartouches on the stele, and the design of the adorning headdresses, the tombs depicted on the left belong to ʿAlī son of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1252/1836–1837), Ibrāhīm Pāshā Yakan nephew of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1262/1845–1846), and Muḥammad Bey the Daftardar (d. 1249/1833–1834) (figs. 9a–c). The tomb depicted in the drawing behind the arch on the right is the shared cenotaph between Zahraʾ ʿAʾiša the daughter of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1246/1831) and Kulthūm the daughter of ʿAlī Ṭūsūn (d. 1278/1861) (fig. 10). After establishing the reliability of this representation, one is able to deduce that sometime between 1845 and approximately 1850, these dome chambers were not yet decorated in the style we see today (fig. 11).

  • 38 Due to the large number of drawings Coste had produced of Ḥūš al-Bāšā and the fact that some of the (...)
  • 39 Coste, L’Architecture arabe, p. 46, pl. LXIV; the original text in reference to this drawing reads: (...)

33Several other drawings were also dedicated to Ḥūš al‑Bāšā by Pascal Coste, five of which will be discussed here.38 These drawings should be considered with caution as a closer look quickly reveals many inconsistencies in the rendering of the cemetery’s architectural and decorative details. A plate numbered XXIX_LXIV and captioned “Vue des Tombeaux de la Famille de MohamedAlyPacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām’’ represents, according to Coste’s own comments, a view of Ṭūsūn’s dome chamber and the chambers behind it where Muṣṭafā Bey is buried with his family (figs. 12, 2.10–13).39 Various elements betray this representation of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā: a) Ṭūsūn’s chamber is domed, not flat‑roofed; b) Ṭūsūn’s chamber is followed by two more chambers, not three; c) the proportions of the cenotaphs to humans is highly exaggerated; d) antechambers and extensions connecting to the enclosure are depicted where none existed, indicated by the continuation of stone walls to the right of Ṭūsūn’s cenotaph and, again, where the figures are placed; and e) the elaborately carved forms of ornamentation along the soffits and the piers with engaged columns are entirely different from the cemetery’s present decorative scheme. Furthermore, Coste’s inconsistencies are not limited to his visual representation of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, for his comments on the cemetery are also problematic; for example, the architect remarks that Muḥammad ʿAlī forbade the placement of any inscriptions with the names of Allāh or verses from the Qur’an on the tombs for religious purposes, yet Ṭūsūn’s cenotaph is inscribed in marble with the šahāda (the Profession of Faith) and ayat alKursī (the Throne Verse).

34Another sketch titled “Ville du Caire: vue du tombeau de Toussoun Pacha, fils de Mohamed Ali Pacha, viceroi d’Égypte, bâti dans le cimetière de l’Imām” (MS 1310–fol. 70b) depicts the same view of the tombs in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā along with an architectural plan (MS 1310–fol. 70a) (fig. 13). This rendition was produced by Pascal Coste on September 25, 1822. A visual comparison between this rendition and that of the aforementioned plate XXIX_LXIV shows some major differences:

a. the adjacent space indicated next to Ṭūsūn’s cenotaph in plate XXIX_LXIV is represented, instead, as an arched niche in the sketch “Ville du Caire” as well as the architectural plan, which is consistent with the present-day structural layout of Ṭūsūn’s chamber;

b. the antechamber where Coste depicts figures emerging in plate XXIX_LXIV is blocked off in “Ville du Caire” by a stone wall with an entryway, which is also more true to Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s existing architecture and, specifically, the doorway that currently connects the series of irregular dome chambers to the later architectural additions;

c. the flat roofing that appears in plate XXIX_LXIV is not included in “Ville du Caire”, though fine traces of its outlines and hints of the cornices are discernible;

d. additional details depicted in the sketch “Ville du Caire”, such as the ceiling shaft with stalactites in the foreground and the two jug-like water dispensers across from the entryway are found neither in plate XXIX_LXIV nor in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā today;

e. a simplified version of the elaborate decorative scheme illustrated in plate XXIX_LXIV is only applied to half of the sketched structure represented in “Ville du Caire”.

  • 40 Personal communication with the Bibliothèque de Marseille on January 10, 2023.
  • 41 Coste, Mémoires d’un artiste, vol. 1, pp. 65, 79.
  • 42 Coste, Mémoires d’un artiste, vol. 1, pp. 44, 46.

35According to the Bibliothèque de Marseille, “Ville du Caire” is Coste’s very first original drawing of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.40 The architect executed this sketch in Egypt on the annotated date and, as he usually did for all his drawings, went over it in ink later after his return from the expedition.41 Upon his return to Paris from Egypt in 1823, Coste presented watercolor drawings to his fellow architect and member of the Institute, Jean-Nicolas Huyot, who encouraged him to finish his proofs on Arab Architecture with the objective of publishing his portfolio.42 Coste, indeed, completed his collection and successfully published it in 1837. This collection featured colored views of the Arab Architecture in Cairo, including the plate XXX which is essentially a revised copy of the original sketch “Ville du Caire” (fig. 13) and a colored version of the plate XXIX_LXIV (fig. 12). Several copies of plate XXIX_LXIV exist today with minor variations in shading and the marbling of the tombs, including plate LXIV (Res52347) and plate LXIV (Res52346) that were bequeathed to the Bibliothèque de Marseille by Coste (figs. 14–15).

  • 43 Behrens-Abouseif 2001, pp. 76–77.

36Behrens-Abouseif argues in her brief writings on Ḥūš al‑Bāšā that Coste’s representation of the cemetery in one of the many renditions of plate LXIV (fig. 15) is that of “the original structure”, claiming that the domes “must have been added at a later date” and that “the carved decoration has been replaced by painted stucco of the Turkish rococo style”.43 That is one theory, albeit fully founded upon the venerated reliability of Coste’s early 19th century drawing campaign. For clarification, Pascal Coste’s credibility is not being questioned here, but the inconsistencies in the architect’s work on Ḥūš al‑Bāšā must be addressed and acknowledged.

  • 44 Marcel, Égypte, p. 43.
  • 45 Brocchi, Giornale delle osservazioni, vol. 1, p. 200; the original text reads in Italian: “il cimit (...)

37Any attempt to reconcile the disconnect between Coste’s varying representations of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā and the cemetery as it appears today raises many questions. Firstly, how do we interpret the fourth chamber that is consistently depicted by Coste in the very background of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s every rendition and, yet, is neither included in his own architectural plan nor has it ever existed in reality? Secondly, how do we explain the extended spaces that appear in the later renditions of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā by Coste but not the earliest? Thirdly, If the chambers of the cemetery were initially flat roofed at the time Coste was drawing Ḥūš al‑Bāšā and the death of Ismāʿīl must have been what initiated the idea of roofing the funerary chambers with domes as Behrens‑Abouseif asserts, then what do we make of Marcel’s previously mentioned detailed account of Ṭūsūn’s funerary procession and his remark regarding Ṭūsūn’s tomb chamber being a domed construction?44 Similarly, what of the reliable account narrated by the contemporary eyewitness Giovanni Brocchi who encountered Ḥūš al‑Bāšā from a distance at the time of Ismāʿīl’s death in 1822 and stated that the Bāšā’s cemetery was distinguished from others by its size as well as its fairly high dome?45 Last but not least, in regard to the allegedly replaced decorative program, why would all three of the chambers be stripped of the extensive carvings depicted by Coste only to have Ṭūsūn’s chamber be exclusively refashioned in the Ottoman baroque style whilst the other chambers are left bare?

  • 46 Troelenberg 2015, p. 301.
  • 47 Coste, Mémoires d’un artiste, vol. 1, p. 66; the original texts reads: “je profitai de mes vacances (...)

38The number of sketches Coste produced of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā and the trajectory of changes he made to the same view of the tombs clearly show how the architect invested much of his time copying and recopying his own drawings, adding and modifying certain elements with every sketch, whereby the first rendition he executed in Egypt was relatively the truest representation of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā and the rest were reinterpretations of the funerary space. As Troelenberg notes in her discussions of Coste’s work, some of the architect’s drawings should be considered as “preparatory studies for new designs and not just documentation”, adding that “what we witness in Coste’s work is an early example of reinterpretation of heritage, pointing towards an actual reshaping of a new architectural style, of urban spaces, and thus of the modern image of Egypt”.46 Coste himself explains in his memoir that during the publishing process of his first completed collection with colored views depicting the Arab architecture in Cairo, Jean‑Nicolas Huyot directed the engravers in his absence then sent him the proofs so that he could “correct them and sign the final proof after the corrections”.47 Therefore, it could be argued that the original sketch “Ville du Caire” (MS 1310–fol. 70b) made on site in 1822 was quite possibly an initial study, while the different black and white renditions of plates LXIV (Res52346–47) were intermediate drafts of the most finalized corrected proofs in plate XXIX_LXIV as well as its watercolored version in plate XXX.

  • 48 For more on Coste’s abandoned designs of Muḥammad ʿAlī Mosque and a mosque in Alexandria, see Rabba (...)
  • 49 Coste, Mémoires d’un artiste, vol. 1, p. 43.

39It could also be argued that these drawings were of a commissioned design for Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s expansion and new decorative program, one proposed by Coste and rejected by Muḥammad ʿAlī like that of the Alabaster Mosque.48 However, if that were the case, Coste would have most likely mentioned this information in his memoirs as he did for other suspended projects, including one of a mosque in Alexandria, or referred to the drawings as “projects” in the captions as he did with other unrealized designs.49

  • 50 Coste, L’Architecture arabe, p. 46.

40The purpose of critically examining Pascal Coste’s work on the royal cemetery is not, by any means, to undermine the architect’s significant contributions to the history of Islamic architecture, but, rather, to understand the curious case of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s visual transformation by utilizing every available resource. Despite the discrepancies, Coste shares some intriguing information that makes his work on Ḥūš al‑Bāšā difficult to cast aside altogether, including his notes on how the royal cemetery was a building constructed during the Mamluk period and that all the tombs were executed in marble by Greek and Armenian sculptors from Constantinople.50 Nevertheless, the facts remain that Coste’s architectural plan of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā is inconsistent with his renditions of the chambers, his renditions of the chambers are inconsistent with one another, and both his textual as well as visual representations of the cemetery are all together inconsistent with Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s realistic structural, decorative, and epigraphic details.

Travel accounts: comments and criticisms

41Similar to paintings and drawings, travel accounts can be methodologically problematic as they range from relatively accurate to whimsical; nevertheless, they become of great importance for understanding the spatial layout and visual transformation of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. Nineteenth‑century travelers enable us to fill scholarly gaps, which modern researchers have failed to bridge with what little information they have, by providing us with the opportunity to virtually go back in time and experience spaces as they were or, at the very least, as they seemed to be in their original historical contexts. Acknowledging the limitations set by a travel account’s distorted perceptions, this study will situate itself on the margins of these anecdotes in the sense that it will function mainly as a commentary to first, understand the knowledge given by the text and second, cross-reference this information in order to reach plausible conclusions regarding the building chronology of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

  • 51 Lushington, Narrative of a Journey, p. 137.

42One of the earliest accounts that mention Ḥūš al‑Bāšā was by a woman called Sarah Lushington who visited the mausoleum in 1827. In her book, the traveler wrote: “among the curiosities of Cairo is the cemetery of the Pasha’s family. It is a vaulted stone building, consisting of five domes, under which, in splendid marble tombs, ornamented with painting and gold, repose the bodies of the Pasha’s two sons, Tussoon and Ismael Pasha. Here also is buried Mohammad Ali’s first and favorite wife, the mother of the present Ibrahim Pasha”.51 It is unclear from this account whether the five domes Lushington refers to are, in addition to the three domes of Ṭūsūn, Ismāʿīl and Amīna (fig. 2.10, 2.13–14) are the two shallow domes behind Ṭūsūn’s chamber (fig. 2.11–12) or the domes under which Ibrāhīm Pāshā was buried later (fig. 2.15–16). The same dilemma faces the account narrated by St. John, who visited the royal cemetery in 1834 and described his experience as follows:

  • 52 St. John, Egypt and Mohammed Ali, pp. 135–136.

On reaching the enclosed space in which stood the tombs of the Pasha’s family, we found the keeper of the grounds seated beside an elegant mausoleum, with a stone canopy supported on four columns. Of him we asked and obtained permission to enter. Over the graves an edifice divided into several apartments has been erected […] The tomb of Toussoun Pasha, an ardent young man, who is said to have resembled Raphael in the manner of his death, was covered with withered flowers. That of his mother occupied, not many paces distant, the most distinguished place; and those of the other members of the family lay ranged around elegantly, tasteful, melancholy, in the midst of their golden ornaments.52

43Since both Lushington and St. John highlight only the prominent tombs of Ṭūsūn, Ismāʿīl, and Amīna amongst less significant others; the five domes or “several apartments” referred to in the texts could possibly be narrowed down to the contiguous chambers flanking the barrel vault (fig. 2.10–14). However, the two adjacent domes (fig. 2.15–16) were most likely already constructed at the time St. John had visited the cemetery because four people who are currently buried there died before 1834, including Fātima the daughter of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1248/1833) and Zahraʾ ʿAʾiša Hānim the sister of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1246/1831), and their elaborate cenotaphs would have unlikely been left in the outdoors. Later in 1838, Stephens gives a more comprehensible description of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā:

  • 53 Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, vol. 1, p. 42.

The tomb of the pacha is called the greatest structure of modern Egypt. It is a large stone building, with several domes, strongly but coarsely made. The interior, still, solemn, and imposing, is divided into two chambers; in the first, in a conspicuous situation, is the body of his favorite wife, and around those of the other members of his family; in the other chamber several tombs, covered with large and valuable cashmere shawls; several place yet unoccupied, and in one corner a large vacant place, reserved for the pacha himself. Both apartments are carpeted, and illuminated with lamps, with divans in the recesses, and little wicker chairs for the different members of the family who come to mourn and pray.53

44The American traveler divides the royal cemetery into two separate areas: the dome chambers flanking the barrel vault (fig. 2.10–14) and the dome chambers adjacent to them (fig. 2.15–16). It is unclear whether or not ʿAbbās Pāshā’s dome chamber (fig. 2.17) was already built at the time, but considering the fact that several places were still unoccupied as Stephens notes, there may not have been the need to build another chamber just yet; Wilde’s account may shed more light on this matter:

  • 54 Wilde, Narrative of a Voyage, pp. 217–218.

We were conducted into a well-lit chamber, which strange to say, was in the form of a cross; in the center of this was a row of tombs of white marble and constructed in the usual Turkish style […] Several splendid chandeliers hung from the arched roof […] Many of the tombs were strewn with flowers, not yet withered, and the apartment was well lighted by windows in European style, furnished with splendid pink silken curtains. At one end of the chamber is a space left for his highness.54

  • 55 Goupil-Fesquet, Vernet, Voyage d’Horace Vernet, p. 102; the original text reads: “L’intérieur en es (...)

45Theoretically, if the stone canopy mentioned by St. John was situated at the southern end of the barrel vault where the rectangular hall was added much later and ʿAbbās Pāshā’s dome chamber was not yet built at the time Wilde had visited Cairo in 1838, then the overall plan of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā would have seemingly had, through the eyes of a visitor at the very least, a cross‑like shape (fig. 16). Moreover, the style of the windows Wilde makes note of in his account must simply be referring to the design of stained glass fixed in stucco that appear in Schranz’s painting and not the full‑fledged European decoration Ḥūš al‑Bāšā presents today, because later in 1839, the traveler Goupil‑Fesquet confirms that the interiors of the cemetery were very simple with only sumptuous carpets and some gilding on the marble ornaments of the sepulchers for decoration.55 Both Goupil‑Fesquet’s account and Schranz’s painting verify that the elaborate westernized decorations of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā were added post 1845.

  • 56 Wiet 1959, p. 262; the original text reads: “Tous les tombeaux de la famille de Mohammed Ali sont d (...)

46The first to comment on or, rather, criticize an extensive program of ornamentation at the royal cemetery was Gustave Flaubert who travelled to Cairo and other parts of the Ottoman Empire in the company of Maxime du Camp sometime between 1849 and 1851. Flaubert did not hold back when he said, “all the tombs of the family of Muḥammad ʿAlī are of a deplorable taste, rococo, canovian, Euro‑oriental, paintings and cabaret garlands; and above them are small ballroom chandeliers”.56 Du Camp was equally, if not more, displeased with the new style at Ḥūš al‑Bāšā:

  • 57 Du Camp, Le Nil, p. 56; the original text reads: “Sous une coupole constantinopolitaine, dans une c (...)

Under a Constantinopolitan dome, in a very large room, built of very precious materials, but so ill‑disposed that they become ugly, we have gathered all that can give an idea of the bad taste of Turks, the yellow, blue, red stelae, upset with golden foliage, topped with impossible turbans and improbable tarbouches, stand on illuminated sepulchers of tones so garish and so disparate, that they make eyes blink and irritate ears like the wrong notes of a flageolet blown by a child.57

47These harsh accounts report that clearly certain travelers were not fond of the newly adopted quasi‑European style at Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, but also, more importantly, that the visual transformation of the mausoleum’s decorative repertoire had already started by the time these two Frenchmen visited Cairo in the mid‑nineteenth century.

48While the lines between earlier phases of building are blurred, the dates and patrons of later architectural additions to Ḥūš al‑Bāšā are fortunately clear. The dome chamber belonging solely to Šafaq Nūr has a foundation inscription above its doorway (fig. 17), attributing the chamber to the patronage of Khedive Tawfīq and the date to 1883–1884. In four cartouches of Arabic, the inscription proclaims:

  • 58 The original text reads: “ḫdiwīnā Tawfīq ānšaʾ bi-birrihi maqāmā bihi al-raḥmāt lāḥ ḍīāʾūha l-wālid (...)

Our Khedive Tawfīq created with his reverence
a tomb within which mercy shines bright
for his late mother whose date of death was:
Šafaq Nūr in the house of bliss is her delight. 1301.58

  • 59 Mahran 1998, p. 114.
  • 60 Al-Ibrashy 2005, p. 194.

49Following the constructions of Khedive Tawfīq, additions were made during the reign of King Farūq (r. 1936–1952), marking the most recent stage of building and the completion of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā (fig. 2.1–7).59 Ibrashy verifies that “Ḥūš al‑Bāšā continued to be a popular place of burial and in 1883–1884, a new dome and an arcaded corridor leading to it were added, then its façade and entrance were rebuilt in the second quarter of the twentieth century”.60

  • 61 For detailed surveys of Ottoman architecture in Cairo from the early sixteenth century to the eight (...)
  • 62 According to Karim and El-Mahy architecture commissioned during the eighteenth century in Egypt wer (...)

50The substantial lack of documentary materials poses a great challenge to the aim of dating the mausoleum’s layout, specifically that of the irregular domed chambers (fig. 2.10–17), but a plausible timeline for the mausoleum’s building phases has been reconstructed here by systematically cross‑referencing primary sources with travel accounts and a survey of all those buried in the cemetery. The reconstruction of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s fragmented historical narrative elucidates how and why the royal cemetery’s plan does not fit within the architectural patterns and precedents detected by scholars of Ottoman architecture in Cairo.61 The plan of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā does not follow the usual Ottoman funerary architectural layout, which mainly consisted of a domed mausoleum with a mihrab and an attached prayer area as is the case for the Mausoleum of ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Šaʿranī (1565), the Mausoleum of ʿAbd al‑Raʾūf al‑Munāwī (1621), the Mosque of ʿUqba ibn ʿAmir (1655), and the Mosque of ʿAbidi Bey (1660).62

51The cemetery is also not an Ottoman continuation of any Mamluk plan. For example, Ḥūš al‑Bāšā neither follows the mosques of Maḥmūd Pāshā (1567) and Alṭī Barmak (1621–1622, 1711) that employ the plan of the Sulṭān Ḥasan Complex (1356–1363) by placing the mausoleum behind the qibla wall of a prayer area, nor does it follow the Mosque of Murad Pāshā (1578) that adopts the funerary Khanqah plan introduced by the complex of al‑Ašraf Barsbāy (1432). Ḥūš al‑Bāšā clearly belongs neither to the Imperial nor the local category of architectural plans, and functions exclusively as an enclosed burial ground. It was simply unplanned and, consequently, unprecedented.

52To summarize the building chronology of Ḥūš al-Bāšā, some construction at the cemetery first happened in 1808–1809 according to the allegedly missing foundation inscription mentioned in a documented letter from the archives of Dar al‑Wathāʾiq al‑Qawmiyya. The mausoleum could have primarily consisted of the two shallow‑domed chambers (fig. 2.11–12), considering: a) the absence of any decoration; b) the accounts relayed by Clot Bey, Coste, and Pückler‑Muskau of a pre‑existing rectangular building with arcades; and, c) the fact that these two chambers contain the earliest tomb dating to 1805. It is confirmed that by 1816, Ṭūsūn’s dome chamber was constructed (fig. 2.10), but it is unclear whether the adjacent domes of his brother Ismāʿīl and his mother Amīna were also built by then or added later (fig. 2.13–14). Ismāʿīl’s chamber would have certainly been built by his death in 1822 as depicted by Coste in his architectural plan of the mausoleum. Similarly, the adjacent chamber belonging to Amīna Hānim and Ruqayya Hānim would have been added sometime before 1823 considering both of their death dates. The chamber of Ibrāhīm Pāshā and the one connected to it (fig. 2.15–16) would have been built at the same time, as early as 1831 and most certainly prior to 1838. Meanwhile, the last dome chamber that belongs to ʿAbbās Pāshā (fig. 2.17) would have been added later to the mausoleum by 1851 because that is when his wife, Hamdim Qadīn, died and was buried there. The elaborate decorative program of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā was applied in the mid-nineteenth century, based on Antonio Schranz Jr.’s realistic visual representation of the cemetery, and repaired later by Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s sons after removing a wall in their father’s chamber in 1854.

Categories of ornamentation

  • 63 Flood 2009, p. 262; Bhabha 2004, p. 55.
  • 64 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 114.

53The historical narrative of Ḥūš al-Bāšā is, first and foremost, one of evolution. This royal cemetery is arguably a product of, what Flood would describe as, “a dynamic condition in which signs and meanings were appropriated, translated, re-historicized, and read anew”.63 The eclectic nature of the mausoleum’s decorative repertoire has led many scholars to label Ḥūš al‑Bāšā as a “strange building”, adding that it “belongs neither to Mamluk funerary architecture, nor the Turkish Ottoman tradition”,64 without acknowledging that it is both and much more. Moving forward, this study will survey the various categories of ornamentation used in the royal cemetery in order to explore their sources of inspiration, focusing on two chief categories: inscriptions and floral elements. An attempt at a one‑to‑one mapping of the mausoleum’s various forms of floral elements to their original models would be unrealistic; nevertheless, juxtaposing styles of ornamentation with their Ottoman counterparts, if possible, will allow us to understand whether the creative process at Ḥūš al‑Bāšā was one of artistic inspiration or mere imitation. In this process of mediating between notions of aesthetic appropriation and cultural continuity, the definition of what constituted the Ottoman stylistic tradition during the nineteenth century will be revised and expanded.

54The decorative sobriety of Ḥūš al-Bāšā’s façade leaves a visitor unprepared for the enchanted space within, where under the filtered lights shining through stained glass, the air is filled with mystery and the stones unravel their history (fig. 11). Marble tombs stand side by side, towering over the living, as markers of where the dead lie below and embodiments of who they were in this life. Gerard de Nerval once likened the cemetery of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā to a city; the French writer explains:

  • 65 Wiet 1959, p. 262; the original text reads: “Il y a là plus de soixante tombes, grandes et petites, (...)

There are more than sixty graves, large and small, new for the most, and composed of white marble cenotaphs. Each of these cenotaphs is surmounted either by a turban or a woman’s headdress, which gives all Turkish tombs a character of funereal reality; it seems that one walking through a petrified crowd. The most important of these tombs are draped in rich fabrics and wear turbans of silk and cashmere: the illusion is even more poignant.65

  • 66 Williams 2008, p. 126.

55The distinctive decorative system of coiffures and head-covering adorning the tombs represent each of the buried figures according to their gender and rank. The side of the deceased’s head is usually marked by a stele surmounted by turbans or fezzes for the men and vases or coronets for the women. Further distinctions are made amongst the women: braids in relief signify a royal mother, such as Mahivech Qadīn Hānim, the mother of Ibrahim Ilhāmy Pāshā (fig. 18a); painted braids denote a royal wife, such as Amīna Hānim (d. 1281/1864–1865), the daughter of Ismāʿīl Pāshā (fig. 18b); and “a coil of loosely caught hair, often sprinkled with golden tears, indicates a virgin princess”,66 such as Fātima Hānim, the daughter of Muḥammad ʿAlī (fig. 18c). The identities of the dead are fully revealed and formally introduced through the inscriptions engraved on the tombstones.

Inscriptions

56With the appropriate absence of figural decoration, epigraphy plays a crucial role in the iconography of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā as both a key source of information and a chief element of ornamentation. The various inscriptions employed at the royal cemetery reveal information about the history of the mausoleum, the identities of the dead buried within it, and the Islamic ideologies of the patrons who commissioned it.

57The Day of Judgement is the first epigraphic theme a visitor confronts at Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. Visible from afar, prior to entering the mausoleum, verses from surat al-Ġāšīa line the drum of the dome above the entrance vestibule (fig. 19). Four lines, two Qurʾanic verses each, state:

  • 67 Qurʾan 88:8-10.

on that Day faces will be glowing with bliss, pleased with their striving
in an exalted Garden, where no idle talk will be heard
in it will be a running spring, along with thrones raised high
and goblets set at hand, and cushions lined up.67

58In this context, a parallel is established between those buried in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā and the ones referred to in these verses, as opposed to those mentioned in the preceding verses whose faces will be downcast on that Day, exhausted, overburdened, and left to drink from a scalding spring. Upon reading the various descriptions of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā written by nineteenth-century travelers, one wonders if these verses are not just a promise to the dead royals but also a projection of what the visitor will see upon entering the cemetery.

  • 68 Wilde, Narrative of a Voyage, p. 217.
  • 69 Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, vol. 1, p. 42.
  • 70 Cruzon, Visits to Monasteries, p. 50.
  • 71 Fromentin, Voyage en Égypte, p. 143: the original text reads: “des lettrés ayant sur un pupitre de (...)

59The parallel drawn between the promised afterlife and the royal cemetery is made clear by many accounts, such as those which make note of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s gardens, interiors, and ambiance. In 1838, Wilde noted that “a handsome courtyard, adorned with gardens and well‑grown trees, surrounded the building”.68 In very few words, Stephens captures Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s atmosphere when he speaks of “the interior, still, solemn, and imposing”; the American traveler also adds that the chambers were “carpeted, and illuminated with lamps, with divans in recesses”.69 Confirming Stephens’s descriptions, another account also mentions that “there are divans with cushions for the use of those who come to mourn over their departed relatives”.70 Last but not least, Fromentin reports that, amidst the silence of the mausoleum, scholars with volumes of the Qurʾan “meditate gravely or read in an undertone; there are those who murmur prayers”.71

  • 72 Wilde, Narrative of a Voyage, p. 218.

60The selected Qurʾanic verses appropriately allude to thrones raised high similar to the altar‑like shrines of the dead royals (fig. 4), goblets set at hand like the vases placed by their heads, cushions lined up such as those in the window niches, and a silence broken only by the Qurʾanic recitation of the pious and the prayers of the faithful. Interestingly, had the inscription continued, the next Qurʾanic verse would have mentioned how “silken carpets spread,” just as Wilde described how “the floor between the tombs was covered with the most costly Persian carpets, in which we sank literally ankle deep”.72

  • 73 Qurʾan 55:26–27.

61Apart from the exterior of the entrance dome, Qurʾanic inscriptions in the royal cemetery are henceforth limited to the surfaces of cenotaphs. Known in Islam for its spiritual power to protect from all evil, ayat alKursī (the Throne Verse) is the most repeated religious inscription used in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. The favored Qurʾanic verse is engraved on many of the tombs, including those of Ismāʿīl Pāshā, Ṭūsūn Pāshā, and his mother, Amīna Hānim. The second most quoted Qurʾanic verses on the tombs are of surat al‑Raḥman, which declares that “every being on earth is bound to perish and only your Lord Himself, full of Majesty and Honour, will remain”.73

62The Islamic conviction that God alone possesses immortality is further emphasized in the non-Qurʾanic inscriptions on tombstones. For example, the Turkish inscriptions on the tombstone of Ruqayya Hānim, the daughter of Ismāʿīl Pāshā, state:

He remains
Where is Haǧar? Where is Sara? Where is Mariam? Where is Balqis [the Queen of Šeba]?
Of course those who honor this guest house [earth] leave
This is how life in this world comes to an end, and [only] He is Alive and He remains.

63The text goes on to explain how the world is at its best sorrowful and that its only blessing is salvation from all evil. Here, Ruqayya is compared to the most powerful and pious women in Islam only to show that in the end, they all died. Similarly, the inscriptions on Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb ask in Persian, “where is King Sulaymān now?” The point of these rhetorical questions is to assert that nobody evades death; no matter how mighty or important someone is, death will always prevail.

64While religious inscriptions are confined to the drum of the entrance dome and the surfaces of tombs, foundation inscription panels occupy customary zones on the lintels and dado. Besides the missing foundation inscription panel that allegedly used to be above the main entrance of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, the cemetery has a total of two other foundation inscriptions that belong explicitly to the chambers of Šafaq Nūr and Ibrāhīm Pāshā.

  • 74 Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānī was one of the greatest calligraphers of the Qajar era, who gained fame across the (...)

65The first panel occupies the lintel above the doorway to Šafaq Nūr’s tomb chamber. This foundation inscription, in addition to mentioning the names of the patron and the deceased, states the names of an architect and a “numerologist” or calligrapher; between the cartouches, in fine writing, the inscribed words declare in Arabic that the dome chamber’s architect (muhandisha) is Muḥammad Raǧāʾī and that its “numerologist” (raqimahu) is Ḥusnī (fig. 17). Muḥammad Mahran identifies the second craftsman simply as a calligrapher (ḫaṭāṭ), which is plausible considering that the name of the craftsman inscribed on the second foundation inscription panel belonging to Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb chamber is that of the celebrated calligrapher Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānī (d. 1294) and, yet, Sanglāḫ is also referred to in the inscriptions as raqimahu.74

66The precise role of the second craftsman becomes less of a mystery after taking another look at the last two cartouches of Šafaq Nūr’s inscription panel:

for his late mother whose date of death started
Šafaq Nūr in the house of bliss is her delight. 1301 (1883–1884).

  • 75 The early history of the chronogram has not been fully deciphered; however, it is certain that this (...)
  • 76 Formed by adding the numerical values of the letters based on the abjad system.

67The last cartouche is, in fact, a chronogram that denotes the Hiǧrī year in which the commemorated chamber was built. Foundation chronograms were often used by the Ottomans on madrasas, tombs, as well as sebils and are usually signified in the text by different forms of the word tarīḫ.75 Here, the chronogram of “badā Šafaq Nūr fī alnaʿīm hanaʾūhā” yields the noted date of 1301. The word raqimahu in this context, then, most likely refers to the art of recording dates by composing chronograms.76

  • 77 On the other hand, Kanda argues that the targeted audiences of chronograms were most likely the vis (...)
  • 78 Masarwa 2017, p. 177.
  • 79 Bierman 1991, p. 69.

68Since the date in Šafaq Nūr’s foundation inscription is already stated numerically, one cannot help but ask: what was the purpose of using a chronogram in this case? Clearly the person being challenged here is the poet, rather than the reader, for passersby are neither required nor expected to understand the content disguised in a chronogram.77 Masarwa explains that “in a period of transition, like that from Mamluk to Ottoman rule, on the one hand one might expect at least a disturbance in the local and conventionalized communication systems, on the other hand an energetic imperial activity of establishing and adjusting new communication channels (i.e. in order to create a new universal language of power and order)”.78 Bierman similarly argues that chronograms appearing in the architectural fabric of a city functioned as symbols of Ottomanization, “indexing in their presence and their content, significant shifts in the urban order”.79 Although a chronogram is not a universal sign of Ottomanization, it does locally function as such. Most of the documented epigraphic chronograms in Cairo have been attributed to buildings of the Ottoman period, such as the mausoleums of al‑Ǧūlšanī (1519–1525) and Sādat al‑Mālikīyya (1701–1702), the sebils of Ḥasan Aġa Koklian (1694–1695) and Sulṭān Muṣṭafā III (1758), and the Mosques of Dāwūd Pāshā (1548), Yūsuf Ǧorbaǧi (1763), and Abū al‑Ḏahab (1774). Many chronograms were also added to earlier buildings, specifically during the extensive renovations and restorations done by ʿAbd al‑Raḥman Katḫuda. Therefore, chronograms in Cairo were essentially a form of articulated dominance by the Ottomans.

69Displaying power was intrinsic to the Ottomans both in life and in death as indicated by the repeated use of chronograms in the royal tombs of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, including those of ʿAbbās Pāshā I, Ilhāmy Pāshā, and Ibrāhīm Pāshā. The stele crowning ʿAbbās Pāshā I’s tomb presents separate cartouches containing lines of Ottoman poetry, the last few of which state:

  • 80 ʿAbd Allāh, ʿAbd al-Sattār ʿUthmān 2004, pp. 313–314.

his reign was short, but the truth was
that he had revived Egypt with his justice and benevolence
with grief his date of death was recorded
may the Garden of Eden be a place for ʿAbbās Pāshā. 127080

  • 81 Masarwa 2017, p. 178.

70The numerical value of this poem’s last line adds up to precisely 1270 (1854), once again communicating the noted date. Chronograms like this exemplify the interlaced relationship between form and function, whereby “on the one hand the stone may speak, while on the other hand a poem may be petrified”.81

71Though Ḥūš al-Bāšā’s other foundation inscription panel belonging to Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s dome chamber does not contain any chronograms like that of Šafaq Nūr’s, the tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā does—one on each stele (fig. 20). The eastern stele narrates a poem in Arabic that compares Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb to a holy site of pilgrimage, a garden with a delightful aroma, an elevated place with a river running beneath it, and a heaven where wishes come true. The inscriptions continue to state that Ibrāhīm Pāshā had prayed to God for more blessings and was thus flooded with wine and welcomed by maidens with gorgeous eyes. The last two cartouches state:

  • 82 The original Arabic inscription reads: “wa-daʿāh Riḍwān bušrāk ʾārakh zuīnat li-l-qudūm janna ʿadn

the gatekeeper of heaven has called upon you with good news in the date
for your presence the heaven of Eden was decorated.82

72The inscription clearly indicates that the last line of the poem ought to be a chronogram, but the number 854 that it denotes is inconsistent with the dates cited in other literary and epigraphical sources, including the date provided by the other stele. The Turkish inscriptions on the western stele associate Ibrāhīm Pāshā with Ibrāhīm “the builder of God’s House”, describe his bravery on the battlefield, and state that, despite his unmatched glory, time was not in his favor because he only governed Egypt for seventy‑one days and departed when he was sixty years old on the fifteenth of Ḏul‑Ḥiǧa. The last two cartouches of the poem proclaim:

I have said of this perfect person the history in full
The Garden of Eden will be Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s place.

73Here, the chronogrammatic last line offers the date 1264 (1848), which is the official date of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s death; nevertheless, this date is different from the ones engraved on the cenotaph by Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānī and mentioned in the foundation inscription panel. The calligrapher repeatedly states in small cartouches engraved on every side of the cenotaph the date 1267 (1850–1851) under his name, which possibly indicated the completion of this masterpiece of a cenotaph that he designed and executed. The foundation inscription panel mentions the date 1270 (1854), which, as previously discussed, most likely refers to the installation of the tomb as well as the completion of the chamber’s structural and decorative repairs after the northern wall was removed in 1853.

  • 83 Turkish had been used orally in the Egyptian scene and mainly as a spoken language at the court of (...)
  • 84 O’Kane 2009, p. 9.

74While Arabic and Turkish inscriptions take the lead in adorning Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb, Persian plays a supporting role as it alternates with Arabic in the small cartouches surrounding each panel. This correlation between the three languages accurately reflects the trilingual nature of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s epigraphic program, whereby Arabic and Turkish were more prominently used, and Persian was limited to the foundation inscription of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s dome chamber as well as a few lines engraved on the bronze maqsura surrounding Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s cenotaph. It appears that there is not a significant preference for either Arabic or Turkish; Arabic was used as early on as Ḫadīǧa Hānim’s tomb (d. 1805) and as late as the tomb of Šafaq Nūr (d. 1883–1884), while Turkish was used as early as Prince Muṣṭafā’s tomb (d. 1815) and as late as the tomb of Ḫalīl Pāshā Yakan (d. 1892–1893). Perhaps half a century is not a sufficient time span to detect a linguistic fluctuation, but, in general, Turkish dominated the epigraphic program of the royal cemetery. The prominent use of Turkish in the inscriptions, comparable to the conscious effort of integrating chronograms, catered to the prestige and the visually manifested power of the Ottoman Empire.83 As O’Kane explains, “with the increasing confidence of the Ottoman state as it colonized successive Arab lands from the early sixteenth century onwards, the use of Turkish increases dramatically, and Persian correspondingly declines”.84 The incorporation of three different languages in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s epigraphic program, as exemplified by the tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā, reflects the cosmopolitan identity of the late Ottoman artistic milieu.

  • 85 Personal communication on November 9, 2020.

75The magnificent tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā may not have been originally intended for him. In a conversation with amir ʿAbbās Ḥilmi, grandson of Khedive ʿAbbās Ḥilmi II of Egypt and the last of the Ottoman royals in Cairo, he mentioned that the tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā was initially made for Muḥammad ʿAlī.85 This piece of information may be true since Ibrāhīm Pāshā had suddenly died only ten months earlier than his father and was buried in a large space at the end of what is presumed to be one of the five main dome chambers. This space, which would have been deliberately left empty in the crowded mausoleum, is in the corner that many nineteenth-century travelers had speculated would be the position reserved for Muḥammad ʿAlī’s tomb. Furthermore, Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s cenotaph is clearly much more extravagant than any other in the royal cemetery, including those of his brothers. As noted by Eugène Fromentin, who travelled to Cairo in 1869 and likened Ḥūš al‑Bāšā to the Royal Chapel of Saint Denis:

  • 86 Fromentin, Voyage en Égypte, pp. 142–143; the original text reads: “La nécropole de Méhémet-Ali vau (...)

ʿAbbās is there under a tomb in bad taste. There are children in their tombs, smaller and less decorated. That of Ibrāhīm Pāshā alone is beautiful and makes you very solemn, perhaps because of the name of the deceased. It has the consecrated form, raised on successive degrees or stages, in the shape of an altar, all in marble, finely, surprisingly, very heavily chiseled in high relief. All the background is painted a dark indigo blue. The intricate work of the arabesques, the numbers, the Arabic characters with which it is loaded from top to bottom, are gilded with a very thick gold. It looks like carved wood without much taste, but with a very skillful hand. A green curtain, raised at the angles, serves as a canopy, and two large war banners, in crimson and green silk, edged and embroidered with faded gold, form on each side a noble and martial canopy.86

  • 87 Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānīī’s signature can be found on the ablution fountain of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s mosque along (...)

76The skillful hand Fromentin refers to is that of Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānī (d. 1294), the same Iranian calligrapher from Tabriz who worked for Muḥammad ʿAlī at his Mosque in the Citadel,87 suggesting another reason why this tomb could have been initially designed for the Khedive.

  • 88 Ekhtiar 2008.
  • 89 Ersoy 2015, p. 202.

77Sanglāḫ was known, and even criticized, for his over-florid style that wove Arabic, Persian, and Turkish both in his stone carving and his literary work. Maryam Ekhtiar mentions that “his most famous and perhaps finest artistic contribution is an inscribed slab of carved marble of about 3.70 by 1.25 m., the entire surface of which is covered with Arabic and Persian poems and the epithets of the contemporary Ottoman monarch inscribed in fine nastaʿliq script. The stone was originally intended for the tomb of the Prophet Moḥammad in Medina and took Mirza Sanglak eight years to complete while he was in Egypt”.88 This marble panel, today in Tabriz, bears a striking resemblance to the tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā with some variations in floral forms, indicating that the calligrapher was simply working in the fashion of his day and that “the Ottoman patrons had also developed a taste for highly ornate, deeply carved surfaces or sculpted forms at this time, as opposed to the traditional low-relief carving technique that had been the norm until the earlier decades of the nineteenth century.”89

The Floral ornament: appropriation and cultural continuity

78Floral ornament has always been a component of the Ottoman decorative tradition, but amidst the plethora of palmettes, rosettes, scrolls, arabesques, tulips, lotuses, and acanthus leaves at Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, some floral motifs were adopted, some abandoned, and others adapted. In an illustrated treatise on Ottoman Architecture titled the ʾUsuli Miʿmarii ʿOsmani (Fundamentals of Ottoman Architecture), prepared by the Ottoman government in Turkish, French, and German for the Vienna World Exposition, the text claims:

  • 90 De Launay et al., L’architecture ottomane, p. 71; the original text reads: “les artistes ottomans n (...)

The Ottoman artists did not go very far to seek the types of their ornamentation; they took them among the plants in the vegetable patch or the flowers in the garden of their own house. The natural form has undergone various successive modifications in their hands and has ended up taking on a conventional character, a character which is eminently suited to decoration, the shape of the foliage, fruits and flowers thus having acquired new qualities, which have put them in perfect harmony with the nature of the materials used to represent them.90

  • 91 Ersoy 2015, p. 179.

79The authors went to great lengths to illustrate the artistic process of transforming a living plant into the stylized and conventionalized decorative motifs we see today. This notion, though reasonable and perhaps even admirable, ascribes a certain naivete to the Ottoman architect as well as the modern observer.91 Rather than simply crediting the complex floral arrangements of the late Ottoman architecture to nature, more plausible models of ornamentation, such as chinoiserie, should be taken into consideration.

80It comes as no surprise that chinoiserie appears on the chiseled and colored surfaces of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, such as the modified or, rather, “Ottomanized’’ versions of peonies that appear on Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb (fig. 21). Chinese designs have always been a main source of inspiration for the Ottomans since their introduction to the Islamic world during the Pax Mangolica. The authors of the ʾUsūli Miʿmārii ʿOsmāni admit that Ottoman artists were very much aware of the Chinese floral program but that they approached the style critically; in defense of Ottoman artists and architecture, the text states:

  • 92 De Launay et al., 1873, p. 73; the original text reads: “les conceptions chinoises ne leur étaient (...)

Chinese designs are not unknown to them. They have studied their ingenious motifs, analyzed and modified them, and have never slavishly copied them. Extremely skillful craftsmen, they attentively pursued a goal which they had drawn up in advance, and carefully calculated all the transformations which they wished to implement. By thus passing certain conceptions of Chinese artists into the dominion of Ottoman art, they did not accept them without making them undergo notable improvements, and never, for example, allowed the monstrous discontinuities which characterize Chinese ornamentation.92

  • 93 Examples of chinoiserie appear on the façade of the Complex of Sulṭān Ḥasan (1356–1363) and the cen (...)

81By the time the Chinese floral repertoire reached the royal cemetery in Cairo, not only had it become an essential element in the decorative arts of the Ottoman Empire, but it was also established locally in the architectural vocabulary of the Mamluks.93

82Different stylizations of plants in vases can also be found on many of the cenotaphs at Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, some are depicted stiffly while others are relatively natural. For example, the stele surmounted on Muṣṭafā Bey’s tomb (d. 1231/1816) has a symmetrical plant with a central stem growing out of a goblet‑like vase (fig. 22). Meanwhile, the cenotaph shared between Zahraʾ ʿAʾiša (d. 1246/1831) and Kulthūm (d. 1278/1861) is decorated with vases of intertwining stems and flowering plants that seem as though they are wilting (fig. 10). The plants on the latter tomb, though still symmetrical, show more fluidity in comparison with the earlier one. With time, the same motif continued to stylistically develop in naturalism and dimensionality as indicated by the later cenotaph of Ḫalīl Pāshā Yakan (d. 1310/1892) and Muṣṭafā Pāshā Yakan (d. 1263/1846), whereby vases with three‑dimensional bouquets of flowers adorn the sides and swooping curvilinear plants that flare out of cornucopias dominate the stelae (figs. 23a–b). While the cornucopia can be traced to the mosaics at the Dome of the Rock and to pre-Islamic prototypes, the style in which the motif is rendered recalls other diverse sources.

  • 94 Hattstein, Delius 2004, p. 127; Rüstem 2019, p. 37.

83Scholars argue that the Ottomans were looking at seventeenth-century Mughal India for a type of naturalistic rendering of plants as opposed to their own conventionalized representations of the floral ornament.94 It is quite plausible that the Ottomans may have found new inspirations from India, such as the low carved reliefs on the dado of the Taj Mahal in Agra, yet the Ottoman artists working in Cairo at Ḥūš al‑Bāšā may have very well been simply looking at examples much closer to home—Istanbul. The Fountain of Defterdar Mehmed Efendi, also known as the Bereketzade Fountain in Galata, dates to 1732 and depicts many of the motifs carved on the cenotaphs in the royal cemetery. The fountains of Istanbul had not only been depicting similar vases of floral bouquets and plants with central stems since the eighteenth century, they also represented bowls of fruits and vegetables just like the ones depicted later on Muṣṭafā Bey’s tomb (fig. 22). The same motifs can also be found in a different medium at the Privy Chamber (“Fruit Room”) of Aḥmed III, 1705.

  • 95 O’Kane, Abbas, Abdulfattah 2012, pp. 84–85.

84On a macroscopic scale, many of the floral elements at the royal cemetery are familiar when carefully looked at in isolation from their ornamentally busy contexts and can mostly be traced back to either Ottoman or local sources. The classical Roman motif of the cornucopia for instance, which decorates the cenotaph of Šams, the wife of Muḥammad ʿAlī (fig. 24), was locally revived in the twelfth‑century portable mihrab from the mausoleum of Sayyida Nafīsa.95 Cornucopia had continued in popularity well into the Ayyubid period as demonstrated by the carved marble panels on the mihrab of al‑Saliḥ Nağm al‑Dīn’s mausoleum (1249) (fig. 25). Certain elements that may at first glance seem curious and unrecognizable can be traced upon further examinations to the most inconspicuous of places, such as the case of a hybrid fruit-flower on Šafaq Nūr’s tomb that can be matched to others of its kind located amidst the vegetal scrollwork framing the panels of Sulṭān Aḥmed III’s fountain (1728) in Istanbul (figs. 26a–b).

  • 96 Silk Fragment with Circular Rosace-like Floriate Medallions, first half of the sixteenth century, N (...)

85Another example from Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb would be a significant flower that was clearly magnified to stand out from the rest of the floriated scrollwork (fig. 27). This motif can arguably be attributed to the Mughals for it does appear as a central motif on many of their decorative arts, including several seventeenth-century Indian plates currently in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. However, it must be acknowledged that this specific flower had already been integrated into the floral repertory of Ottoman decorative arts and their various mediums long before they appeared on Mughal art in the seventeenth century and the cenotaphs of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā in the nineteenth century. From woodwork to textiles, this flower can be easily spotted as the focal point of several artifacts, including the fourteenth-century window wings that belonged to the tomb of Sheikh Neğmeddīn Ishakoğlu (fig. 28), an undated Ottoman Qurʾan kursī in the Ethnography Museum in Ankara, and a sixteenth‑century Turkish kaftan in the Metropolitan Museum.96

86The same identity crisis faces the reciprocating design above the foundation inscription panel of Šafaq Nūr’s chamber (fig. 17), which can on the one hand be perceived by scholars as a simplified version of the patterns used in Mughal art, specifically manuscripts, such as the borders from a double page Indian Qurʾan folio written for the Sulṭān of Lahore and dated to 1573 (fig. 29). On the other hand, this study argues that the basic design is mimicking the joggled lintels of monuments in Cairo. Certainly, this type of motif can also be found in Ottoman architecture, such as the surviving plasterwork in the hot room of Ismāʿīl Bey’s Hamam dated to the sixteenth century; however, the style of this repeating pattern as well as the fact that it was not applied to a larger surface area as usual and, instead, occupies a closed frame above the doorway directly points at local sources. Comparable local examples are the lintels of the Mausoleum of al‑Saliḥ Nağm al‑Dīn (1249), of the Mosque of Baybārs (1267–1269), and especially in the mihrab of the Mosque of al-Muʾayyad Sheikh (1412–1421).

87The transmission of ornamented designs from one medium to another, from stone to plaster and paint in this case, would not have been unusual for the artists of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā who had used imitation marble for the upper walls and squinches in four of the dome chambers (fig. 30). The brown veins of the painted plaster capture the same effect of the Byzantine technique of slicing marble into panels of symmetrical designs, recalling the dado at the Dome of the Rock and, most importantly, the grand monument of the Ottoman Empire—Hagia Sophia.

  • 97 O’Kane 2014, p. 323; O’Kane describes the motif of rūmī arabesques in relation to the minbar of the (...)
  • 98 “Koranpult (Möbel)”, mid-13th century, Berlin, The Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum in (...)

88Ḥūš al-Bāšā demonstrates an undeniable affinity for classic Ottoman traditions and local stylistic features in the continuation of arabesque designs and geometric patterns. For example, a detail of the marble dado niches adorning the lower walls of four dome chambers (fig. 31) shows the particular use of rūmī arabesques—a type of arabesque that is known to consist of “deeply cut leafy stems crossing under and over one another, where the leaves often end in curlicue leading to suggestion of a sphere”.97 This motif was popular in Anatolia and fine examples of it can be easily found on mid‑thirteenth century Seljuk woodwork, including the Qurʾan stand made by ʿAbd al‑Waḥid ibn Sulaymān currently at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, the mihrab from the Damsaköy Taşkınpaşa Mosque in the Ankara Ethnographic Museum, and the wooden cenotaphs from the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum.98

89A detail that was also most commonly used on Anatolian Seljuk monuments but was more likely drawn from geographically closer precedents would be the pattern of interlacing geometric design to either side of the stone-carved portal (fig. 3); while the incorporation of rosettes in this geometric design makes it comparable to the one carved on the stone dome of Sulṭān al‑Ašraf Barsbāy’s complex in the Northern Cemetery (1432), the density of its interlacing pattern in particular recalls the bands of overlapping design outside the entrance portal of the Complex of Sulṭān Ḥasan (1356–1363). By far, the strongest visual reference of a pattern in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā to a local precedent is the beautifully painted design decorating Šafaq Nūr’s dome, which evokes the same interlacing knotted grid with arabesque foliage adorning the dome at the Mosque of Sulaymān Pāshā (1528) and, intriguingly, the exterior design on the Mamluk stone dome of Khayrbak’s Funerary Complex (1502–1521).

  • 99 Levey 1975, p. 117.

90The abundance of local visual references in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s artistic vocabulary is, nevertheless, confronted by foreign decorative motifs of fleshy vegetal scrolls and reliefs typically labeled under the European stylistic categories of Baroque and Rococo. Flamboyant forms dominate Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s repertoire, whereby sinuous Rococo reliefs are employed in a dense program of marble carving on the tombs while molded overblown acanthus scrolls decorate the high domes, their zones of transition, the soffits of steeply curved arches, and the “marbled” walls of the mausoleum (figs. 32–33). This eclectic approach had been fully realized in Istanbul by the time it was implemented in Ḥūš al-Bāšā almost a century later and it continued to be the style of the Ottoman court despite the fact that these adopted westernized styles eventually faded in their own countries of origin; as Michael Levey points out, this kind of European decorative influence “(sometimes with odd chinoiserie flourishes) was never quite to die out in Ottoman art as long as the Empire lasted. It would always touch a chord left unstirred by the severities of classicism or neo‑classicism. It was, after all, a style opulent as well as graceful, and nicely fitted to serve not only for interior decoration but for the small‑scale monument, gateway, fountain, or tomb”.99

91The ornamental categories employed at the royal cemetery each serve aesthetic and symbolic purposes simultaneously. Inscriptions, Qurʾanic and poetic, invoked blessings to the deceased in the afterlife. Ornamental plants, flowers, and fruits evoked notions of paradise. Even the European forms, which may seem superficial and flamboyant, emerge as markers of imperialism in association with a modern image. Another royal indicator is the crescent moon and stars adorning the slabs and stele of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb (fig. 27), which in any other context would have been charged with lunar connotation as opposed to being an established symbol of the Ottoman state.

92Practices of cultural appropriation and adaptation have always been characteristic of arts produced in the Islamic world and the arts of the Ottoman Empire are no exception in this regard. Situated artistically somewhere between the familiar and the foreign, the decorative program of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā displays an intriguing fusion of cultural forms. Some motifs can be attributed to Ottoman and local traditions, other novel forms are suggestive of Iranian, European, and Mughal inspirations, and very few shapes remain ambiguous, but none can be identified as absolutely one or the other. There is a fluidity to the forms of Ottoman art generally and Ḥūš al‑Bāšā specifically that makes them resist modern categories of analysis, a cultural flow that allows them to be concurrently Turkish and Baroque, Chinese and Mamluk, and infinitely more. Every element that is interwoven in the iconographic fabric of the royal cemetery is a mutation and a reproduction that has transcended temporally and geographically, representing not a single cultural identity but a manifested symbolic meaning. After examining what many of the decorative elements of the mausoleum stand for, the question becomes: what does Ḥūš al‑Bāšā as a whole represent?

Independence within boundaries

93The Ottoman Empire is often stereotyped as a multi-cultural outpost and its arts as hybrids of an otherwise advanced Islamic visual culture; however, the reality is more complex. Arts of the Ottoman Empire, especially towards the nineteenth century, were the products of dismantling past cultural patterns in order to create a new social order. Ḥūš al‑Bāšā is the manifestation of this new social order and its rapid stylistic evolution is the memory of a strategic synthetic process.

94After surveying and analyzing the blend of appropriated cultural forms employed in the royal cemetery, the attention will henceforth shift to the vectors of influence driving these eclectic tendencies. Was Ottoman architecture in Cairo simply echoing the artistic milieu in Istanbul? Did the reformist agenda of the imperial state, materialized in the form of the Tanẓīmāt documents, resonate across the empire’s provinces? If Muḥammad ʿAlī had not shared the same vision of modernity for Egypt as the Ottoman Sulṭāns did for their empire, would the alleged central authority of the state have continued to influence building activities in Cairo? Last but not least, was the culturally diverse background of the Ottoman architect a passive agent or a convenient asset in this process of architectural eclecticism? Such questions must be carefully considered in the hopes of understanding whether Ḥūš al-Bāšā was indeed a strategically synthetic achievement or an unresolved hybrid monstrosity, or possibly somewhere between the two.

  • 100 It is worth noting the minaret helmet of Amir Qawsun’s mausoleum, which is of the same date (1336), (...)

95Ḥūš al-Bāšā visually references local precedents and, concurrently, departs from these sources with innovative details, resulting in the construction of unique stylistic features. For example, certain elements used for the larger domes of the irregular chambers reference local Ottoman and Mamluk styles: the placement of buttresses between the windows along the drum area is reminiscent of the mosques of Sinān Pāshā (1571–1572) and Muḥammad Bek Abū al‑Ḏahab (1774), albeit the shapes of the buttresses are different. The undulating stone moldings in the transitional zone of a different irregular dome evokes the stone domes of Farag ibn Barquq’s Khanqah (1398–1411), one of which happens to also be a ribbed dome with flanges in the middle just like the domes of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. This ribbed design, which emphasizes the volume of a dome, can be traced back to brick examples, such as the domes of ʿAli Badr al‑Dīn al‑Qarafī (1300) and Amīr Qawsūn (1336).100 Despite all these familiar components that make up the irregular domes of Ḥūš al-Bāšā, they remain unique in profile and overall decorative scheme.

96The dome chamber of Šafaq Nūr also combines old and new visual forms from both foreign and domestic cultural contexts to create an unusual mode of architectural expression. This chamber simultaneously pays homage to the past while breaking free from it by mixing the sixteenth‑century Cairene dome pattern with the seventeenth-century European vegetal motifs on the cenotaph, and the novel color stripes edged with lotuses on the upper walls. To some scholars, this juxtaposition of such intrinsically diverse elements highlights the tensions between modernity and anachronism that infamously became typical of nineteenth‑century Ottoman buildings; however, in comparison to the literally superficial additions of ornamental forms plastered on the walls of the older dome chambers of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, the decorative elements in Nur’s chamber show balance and unity whereby earlier Ottoman experiments with the so‑called eclectic forms were finally molded into a synthesized whole.

97Šafaq Nūr’s chamber (fig. 4), which was added to the mausoleum approximately thirty years after the mid‑nineteenth century renovations, shows a far more developed sense of cohesive visual identity in comparison to the irregular dome chambers. Admittedly, it is more convenient for decorative motifs to be fully integrated with the structure and one another when they have been planned in advance as opposed to being applied to a pre‑existing structure as was the case with the mid‑nineteenth century renovations. The Ottoman artists of the royal cemetery clearly tried to integrate their borrowed European styles of ornamentation by incorporating luscious garlands, rococo reliefs, and acanthus leaves into the rich marble carving program of later cenotaphs, but, regardless of their noble efforts, the plastered additions to the irregular dome chambers continue to function in a relatively independent manner as an artistic afterthought.

  • 101 Baer 1998, p. 125.
  • 102 Rüstem 2019, p. 64.

98During the process of Ḥūš al-Bāšā’s mid‑nineteenth century stylistic transformation, whereby certain dome chambers remained plain and others were entirely revamped, the subsidiary ornaments of European vegetal motifs were clearly upgraded to become the main decorative theme.101 The eclectic tendencies exhibited in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s drastic visual transformation, though arguably unresolved, hardly seem spontaneous and should not simply be attributed to the Khedival patrons’ developed taste for the highly ornate. As Ünver Rüstem explains, “such a rapidly far‑reaching shift can only have been the result of a deliberate, concerted effort orchestrated at the highest levels’”,102 begging the question: why the growing eagerness to incorporate such a diverse range of styles, specifically features derived from western decorative programs, in the Ottoman architectural tradition?

Echoing eclecticism: state versus province

  • 103 Avcioğlu, Volait 2017, vol. 2, p. 1123.

99Ḥūš al-Bāšā was fashioned by a centuries-long tension between forces of tradition and challenges of modernity; therefore, this study must expand its scope to question the broader historical contexts of the Ottoman building programs within which the mausoleum developed in order to rediscover the nature of its political and cultural identity. A comparative trajectory between the imperial state of Istanbul and its khedival province of Cairo could reveal how the socio-political climate and artistic milieu of one urban city was reflected on the other, consequently affecting its building activities and causing visual transformations to its cultural forms. As Avcioğlu and Volait state, “in the centuries following the incorporation of Egypt into the Ottoman empire, both Cairo and Istanbul remained distinctive but related and, at times, even mirrored each other”.103

  • 104 Avcioğlu, Volait 2017, vol. 2, p. 1123.
  • 105 Endelman 2018, p. 818.

100Due to its rich cultural and architectural past, Cairo remained powerful and prominent in the face of its provincial status. Egypt, though one of the few Ottoman domains that had successfully acquired administrative independence from the central authority of the imperial state during the nineteenth century, had never abandoned the empire for absolute political and ideological autonomy. Muḥammad ʿAlī’s loyalty to his culture and self-image as an Ottoman was never in question, and still “while dreaming of creating an Egyptian state, and even an empire, he never denied the Sultan’s authority”.104 A canonical telling of history would read the rebellious acts of Cairo’s Ottoman governors against Istanbul as treason, when, in fact, these very acts “constituted a traditional practice in the Ottoman Empire for gaining regional power dating back to the sixteenth century”.105

  • 106 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 4.

101As the cultural and political spheres of authority between the Imperial state and the khedival province were continuously negotiated, they often overlapped with common goals. Behrens-Abouseif explains, “the nineteenth century was almost invariably an era of reassertion of the central authority of the state, or rather the assertation of new sorts of power by pre-existing states, themselves trying desperately to ’modernize’”.106 The sharing of materials, artisans, and, naturally, building trends between the two major urban cities of the Ottoman Empire—Cairo and Istanbul—occurred, part and parcel, because they shared similar aspirations for a new modern age. The imperial power, in an effort to recentralize their authority and establish a collective sense of Ottoman identity, used urban intervention to foster a universal modern image for the empire. Recognizing the influence of patronage in visually defining a culture, the Ottomans codified their methods of architectural traditions and turned to Europe for inspiration at a time when modernity was synonymous with the West.

  • 107 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 37.
  • 108 Rüstem 2019, p. 70.

102European stylistic features, such as ornamental swags, rounded arches, molded cornices, classical scrolls, and acanthus leaves started appearing on Ottoman architecture in the 1740’s.107 Rüstem argues that the style emerged when and as it did in response to a significant political moment for Sulṭān Maḥmūd I (r. 1730–1754), pointing out that “his victory over the Habsburgs and signing of the Treaties of Belgrade and Niš had taken place in 1739, followed a year later by his suppression of the attempted revolt in Istanbul”; he adds that, “it is surely no accident that the style came into being in the wake of these successes, precisely when the Sulṭān—now entering the second decade of his reign—had proved himself domestically and internationally as a strong ruler firm on his throne.”108 The so‑called “Ottoman Baroque” style emerged marking deep fractures with the empire’s past as well as a celebration of its modern age both politically and culturally.

  • 109 Rüstem 2019, p. 142.

103This new mode of ornamentation was rapidly adorning gates, sebils, bathhouse interiors, and much of the cityscape’s imperial architecture prior to becoming fully realized in the Nuruosmaniye Mosque, which was started in 1162/1749 by Sulṭān Maḥmūd I and completed in 1169/1755 by his successor Sulṭān Osman III (r. 1754–1757). A comparison of the main entrances of the Nuruosmaniye Mosque and the Suleymaniye Mosque built in 1550 highlights the stylistic transformations characteristic of this modernizing era’s architecture in the elimination of the foundation inscription as well as the substitution of classical Ottoman decorative elements like the muqarnas with a plethora of shells, scrolls, and other vegetal motifs.109

104This period of dramatic change witnessed a multitude of foreign influences across the Ottoman Empire. Extending from the eighteenth century into the nineteenth century, this systematic shift towards modernity was consolidated by socio‑political reforms that were implemented by the Ottoman state and adopted by the provinces, not necessarily in a center-periphery type of model whereby provinces were connected vertically to the center and the reforms were diffused from culturally stronger to politically weaker cities; rather, in the case of a relatively independent province like Cairo, the complex interplay between authorities was one of constant cultural reciprocation and political reconciliation.

  • 110 Ersoy 2015, p. 12.
  • 111 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 110; El-Ashmouni, Bartsch 2014, p. 56.

105For example, the Tanẓīmāt reforms of 1836–1876, which were a modernizing program that constituted a “set of legal, administrative, and economic reforms envisioned and conducted by the Ottoman bureaucratic elite”,110 introduced new concepts and practices to many regions of the Ottoman Empire. In the process of dismantling old cultural patterns to create a modern social order, the novel policies of the Tanẓīmāt period fueled radical transformations embodied in the forms of novel institutions, building practices, and modes of representation. Correspondingly in Cairo, this initiative of social and political reform was echoed by Muḥammad ʿAlī who, to realize his goal of a modern Egypt, established new educational programs that were predominantly administrated by the French and encouraged Europeans as well as other culturally diverse communities from all over the Ottoman empire, such as the Armenians, Albanians, and Syrians, to come and work in Egypt.111

106The early Tanẓīmāt architecture in both Istanbul and Cairo was by the 1840’s essentially a culmination of a long building tradition defined mostly by its appropriation of European stylistic forms. The Dolmabahçe Palace (1849–1856) and the Ortaköy Mosque (1854–1855) stand by the waterfront of the Bosphorus, in their parade of French neoclassical decorative features, as testaments of this period’s fully-fledged westernization. Catching up slowly but surely, features of the new style began marking their presence on the facades of Ottoman buildings and the interiors of palaces in Cairo, including the two sebils commissioned in the 1820’s by Muḥammad ʿAlī to commemorate the deaths of his sons and his palace in Shubra. The Tanẓīmāt period in Cairo witnessed the catalyzed progress in which the European mode of ornamentation, claiming its place in the local visual culture, developed into the style adopted by Ḥūš al‑Bāšā in the mid-nineteenth century and matured eventually into the decorative character represented by the selamlik built by Ḥasan Fouad Pāshā El‑Manasterly in 1851 and the Palace built by Ḥabīb Pāshā Sakākīnī in 1897.

107The eclecticism of the new artistic tradition, though evidently orchestrated at the highest levels, cannot be credited single-handedly to any one entity. The stylistic orientation of nineteenth‑century Ottoman architecture was first set in motion by a succession of Sulṭāns, then implemented by the Imperial state, consumed by the provinces, and, last but not least, executed by the artisans. Many scholars argue that this highly eclectic blend of appropriated forms was introduced by the ethnically diverse architects and artisans of the Ottoman Empire, who were predominantly Greek and Armenian. The agency of a ḏimmī craftsman’s cultural and educational background can be demonstrated by the fluency in which European motifs were executed on Ottoman Imperial buildings, but the material culture created by these craftsmen for their own communities provide compelling evidence that they were ahead of the Ottoman-Baroque trend and may have very well set some of the earliest precedents for the new style.

  • 112 Rüstem 2019, p. 95.
  • 113 These two Armenian tombstones were first published by Rüstem 2019, p. 95.

108Two tombstones located in the Armenian cemetery of Balıklı in Istanbul employ a combination of classical Ottoman and European motifs, predating the first known structures in the new style by approximately half a decade.112 The first tombstone, made for the wife of a sedefci (mother of pearl craftsman) and dated to 1737, shows an inscription framed by an ogee arch in the upper part of the marble slab and, in the lower part, a naturalistically depicted vase of flowers is crowned by a rounded arch adorned with scrolls and supported on columns with Corinthian capitals. The other tombstone, made for a goldsmith and dated to 1746, displays an arrangement of sinuous scrolls carved in low relief and two flower vases typical of the Ottoman decorative tradition. The craftsmen of these tombstones were comfortable enough with both of the stylistic traditions in order to artistically dabble between them and create a third, cross‑cultural style.113

  • 114 Bates 1985, p. 124.
  • 115 Bates 1985, p. 122; though these reformist documents and archived decrees are not directly linked t (...)

109The transfer of Ottoman builders and, consequently, building aesthetics from Istanbul to Cairo was both imposed by the imperial state and encouraged by the Ottoman Governor. Several decrees issued in the late sixteenth century from the court of the Ottoman Sulṭāns to their representatives in Egypt provide evidence that the state was in a habit of not only concerning itself with construction matters in Cairo, but also appointing architects and craftsmen there.114 Bates claims that “whether or not continuity in local traditions of architecture is maintained in the face of political changes depends a great deal on who the architects were”, but then also states that “the continuity of a local, as opposed to a central imperial, architectural tradition largely depended on the prominence and strength of regional power and authority”. This is where classic bureaucracy comes into play because, according to the register books of the imperial court preserved in the prime minister’s archives in Istanbul, many of the architects in the provinces were under the direct authority of the office of imperial chief architect.115 Therefore, between an imperial state that was desperately trying to reassert its central authority, an Ottoman governor who was eagerly wanting to modernize his province, and craftsmen who were, first and foremost, Ottoman, it was arguably just a matter of time before the new eclectic style of the late Ottoman artistic milieu inevitably presented itself in the architecture of Cairo generally and Ḥūš al‑Bāšā specifically.

110Buildings and politics alike cannot be perceived in a vacuum, and only by placing them within the unique cultural circumstances that originally created them can they unravel their complex meanings. When examined in isolation, Ḥūš al‑Bāšā represents a moment of decisive architectural transformation or a sentiment of dramatic decorative rupture; however, if one chooses to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, it will become clearer that the mausoleum’s moment of visual transformation belonged to a long Ottoman tradition of stylistic synthesis formed by the rise of a distinctively modern historical consciousness across the empire.

  • 116 Endelman 2018, p. 818.

111This critical rewriting of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s history is meant to stimulate necessary intellectual discourse about the creation and visual transformation of the royal cemetery in relation to the broader contextual frameworks of Ottoman urban structures and political agendas. Despite growing administrative independence, Muḥammad ʿAlī continued to be ideologically and culturally dependent on the Imperial state, and Egypt remained a part of the Ottoman Empire. The architectural character of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā is a visual reflection of its patron, a governor who was “functionally independent, culturally Ottoman, and ideologically split”.116

112In the process of examining Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s historiography, this study managed to trace the architectural development and reconstruct the first comprehensive building chronology of the royal cemetery. The earliest mention of a building dates some of the construction at Ḥūš al‑Bāšā to 1808–1809, which could have primarily, but not exclusively, consisted of the two shallow dome chambers. Primary sources by contemporary historians confirmed that Ṭūsūn’s dome chamber was already constructed and prepared for his burial upon his death in 1816. Though it remains unclear whether or not the adjacent domes of Ismāʿīl and Amīna were also built at the same time as Ṭūsūn’s chamber, it is certain that these two chambers would have been built before 1823. Based on a survey of all those buried in the cemetery together with the information provided by nineteenth‑century travellers, the chamber of Ibrāhīm Pāshā and the one connected to it were built sometime between 1831 and 1838. Meanwhile, the dome chamber belonging to ʿAbbās Pāshā would have been added to the mausoleum by 1851.

  • 117 Descendants of those buried at Ḥūš al-Bāšā continued to be buried there until 1902 despite the erec (...)

113A narrow timeframe as to when the elaborate visual transformation of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā occurred has also been established here by engaging different media of texts and images, i.e., travel accounts and drawings. The compelling visual evidence provided by Schranz Jr.’s realistic watercolor drawing indicates that the westernized decorative program was added to the walls of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā post 1845, while the harsh accounts of Flaubert and Du Camp provide us with the terminus ante quem of 1851. The decorations were later repaired by Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s sons after removing a wall in their father’s chamber in 1854. Ḥūš al‑Bāšā evidently remained a popular burial place amongst the khedival royals because in 1883–1884 Khedive Tawfīq added Šafaq Nūr’s dome chamber and, in the twentieth century, further additions were made during the reign of King Fārūq, including the domed entrance vestibule and the stone wall enclosing the royal cemetery.117

114Ḥūš al-Bāšā is a funerary monument that commemorates partly piety, but mainly power, prestige, and progress. Every visual form in the royal cemetery is effectively employed to communicate a statement of cultural dominance. The use of three different languages for the mausoleum’s epigraphic program is a testimony to the cosmopolitan nature of the Ottoman identity, but the prominent use of the Ottoman Turkish language in comparison to Arabic and Persian creates a linguistic hierarchy in which the native language of the rulers dominates. Similarly, the repeated use of foundational chronograms in the cemetery functioned as a visual emblem of Ottomanization, indicating a local shift in the urban as well as socio-political orders. Even the content of the inscriptions, both religious and non-Qurʾanic, stresses the power of God alone to highlight primarily that death does not undermine the power of the deceased Ottoman royals; hence, the evoked associations between the royals and some of the most powerful and pious figures in Islam, comparing Ibrāhīm Pāshā to King Sulaymān and Ruqayya Hānim to Mariam.

115The Ottoman legacy behind Ḥūš al‑Bāšā’s eclectic blend of decorative motifs will always be one of cultural reciprocity, appropriation, integration, and innovation unrestricted to any temporal, religious, or geographical contexts. Situated at the cultural crossroads of nineteenth-century local and imperial artistic milieus, the royal cemetery represents an evocation of classical Ottoman traditions that drew upon the past for stylistic inspiration and a veneration of modernism that looked towards the West for new modes of ornamentation. Instead of dwelling on notions of hybridity, one should approach Ḥūš al‑Bāšā as a trilingual, intersectional being with languages to be interpreted, cultural sides to be acknowledged, and a history of reform that ultimately altered its stylistic evolution.

116Walking through this mystical funerary space, where chandeliers once lit up its domes, Persian rugs covered its grounds, silk curtains draped over its windows, and flowers masked its air of sorrow, one cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of melancholy over the cemetery’s currently abandoned state. Today, with restorations indefinitely suspended, dimmed lights seep through the mausoleum’s broken windows to shine on nothing but fine dust and the memories of a distant past floating through its air. Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, a curious place waiting to be unraveled, has yet to receive the amount of scholarly attention it merits.

Fig. 1. The main entrance of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Fig. 1. The main entrance of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 2. Plan of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā indicating building chronology.

Fig. 2. Plan of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā indicating building chronology.

1. stone fence; 2. main entrance; 3. entrance vestibule; 4. kitchen and dependencies; 5. arcade; 6. intermediate vestibule; 7. stone portal; 8. rectangular hall with wooden roof; 9. Šafaq Nūr’s dome chamber; 10. Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s dome chamber; 11. shallow dome chamber; 12. shallow dome chamber; 13. Ismāʿīl Pāshā’s dome chamber; 14. Amīna Hānim’s dome chamber; 15. dome chamber; 16. Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s dome chamber; 17. ʿAbbās Pāshā’s dome chamber; 18. courtyard

Drawing: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 3. The stone-carved portal preceding the rectangular hall.

Fig. 3. The stone-carved portal preceding the rectangular hall.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 4. The tomb and dome chamber of Šafaq Nūr.

Fig. 4. The tomb and dome chamber of Šafaq Nūr.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 5. The bronze maqsura surrounding Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s cenotaph.

Fig. 5. The bronze maqsura surrounding Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s cenotaph.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 6. Interior view from Amīna Hānim’s dome chamber looking towards Ismāʿīl Pāshā’s chamber, followed by Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s chamber; the windows between the trilobed arches are purely decorative and filled with rubble masonry.

Fig. 6. Interior view from Amīna Hānim’s dome chamber looking towards Ismāʿīl Pāshā’s chamber, followed by Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s chamber; the windows between the trilobed arches are purely decorative and filled with rubble masonry.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 7. Mausoleum of Mehmet Ali and his family at Cairo, by Antonio Schranz Jr., ca. 1840–1850, London,
The Victoria and Albert Museum, SD.951.

Fig. 7. Mausoleum of Mehmet Ali and his family at Cairo, by Antonio Schranz Jr., ca. 1840–1850, London, The Victoria and Albert Museum, SD.951.

Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Fig. 8. Interior view from chamber 15 to chamber 16, showing the wall segments protruding to either side of the doorway in the the adjacent chamber as well as the tension between the grilled window and the muqarnas of the squinch directly above it.

Fig. 8. Interior view from chamber 15 to chamber 16, showing the wall segments protruding to either side of the doorway in the the adjacent chamber as well as the tension between the grilled window and the muqarnas of the squinch directly above it.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 9a. Cenotaph of ʿAlī, son of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1836–1837).

Fig. 9a. Cenotaph of ʿAlī, son of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1836–1837).

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 9b. Cenotaph of Ibrāhīm Pāshā Yakan, nephew of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1845–1846).

Fig. 9b. Cenotaph of Ibrāhīm Pāshā Yakan, nephew of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1845–1846).

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 9c. Cenotaph of Muḥammad Bey the Daftardar (d. 1833–1834)

Fig. 9c. Cenotaph of Muḥammad Bey the Daftardar (d. 1833–1834)

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 10. Cenotaph of Zahraʾ ʿAʾiša, the daughter of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1831) and Kulthūm, the daughter of ʿAlī Ṭūsūn (d. 1861).

Fig. 10. Cenotaph of Zahraʾ ʿAʾiša, the daughter of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1831) and Kulthūm, the daughter of ʿAlī Ṭūsūn (d. 1861).

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig 11. Interior view of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Fig 11. Interior view of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 12. Vue des tombeaux de la famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. XXIX_LXIV.

Fig. 12. Vue des tombeaux de la famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. XXIX_LXIV.

Photo: © Bibliothèque de Marseille, Fonds patrimoniaux : Res52346, pl. XXIX_LXIV.

Fig. 13. Ville du Caire : vue du tombeau de Toussoun Pacha, fils de Mohamed Ali Pacha, vice-roi d’Égypte, bâti dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, 1822, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille.

Fig. 13. Ville du Caire : vue du tombeau de Toussoun Pacha, fils de Mohamed Ali Pacha, vice-roi d’Égypte, bâti dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, 1822, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille.

Photo: © Bibliothèque de Marseille, Fonds patrimoniaux : MS 1310–fols. 70a–b.

Fig. 14. Vue des Tombeaux de la Famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. LXIV.

Fig. 14. Vue des Tombeaux de la Famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. LXIV.

Photo: © Bibliothèque de Marseille, Fonds patrimoniaux : Res52347, pl. LXIV.

Fig. 15. Vue des Tombeaux de la Famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. LVIX.

Fig. 15. Vue des Tombeaux de la Famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. LVIX.

Photo: © Bibliothèque de Marseille, Fonds patrimoniaux : Res52346, pl. LXIV.

Fig. 16. Theoretical plan for Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, ca. 1838.

Fig. 16. Theoretical plan for Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, ca. 1838.

Drawing: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 17. Foundation inscription panel above the doorway of Šafaq Nūr’s dome chamber.

Fig. 17. Foundation inscription panel above the doorway of Šafaq Nūr’s dome chamber.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 18a–c. Stelae stylizations for female royals in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Fig. 18a–c. Stelae stylizations for female royals in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

a. stele of Mahivech Qadīn Hānim’s tomb; b. stele of Amīna Hānim’s tomb; c. stele of Fātima Hānim’s tomb.

Photos: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 19. The dome above the entrance vestibule of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Fig. 19. The dome above the entrance vestibule of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 20. The tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā.

Fig. 20. The tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 21. Detail of chinese flower on Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb.

Fig. 21. Detail of chinese flower on Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 22. The tomb of Muṣṭafā Bey.

Fig. 22. The tomb of Muṣṭafā Bey.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 23a–b. The tomb of Ḫalīl Pāshā Yakan and Muṣṭafā Pāshā Yakan.

Fig. 23a–b. The tomb of Ḫalīl Pāshā Yakan and Muṣṭafā Pāshā Yakan.

a. northern side of the shared cenotaph; b. eastern stelae with cornucopia.

Photos: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 24. Detail of cornucopia on the tomb of Šams Hānim, the wife of Muḥammad ʿAlī.

Fig. 24. Detail of cornucopia on the tomb of Šams Hānim, the wife of Muḥammad ʿAlī.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 25. Detail of the mihrab in the Mausoleum of al-Saliḥ Nağm al-Dīn, 1250.

Fig. 25. Detail of the mihrab in the Mausoleum of al-Saliḥ Nağm al-Dīn, 1250.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 26a. Detail of Šafaq Nūr’s cenotaph.

Fig. 26a. Detail of Šafaq Nūr’s cenotaph.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 26b. Detail of Sulṭān Aḥmed III’s fountain, 1728, Istanbul.

Fig. 26b. Detail of Sulṭān Aḥmed III’s fountain, 1728, Istanbul.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 27. Detail of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s cenotaph.

Fig. 27. Detail of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s cenotaph.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 28. Window Wings, originally from the Mausoleum of Sheikh Neğmeddīn Ishakoğlu, Istanbul, 1274, The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, 1914, 196 a–b.

Fig. 28. Window Wings, originally from the Mausoleum of Sheikh Neğmeddīn Ishakoğlu, Istanbul, 1274, The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, 1914, 196 a–b.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 29. Double folio from the Qur’an written for the Sultan of Lahore, India, 1573, Add. 18489, ff. 118v–119.

Fig. 29. Double folio from the Qur’an written for the Sultan of Lahore, India, 1573, Add. 18489, ff. 118v–119.

Photo: © British Library, London.

Fig. 30. Imitation marble dado on the northeastern wall in Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s dome chamber.

Fig. 30. Imitation marble dado on the northeastern wall in Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s dome chamber.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 31. Detail of marble dado with rūmī arabesques.

Fig. 31. Detail of marble dado with rūmī arabesques.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 32. Detail of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s cenotaph.

Fig. 32. Detail of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s cenotaph.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

Fig. 33. Detail of soffit with acanthus leaves and European designs, Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Fig. 33. Detail of soffit with acanthus leaves and European designs, Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.

Photo: Mai Kolkailah.

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Bibliographie

Working tools

EncIr = Encyclopaedia Iranica, New York, online, 1996-

      J.T.P. De Bruijn, “Chronograms”, EncIr, 2011, en ligne : https://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/chronograms-pers

      M. Ekhtiar, “Sanglāḵ, Moḥammad-ʿAli”, EncIr, 2008, en ligne : https://iranicaonline.org/articles/sanglakh

      P. Losensky, “Mādda tāriḵ”, EncIr, 2006, en ligne : https://iranicaonline.org/articles/madda-tarik-chronogram

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Notes

1 Fahmy 2009, pp. 1–3.

2 For a literature review on Muḥammad ʿAlī’s family roots, see Lowry, Erünsal 2011, pp. 1–4.

3 al-Sayyid Marsot 1984, p. 25.

4 al-Sayyid Marsot 1984, p. 117.

5 El-Ashmouni, Bartsch 2014, p. 56.

6 Ṣabat 1966, p. 133; Hassan 2021, pp. 2, 4, 16; according to Sabat and Hassan, Muḥammad ʿAlī issued a decree to establish the Bulaq Press by 1815, the construction started in 1819, the grand opening was in 1821, and the first printed work was completed by 1822.

7 For a detailed survey of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s palaces, see El-Ǧawhary 1954; ʿAbd al-Raḥman 2005.

8 For an overview of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s architectural commissions, see Rizq 2003, vol. 5, 26; ʿAbd Allāh, ʿAbd al-Sattār ʿUthmān 2004, pp. 297–298.

9 A more detailed analysis of Ḥūš al-Bāšā’s decorative repertoire will be further discussed in the upcoming sections of this paper with reference to Muḥammad ʿAlī’s architectural achievements, political ambitions, and other stylistic precedents that shaped the royal cemetery’s adopted modes of ornamentation.

10 Kenny 1967, p. 51.

11 Mubārak 1980, p. 246; the original text reads: “wa-dafn al mawtā al-ʾān fī ḫamsat maḥalāt ḫāriǧ al-balad wa-hiyya qarāfat al-Sayyida Nafīsa, wa-qarāfat al-Imām al-Šāfʿī wa-biha madfan al-fāmilīā, wa-qarfat Bāb al-wazīr, wa-qarafāt al-muǧāwrīn wa-qāytbāy, wa-qarāfat of Bāb al-Naṣr.”

12 Ibn ʿUthmān 1995, pp. 483–496.

13 al-Maqrīzī, al-Mawāʿiẓ, pp. 850–851; the original text reads: “iʿlam an al-nās fī al-qadīm inamā kānū yaqburūn mawtāhum fī-mā bayn masǧid al-fatḥ wa-safḥ al-muqaṭṭam wa-tāḫaḍū al-turab al-ǧalīla aīḍān […] wa-tuʿraf al-ān bi-l-qarāfa al-kubrā. fa-lamā dafan al-Malik al-Kāmil Muḥammad ibn al-ʿAdl Abī Bakr ibn Ayyūb ibnah fī sanat thamān wa-sutmāʾa bi-ǧwār qabr al-Imām ibn idrīs al-Šāfʿī wa-banā al-qubba al-ʿaẓīma ʿalā qabr al-Šāfiʿī wa-āǧrā lahā al-māʾ min birkat al-ḥabash bi-qanāṭir mutaṣila minha naql al-nās al-abniyya min al-qarāfa al-kubrā ilā mā ḥawl al-Šāfiʿī wa-ānšaʾū hunāk al-turab fa-ʿurifat bi-l-qarāfa al-ṣuġrā wa-aḫadat ʿamāʾrha fī al-zīyyāda wa-talāšat amr tilk”.

14 Creswell 1952, vol. 2, p. 64.

15 Mulder 2006, p. 22.

16 O’Kane 2016, p. 51; Behrens-Abouseif 1989, p. 85; Williams 1985, p. 57.

17 According to Behrens-Abouseif, “the mausoleum of al-Imām al‑Shafiʿi continued to be highly venerated in the Ottoman period; in the 18th century the newly appointed governors, upon their arrival in Cairo, would visit the saint’s shrine before riding to the Citadel”, see Behrens-Abouseif (2001, p. 75); I am grateful to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library at the American University in Cairo for recently acquiring a copy of Papers Submitted to International Symposium on Ottoman Heritage in the Middle East when I could not have otherwise obtained an official copy of this article by Behrens-Abouseif.

18 Al-Ibrashy 2005, p. 203.

19 Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, vol. 1, p. 42.

20 Marcel, Égypte, p. 43 ; the original texts states: “Les obsèques du prince furent célébrées avec beaucoup de pompe ; un nombreux cortège de dignitaires militaires et civils accompagna le convoi funèbre, et Méhémet-Ali suivit à pied les restes de son fils jusqu’à l’Imam-Chafay, au lieu destiné à l’inhumation des membres de sa famille. D’abondantes aumônes furent distribuées aux pauvres et aux mosquées. Le sépulcre de Toussoun est une construction en dôme, de forme arabe.”

21 Ibrahim Ilhāmy Pāshā was the only son of ʿAbbās Ḥelmy I (r. 1848–1854), the grandson of Ṭūsūn Pāshā, and the great grandson of Muḥammad ʿAlī Pāshā; for a photo layout of Egypt’s rulers and their offspring from Muḥammad ʿAlī’s dynasty, see Sabit, Farag 1993.

22 Ḫadīǧa Hānim (d. 1220/1805), Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s Daughter who is buried in chamber 12, has the earliest death date and the oldest cenotaph in Ḥūš al-Bāšā.

23 Caroline Williams remarks that “in an outer room, several to a cenotaph, lie the mamluks or retainers of Muḥammad ʿAlī”, see Williams 2008, p. 126; Ṭūsūn’s bronze maqsura creates a divide between his dome chamber and the shallow domed-chambers behind it, which could be the area Williams is referring to in her text; however, there are no Mamluks buried there or anywhere else in Ḥūš al-Bāšā for that matter. The only “retainers” buried in the royal cemetery are Gūlfīdān (d. 1228/1813) and Šams Ǧahan (d. 1228/1813). A similar remark can be found in Architecture for the Dead, whereby it is stated that “to the west of al-Imām al-Shafiʿi rise the five domes of Hawsh al-Basha, the khedival tombs containing some of the family of Muhammad ʿAli together with the fifty Mamluks he had had assassinated when he came to power”, see El-Kadi, Bonnamy 2007, p. 67. While Williams does not cite a reference for this information, El-Kadi and Bonnamy cite Massignon 1958, p. 62. Massignon does not discuss Ḥūš al-Bāšā in the cited article and only mentions the “Khedival tombs” as one of the cemeteries within close proximity to the tomb of al‑Imām al-Šāfʿī, see Massignon 1958, p. 59. This exciting notion that Muḥammad ʿAlī buried his enemies in the royal cemetery, be it out of respect or dominance, is formed by a tangled web of misinformation elaborately perpetuated by Ḥūš al-Bāšā’s tour guides and unfortunately circulated by modern scholars.

24 Such was the case with Mahivech Qadīn Hānim who died later in the nineteenth century but was still buried in Ṭūsūn’s chamber instead of her husband’s ʿAbbās Ḥelmy I along with their son Ibrahim Ilhāmy Pāshā.

25 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 109.

26 Clot-Bey, Aperçu général sur l’Égypte, vol. 2, pp. 555–556; the original text reads: “Dans le cimetière de l’Imam, au sud de la ville du Caire, on trouve un long bâtiment construit sous la dynastie des Mamelouks, près le grand dôme de I’Imam Chafei. Dans ce bâtiment, Méhémet-Ali-Pacha, vice-roi d’Égypte, a élevé un tombeau à son fils Toussoun-Pacha, mort de la peste au retour de son expédition de Hedjaz (Arabie déserte), et plusieurs tombeaux à d’autres membres de sa famille, morts depuis qu’il gouverne l’Égypte.”

27 Diwan al-madāris, p. 99; Mahran 1998, p. 104; the original text reads: “anahu kān yaʿlū Bāb al-madfan qabl taǧdīdah al-ḥālī lawḥa ruḫāmiyya maktūba bi-l-luġa al-turkīyya wa-mūʾaraḫa sanat 1223 hiǧrī”.

28 Pückler-Muskau, Die Rückkehr, vol. 1, p. 224; Behrens-Abouseif 2001, p. 78; the original text reads: “Höchst sonderbar erscheint es mir, dass hier in einem alten Mamlukengrabe Mehemed ʿAli seine Familiengruft und sein eigenens Grab etabliert und erst kürzlich ganz neu eingerichtet hat. Es scheint, dass er seinen alten Feinden auch noch im Tode trotzen will”.

29 Coste, L’Architecture arabe, p. 46; the original text reads: “Dans le cimetière de l’Imam, au sud de la ville du Caire, on trouve un long bâtiment à un seul étage avec arcades, richement orné, construit sous la dynastie des Mameluks, près le grand dôme de l’imam Chafei”; Coste’s visual and textual work on Ḥūš al-Bāšā will be discussed in depth at a later point in this study.

30 Ismāʿīl 1997, pp. 114–115.

31 al-Jabarti, al-Tārīkh, vol. 2, pp. 539–540; the original text reads: “wa-ḏahabū bih ilā al-madfan al-laḏy aʿdahu albāšā li-nafsahu wa-l-mawtāhi”.

32 Qurʾan 4:78; the original text reads: “bismillāh al-Raḥman al-raḥīm, qāl Allāh tabārak wa-taʿāllā aynamā takūnū yudrikkum al-mawt wa-law kuntum fī burūǧ mušaīyyada. Unšīʾa wa-ǧaddad haḏa al-madfan saʿadat afandīnā al-mufḫam Muḥammad al-Šarīf bik ǧaddadah fī mudat ḥayātihi bi-dāḫil ḥūš walī al-niʿam al-ḫidīwī bi-ǧwār sīdī al-Imām al-Šāfiʿī wa-ḥawwā fīh min Allāh al-thawāb al-ǧarī fī fa-ʾāriḫū haḏihi bi-ṣidq ǧalāl al-anwār”.

33 Ismāʿīl 1997, pp. 114–115; Darwish 2013, p. 145; Bakr 2011, p. 77; Muṣṭafā 2003, p. 46.

34 Barakat 1991, p. 118.

35 Mahran 1998, pp. 131–132; this foundation inscription as well as the stelae inscriptions on the cenotaphs of Ibrāhīm Pāshā and ʿAbbās Helmi Pāshā I were also published later by ʿAbd Allāh and ʿAbd al-Sattār ʿUthmān 2004, pp. 306–314; the original Persian foundation inscription reads: “dar ʿahd-i Sulṭān-i salāṭīn-i zamān/va-ḫāqān-i ḫavāqīn-i ǧahān/ʿAbd al-Maǧīd ḫān ḫallada Allāh mulkah/īn tarkīb-i ḫūsh tarkīb rā/ǧiha ǧannat-i ǧāygāh-i Ibrāhīm Pāshā/Farzandān-i ḏawy al-iḥtirāmash/Aḥmad Pāshā va-Ismāʿīl Pāshā/va-haẓrat-i Muṣṭafā Pāshā dar sanat 1270/Bā-zīnat-i tamām rasānīdand/Rāqimuhu Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānī”.

36 Diwan al-madāris, p. 99; the original text reads: “ṣadar al-amr bi-l-mūwāfqa ʿala al-ṭalab al-muqadam min aṣḥab al-saʿāda Aḥmad Pāshā wa-Ismāʿīl Pāshā wa Muṣṭafā bik anǧāl al-marḥūm Ibrāhīm Pāshā bi-ḫuṣūṣ al-taṣrīḥ bi-fatḥ fatḥa fī al-ḥāʾiṭ al-baḥarī l-yudḫīl tarkībat qabr al-Pāshā al-marhūm ila maqarihā ʿala an takūn maṣārīf al-hadm wa-l-bināʾ ʿala ṭaraf al-umarāʾ al-maḏkūrīn”.

37 The exterior rusticated masonry on the western wall of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s chamber shows a clear break in bond from the roof to the ground, indicating precisely where the northern wall of the chamber was removed and reattached.

38 Due to the large number of drawings Coste had produced of Ḥūš al-Bāšā and the fact that some of these drawings share the same plate numbers, some renditions will be referred to by plate number and, in parentheses, the number under which the rendition is listed at the Bibliothèque de Marseille for further specification. The plates included in this discussion are: the inked sketch titled “Ville du Caire” depicting an internal view of the cemetery (MS 1310–fol. 70b) accompanied by an architectural plan (MS 1310–fol. 70a), plate LXIV (RES 52347) depicting a line drawing of the same internal view, Plate LXIV (RES52346) depicting a shaded version of the aforementioned line drawing, plate XXIX_LXIV depicting the most complete black and white version of the same view, and plate XXX for a colored rendition of the cemetery.

39 Coste, L’Architecture arabe, p. 46, pl. LXIV; the original text in reference to this drawing reads: “La planche LXIV représente la vue de ces tombeaux. Le premier que l’on voit à droite, le plus riche et d’une plus grande dimension, est celui de son fils Toussoun-Pacha, mort de la peste au retour de son expédition de Hedjaz (Arabie Déserte). Dans ceux à gauche sont déposés les garçons et les filles du vice-roi morts en bas âge. Ceux de derrière appartiennent à Moustapha-Beï, son beau-père, et à ses enfants. Dans les derniers se trouvent plusieurs femmes du pacha.”

40 Personal communication with the Bibliothèque de Marseille on January 10, 2023.

41 Coste, Mémoires d’un artiste, vol. 1, pp. 65, 79.

42 Coste, Mémoires d’un artiste, vol. 1, pp. 44, 46.

43 Behrens-Abouseif 2001, pp. 76–77.

44 Marcel, Égypte, p. 43.

45 Brocchi, Giornale delle osservazioni, vol. 1, p. 200; the original text reads in Italian: “il cimitero del Bascià è in questa vicinanza accanto ad un villaggio, e si distingue dagli altri per la sua ampiezza e per una cupola abbastanza elevata. Essendovi passato dappresso ad una certa distanza vidi all’intorno di esso parecchie tende ov’ erano accampati i soldati posti a guardia delle donne del serraglio di Ismaele Bascià, morto di recente nel Senaar, le quali erano chiuse là entro per piangere il defunto alla maniera de’ Turchi”.

46 Troelenberg 2015, p. 301.

47 Coste, Mémoires d’un artiste, vol. 1, p. 66; the original texts reads: “je profitai de mes vacances pour me rendre à Paris, en emportant avec moi ma collection achevée, avec des vues coloriées sur l’architecture arabe du Caire. Je m’empressai de la soumettre à mon ami M. Huyot, architecte; il en fut satisfait. Nous la présentâmes au ministre des Beaux-Arts. Séduit par la nouveauté de cette architecture et par mes dessins coloriés, il accorda une subvention de 25,000 francs pour la publication. MM. Firmin Didot furent chargés de l’éditer. M. Huyot avait bien voulu surveiller et diriger les graveurs pendant mon absence. Il avait aussi le soin de m’envoyer les épreuves, pour pouvoir les corriger et signer le bon à tirer après les corrections.”

48 For more on Coste’s abandoned designs of Muḥammad ʿAlī Mosque and a mosque in Alexandria, see Rabbat 2005, 18 special; Pascal Coste, 1998, fols. 47–48, pp. 110, 112–113; and Troelenberg 2015, pp. 301–303.

49 Coste, Mémoires d’un artiste, vol. 1, p. 43.

50 Coste, L’Architecture arabe, p. 46.

51 Lushington, Narrative of a Journey, p. 137.

52 St. John, Egypt and Mohammed Ali, pp. 135–136.

53 Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, vol. 1, p. 42.

54 Wilde, Narrative of a Voyage, pp. 217–218.

55 Goupil-Fesquet, Vernet, Voyage d’Horace Vernet, p. 102; the original text reads: “L’intérieur en est fort simple; des tapis somptueux et quelques dorures appliquées sur les ornements de marbre des sépulcres.”

56 Wiet 1959, p. 262; the original text reads: “Tous les tombeaux de la famille de Mohammed Ali sont d’un goût déplorable, rococo, canova, europo-oriental, peintures et guirlandes de cabaret; et par là-dessus des petits lustres de bal.

57 Du Camp, Le Nil, p. 56; the original text reads: “Sous une coupole constantinopolitaine, dans une chambre très grande, construite en matériaux fort précieux, mais si mal disposés qu’ils en deviennent laids, on a réuni tout ce qui peut donner une idée du mauvais goût des Turcs. Les stèles jaunes, bleues, rouges, chagrinées de rinceaux dorés, coiffées de turbans impossibles et de tarbouches invraisemblables, se dressent sur des sépulcres enluminés de tons si criards et si disparates, qu’ils font cligner les yeux et agacent les oreilles comme les fausses notes d’un flageolet soufflé par un enfant.”

58 The original text reads: “ḫdiwīnā Tawfīq ānšaʾ bi-birrihi maqāmā bihi al-raḥmāt lāḥ ḍīāʾūha l-wālidat wāftha tārīḫuha badā Šafaq Nūr fī al-naʿīm hanāʾūhā”.

59 Mahran 1998, p. 114.

60 Al-Ibrashy 2005, p. 194.

61 For detailed surveys of Ottoman architecture in Cairo from the early sixteenth century to the eighteenth century, see Abu al-ʿAmayim 2003; Karim, El-Mahy 2021.

62 According to Karim and El-Mahy architecture commissioned during the eighteenth century in Egypt were predominantly mosques that were either built or rebuilt by ʿAbd al-Raḥman Katḫuda, see Karim and El-Mahy 2021, p. 133.

63 Flood 2009, p. 262; Bhabha 2004, p. 55.

64 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 114.

65 Wiet 1959, p. 262; the original text reads: “Il y a là plus de soixante tombes, grandes et petites, neuves pour la plupart, et composées de cippes de marbre blanc. Chacun de ces cippes est surmonté soit d’un turban, soit d’une coiffure de femme, ce qui donne à toutes les tombes turques un caractère de réalité funèbre ; il semble que l’on marche à travers une foule pétrifiée. Les plus importants de ces tombeaux sont drapés de riches étoffes et portent des turbans de soie et de cachemire : Là l’illusion est plus poignante encore.”

66 Williams 2008, p. 126.

67 Qurʾan 88:8-10.

68 Wilde, Narrative of a Voyage, p. 217.

69 Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, vol. 1, p. 42.

70 Cruzon, Visits to Monasteries, p. 50.

71 Fromentin, Voyage en Égypte, p. 143: the original text reads: “des lettrés ayant sur un pupitre de main un volume du Coran, sur lequel ils méditent gravement ou qu’ils lisent à demi-voix ; il y en a qui murmurent des litanies.”

72 Wilde, Narrative of a Voyage, p. 218.

73 Qurʾan 55:26–27.

74 Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānī was one of the greatest calligraphers of the Qajar era, who gained fame across the Islamic world. This raises the possibility that Ḥusnī, like Sanglāḫ, was also a calligrapher. It is more likely that the term “raqimahu refers to an artisan with a particular skill set than a building craftsman who is related to the engineering aspect, partly because an architect is already mentioned in the foundation inscription of Šafaq Nūr’s chamber, but mainly because the term has been linked to an established calligrapher such as Sanglāḫ who worked with chronograms; however, the connotations of the terminology used to designate the tasks and skills of the craftsmen remain ambiguous. For more information on Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānī, see ʿAzab, Ḥasan 2011, p. 59; Storey 1927, vol. 2, pt. 1, p. 1077.

75 The early history of the chronogram has not been fully deciphered; however, it is certain that this literary tradition is traced back to Persian poetry before it was practiced in Arabic, Turkish, and other languages. Chronogram poems, such as the one presented by the foundation inscription of Šafaq Nūr’s chamber and many other tombstones in Ḥūš al-Bāšā, are a genre of poetry that present the significant date on which an event has occurred in verse. The chronogram poem gained popularity in Iran during the fifteenth century and became more commonly used for funerary inscriptions from the mid-sixteenth century onwards; see De Bruijn 2011; Losensky 2006; Kanda 2017, p. 277; and for a study on the prevalence of chronograms during the Ottoman period, see also Bauer 2003, p. 514.

76 Formed by adding the numerical values of the letters based on the abjad system.

77 On the other hand, Kanda argues that the targeted audiences of chronograms were most likely the visitors of the graves who may have commemorated the deceased by reading the funerary chronogrammatic poems aloud; see Kanda 2017, p. 281.

78 Masarwa 2017, p. 177.

79 Bierman 1991, p. 69.

80 ʿAbd Allāh, ʿAbd al-Sattār ʿUthmān 2004, pp. 313–314.

81 Masarwa 2017, p. 178.

82 The original Arabic inscription reads: “wa-daʿāh Riḍwān bušrāk ʾārakh zuīnat li-l-qudūm janna ʿadn”.

83 Turkish had been used orally in the Egyptian scene and mainly as a spoken language at the court of the Mamluks; however, it was neither the language of inscriptions nor was it incorporated in the epigraphic program of monuments in Cairo until the Ottoman period.

84 O’Kane 2009, p. 9.

85 Personal communication on November 9, 2020.

86 Fromentin, Voyage en Égypte, pp. 142–143; the original text reads: “La nécropole de Méhémet-Ali vaut qu’on la visite. Chapelle royale, comme à Saint-Denis. Abbas est là sous un tombeau de mauvais goût. Il y a des enfants dans leur tombe, plus petite et moins ornée. Celle d’Ibrahim pacha seule est belle et rend très sérieux, peut-être à cause du nom du mort. Elle a la forme consacrée, élevée sur des degrés ou des paliers successifs, en forme d’autel, tout en marbre, finement, curieusement, très fortement travaillée au ciseau en haut relief. Tout ce qui est fond est peint d’un bleu indigo foncé. La dentelle des arabesques, des chiffres, des caractères arabes dont elle est chargée du haut en bas, est dorée d’un or très épais. On dirait du bois sculpté sans grand goût, mais d’une main très habile. Un rideau vert, relevé par les angles, lui sert de dais, et deux grands étendards de guerre, en soie cramoisie et verte, bordée et brodée d’or fané, forment de chaque côté une noble et martiale tenture.”

87 Sanglāḫ Ḫurāsānīī’s signature can be found on the ablution fountain of Muḥammad ʿAlī’s mosque along with a date on the epigraphic friezes, in quatrefoils centered below the Qurʾanic inscriptions.

88 Ekhtiar 2008.

89 Ersoy 2015, p. 202.

90 De Launay et al., L’architecture ottomane, p. 71; the original text reads: “les artistes ottomans ne sont pas allés chercher bien loin les types de leur ornementation ; ils les ont pris parmi les plantes du potager ou les fleurs du jardin de leur propre maison. La forme naturelle a subi entre leurs mains diverses modifications successives et a fini par prendre un caractère conventionnel, caractère qui convient éminemment à la décoration, La forme des feuillages, des fruits et des fleurs ayant acquis ainsi des qualités nouvelles, qui les ont mises en harmonie parfaite avec la nature des matériaux employés pour les représenter.”

91 Ersoy 2015, p. 179.

92 De Launay et al., 1873, p. 73; the original text reads: “les conceptions chinoises ne leur étaient pas inconnues. Ils en ont étudié les motifs ingénieux, les ont analysés et modifiés, et ne les ont jamais copiés servilement. Dessinateurs d’une habileté extrême, ils ont poursuivi attentivement un but qu’ils s’étaient tracé d’avance, et ont calculé avec soin toutes les transformations qu’ils ont voulu opérer. En faisant ainsi passer dans le domaine de l’art ottoman certaines conceptions des artistes chinois, ils ne les ont pas acceptées sans leur faire subir de notables améliorations, et n’ont jamais, par exemple, laissé introduire chez eux les discontinuités monstrueuses qui caractérisent l’ornementation chinoise.

93 Examples of chinoiserie appear on the façade of the Complex of Sulṭān Ḥasan (1356–1363) and the cenotaph in the Madrasa of Sarġatmiš (1356); for a discussion about chinoiserie elements on Mamluk art and architecture, see Abou-Khatwa 2020, pp. 311–348.

94 Hattstein, Delius 2004, p. 127; Rüstem 2019, p. 37.

95 O’Kane, Abbas, Abdulfattah 2012, pp. 84–85.

96 Silk Fragment with Circular Rosace-like Floriate Medallions, first half of the sixteenth century, New York, The Metropolitan Museum, no. 52.20.18a–e; Ekhtiar 2011, p. 319.

97 O’Kane 2014, p. 323; O’Kane describes the motif of rūmī arabesques in relation to the minbar of the ğamiʿ of Nūrī at Hamā (1163–1164).

98 “Koranpult (Möbel)”, mid-13th century, Berlin, The Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, no. I. 584; Mihrab from the Damsaköy Taşkınpaşa Mosque, 1256–1438, Ankara, The Ankara Ethnographic Museum, 11541; “Sanduka ve Tabut”, no. 1251, Istanbul, The Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, no. 191, no. 195; Cenotaph from the Mausoleum of Maḥmūd Khayranī in Aksehir, c.1340, Istanbul, the David Collection, no. 26/1976.

99 Levey 1975, p. 117.

100 It is worth noting the minaret helmet of Amir Qawsun’s mausoleum, which is of the same date (1336), employs the same ribbed design as the dome but translated in stone; for more on the ribbed domes of monuments in Cairo, see Kessler, Fathy 1976, pp. 4–10.

101 Baer 1998, p. 125.

102 Rüstem 2019, p. 64.

103 Avcioğlu, Volait 2017, vol. 2, p. 1123.

104 Avcioğlu, Volait 2017, vol. 2, p. 1123.

105 Endelman 2018, p. 818.

106 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 4.

107 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 37.

108 Rüstem 2019, p. 70.

109 Rüstem 2019, p. 142.

110 Ersoy 2015, p. 12.

111 Behrens-Abouseif, Vernoit 2006, p. 110; El-Ashmouni, Bartsch 2014, p. 56.

112 Rüstem 2019, p. 95.

113 These two Armenian tombstones were first published by Rüstem 2019, p. 95.

114 Bates 1985, p. 124.

115 Bates 1985, p. 122; though these reformist documents and archived decrees are not directly linked to Ḥūš al-Bāšā, they should still be taken into account for their representation of the ideas and ideals that ultimately shaped this mausoleum.

116 Endelman 2018, p. 818.

117 Descendants of those buried at Ḥūš al-Bāšā continued to be buried there until 1902 despite the erection of the Funerary Mosque of al-Rifāʿī (1869–1912), which eventually supplemented Ḥūš al-Bāšā as a newer, larger, and more central dynastic burial place of choice.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. The main entrance of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 256k
Titre Fig. 2. Plan of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā indicating building chronology.
Légende 1. stone fence; 2. main entrance; 3. entrance vestibule; 4. kitchen and dependencies; 5. arcade; 6. intermediate vestibule; 7. stone portal; 8. rectangular hall with wooden roof; 9. Šafaq Nūr’s dome chamber; 10. Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s dome chamber; 11. shallow dome chamber; 12. shallow dome chamber; 13. Ismāʿīl Pāshā’s dome chamber; 14. Amīna Hānim’s dome chamber; 15. dome chamber; 16. Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s dome chamber; 17. ʿAbbās Pāshā’s dome chamber; 18. courtyard
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 830k
Titre Fig. 3. The stone-carved portal preceding the rectangular hall.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Titre Fig. 4. The tomb and dome chamber of Šafaq Nūr.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,8M
Titre Fig. 5. The bronze maqsura surrounding Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s cenotaph.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Titre Fig. 6. Interior view from Amīna Hānim’s dome chamber looking towards Ismāʿīl Pāshā’s chamber, followed by Ṭūsūn Pāshā’s chamber; the windows between the trilobed arches are purely decorative and filled with rubble masonry.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 908k
Titre Fig. 7. Mausoleum of Mehmet Ali and his family at Cairo, by Antonio Schranz Jr., ca. 1840–1850, London, The Victoria and Albert Museum, SD.951.
Crédits Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 987k
Titre Fig. 8. Interior view from chamber 15 to chamber 16, showing the wall segments protruding to either side of the doorway in the the adjacent chamber as well as the tension between the grilled window and the muqarnas of the squinch directly above it.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,7M
Titre Fig. 9a. Cenotaph of ʿAlī, son of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1836–1837).
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,9M
Titre Fig. 9b. Cenotaph of Ibrāhīm Pāshā Yakan, nephew of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1845–1846).
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,9M
Titre Fig. 9c. Cenotaph of Muḥammad Bey the Daftardar (d. 1833–1834)
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,6M
Titre Fig. 10. Cenotaph of Zahraʾ ʿAʾiša, the daughter of Muḥammad ʿAlī (d. 1831) and Kulthūm, the daughter of ʿAlī Ṭūsūn (d. 1861).
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,9M
Titre Fig 11. Interior view of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,0M
Titre Fig. 12. Vue des tombeaux de la famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. XXIX_LXIV.
Crédits Photo: © Bibliothèque de Marseille, Fonds patrimoniaux : Res52346, pl. XXIX_LXIV.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 4,3M
Titre Fig. 13. Ville du Caire : vue du tombeau de Toussoun Pacha, fils de Mohamed Ali Pacha, vice-roi d’Égypte, bâti dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, 1822, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille.
Crédits Photo: © Bibliothèque de Marseille, Fonds patrimoniaux : MS 1310–fols. 70a–b.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,1M
Titre Fig. 14. Vue des Tombeaux de la Famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. LXIV.
Crédits Photo: © Bibliothèque de Marseille, Fonds patrimoniaux : Res52347, pl. LXIV.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,0M
Titre Fig. 15. Vue des Tombeaux de la Famille de Mohamed-Aly-Pacha, dans le cimetière de l’Imām, by Pascal Coste, ca. 1837–1839, Marseille, The Municipal Library of Marseille, pl. LVIX.
Crédits Photo: © Bibliothèque de Marseille, Fonds patrimoniaux : Res52346, pl. LXIV.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,4M
Titre Fig. 16. Theoretical plan for Ḥūš al‑Bāšā, ca. 1838.
Crédits Drawing: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 270k
Titre Fig. 17. Foundation inscription panel above the doorway of Šafaq Nūr’s dome chamber.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 380k
Titre Fig. 18a–c. Stelae stylizations for female royals in Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.
Légende a. stele of Mahivech Qadīn Hānim’s tomb; b. stele of Amīna Hānim’s tomb; c. stele of Fātima Hānim’s tomb.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,3M
Titre Fig. 19. The dome above the entrance vestibule of Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Titre Fig. 20. The tomb of Ibrāhīm Pāshā.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,6M
Titre Fig. 21. Detail of chinese flower on Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s tomb.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Titre Fig. 22. The tomb of Muṣṭafā Bey.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-24.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,3M
Titre Fig. 23a–b. The tomb of Ḫalīl Pāshā Yakan and Muṣṭafā Pāshā Yakan.
Légende a. northern side of the shared cenotaph; b. eastern stelae with cornucopia.
Crédits Photos: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-25.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,8M
Titre Fig. 24. Detail of cornucopia on the tomb of Šams Hānim, the wife of Muḥammad ʿAlī.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-26.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Titre Fig. 25. Detail of the mihrab in the Mausoleum of al-Saliḥ Nağm al-Dīn, 1250.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-27.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 725k
Titre Fig. 26a. Detail of Šafaq Nūr’s cenotaph.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-28.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 618k
Titre Fig. 26b. Detail of Sulṭān Aḥmed III’s fountain, 1728, Istanbul.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-29.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,1M
Titre Fig. 27. Detail of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s cenotaph.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-30.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,0M
Titre Fig. 28. Window Wings, originally from the Mausoleum of Sheikh Neğmeddīn Ishakoğlu, Istanbul, 1274, The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, 1914, 196 a–b.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-31.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,9M
Titre Fig. 29. Double folio from the Qur’an written for the Sultan of Lahore, India, 1573, Add. 18489, ff. 118v–119.
Crédits Photo: © British Library, London.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-32.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,2M
Titre Fig. 30. Imitation marble dado on the northeastern wall in Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s dome chamber.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-33.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,9M
Titre Fig. 31. Detail of marble dado with rūmī arabesques.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-34.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,1M
Titre Fig. 32. Detail of Ibrāhīm Pāshā’s cenotaph.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-35.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Titre Fig. 33. Detail of soffit with acanthus leaves and European designs, Ḥūš al‑Bāšā.
Crédits Photo: Mai Kolkailah.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/docannexe/image/13181/img-36.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,9M
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Mai Mohamed Kolkailah, « Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. The Royal Cemetery in Cairo »Annales islamologiques, 57 | 2023, 273-341.

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Mai Mohamed Kolkailah, « Ḥūš al‑Bāšā. The Royal Cemetery in Cairo »Annales islamologiques [En ligne], 57 | 2023, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2024, consulté le 23 avril 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/anisl/13181 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/anisl.13181

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Mai Mohamed Kolkailah

independent scholar

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