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

By Ellen Kenney

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

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

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

ISBN 978-0-9708199-4-9
Hardcover, $79.95

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Chicago Studies on the Middle East
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Editor: Bruce D. Craig
Advisory Committee:
Fred M. Donner
Marlis Saleh
Holly Shissler
John E. Woods
For further information, please email Marlis J. Saleh: msaleh[at] (replace [at] with @)

Chicago Studies on the Middle East is published on behalf of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies by the Middle East Documentation Center.

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