Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Building craftsmen in Mamluk society, 648-923/1250-1517 : the professional muhandis in context
Author: Abdulkarim, Amenah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 7986
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This study examines the building craft in Cairo and other major cities during the Mamluk era (1250-1517). In contrast with much current scholarship, this study argues for the existence of a group of educated professionals, usually called muhandisīn (singular: muhandis) who were both familiar with the theoretical literature and involved in building construction. This group acted as the top professionals of the building craft. They were certified by the qāḍī's court as authoritative experts in their profession and were represented in their society as respected figures. The study also argues that as a part of this conception of the muhandis, we should move away from modern characterisations of the science of handasah as a sort of geometry. Mamluk authors saw handasah as an applied science which included subfields now seen as belonging to mathematics, geometry, mechanics, and physics. Treatises on the application of scientific concepts to the building craft circulated widely, including some specifically aimed at building craftsmen. Finally, this thesis argues that the theoretical knowledge held by educated muhandisīn aided them in producing plans and visual representations, gave them a position as legal experts, and distinguished them from masons and builders. In ninth/fifteenth-century Mamluk Egypt, this group of educated professionals at the top of the building profession likely became more prominent and developed a professionalised identity under the term miʽmār. The Mamluk muhandis' mastery of scientific literature on construction, visual representation, and distinct identity from ordinary masons and builders allow us to place the Mamluk muhandis on the same level as the Renaissance architect.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available