Guide to Mamluk Art
Welcome to this growing
display. The Mamluks ruled an empire based in Egypt that
extended west to Syria north into what is now Central Turkey and south
into the Sudan. Of course that included Palestine and the Levant as
well. Their rule lasted from from 1250 to 1517.
means "slave" or "owned" in Arabic and the Mamluks trace their origin
to a slave caste of Cicassian bought by the Ayyubid sultans.
Realizing the military potential of the warlike Turks they quickly
became the bodyguards and elite shock troops of the Ayyubid dynasty.
The Mamluks finally grew stronger than their masters overthrowing the
last Ayyubid Sultan Turanshah in 1250.
The Mamluk reign was one of
fighting but also of culture and riches. Sitting on top of major trade
routes including the Nile river, the western terminus of the Silk Route
and the short caravan route that provided access between the
Mediterranean and the Red Sea (the sea route to India). Until the
Portuguese circumnavigated the Horn of Africa the Mamluks were at the
hub of world trade.
Mamluk Sultans of Egypt