The political and economic contexts of Fāṭimid female patronage during the reign of al-‘Azīz (365/975-386/996)

Cortese, Delia (2008) The political and economic contexts of Fāṭimid female patronage during the reign of al-‘Azīz (365/975-386/996). Alifba. Studi Arabo-Islamici e Mediterranei, 22 . pp. 81-94.

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Abstract

The very ‘public’ character inherent in acts of patronage raises questions on the nature, extent, motivations and impact of this type of female agency because of the marginality typically – and, at times, stereotypically - associated with women in the Islamic world, past and present, whether royal or common. In this paper I will address these questions à propos of Fāṭimid royal architectural patronesses, with the focus on the most prolific of them, Durzān (d. 385/995), nicknamed Taghrīd, consort of the Fāṭimid imam-caliph al-Mu‘izz (d. 365/975 ) and mother of his successor, al-‘Azīz (d. 386/996). Her name is linked to several constructions in the Cairo/Fusṭāṭ area, mentioned in sources but no longer extant, which include the Qarāfa mosque, a qaṣr, a ḥammām, a garden, a well and a hydraulic pump to feed a cistern as well as a pavilion, a basin in the courtyard of the Ibn Ṭūlūn mosque and a mausoleum. My answers will be based on the ‘circumstantial evidence’ provided by the contextualised analysis of the political and economic climates that prevailed in Egypt at the time of the building activity ascribed to her. The broader view is to suggest alternative interpretative keys that may open additional lines of investigation to be considered towards the revisiting of existing analyses of female patronage in the broader Islamic world.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Perspectives in Religion group
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Health and Education > Education > Interpreting and Translation group
ID Code:9054
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Deposited On:24 May 2012 10:41
Last Modified:12 Dec 2014 10:39

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