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Bâtir une coupole en pierre de taille. La coupole du mausolée de l’émir Khayr Bek au Caire : dessin, construction et décor
Stone domes of Cairo, built throughout the Mamluk period represent one of the most significant features of Cairean construction techniques used during the 14th to 17th centuries. The stone dome of Emir Khayerbek’Mausoleum, constructed between 1502 and 1520 illustrates the high degree of technical skill needed as well as demonstrating architectural and artistic ability. A new survey and field study of the dome has enabled the author to shed new light on the building’s structure, construction materials and decorative plan. Such a survey makes possible the identification and illustration of important yet previously undocumented building techniques. Among these techniques is an understanding of how the builders organised the use of iron cramps to connect together the stone courses of the dome as well as the arrangement of the inclined mortar joints linking together the value of the keystone and the use of compression. Another technique and moreover an important theme of enquiry since the project’s inception is the association between the structure itself and decorative elements such as the sculpted detail on the extrados. These new findings enable us to formulate a hypothesis for the construction phase of the building and to understand with greater detail the synthetic approach of the builders as well as their virtuosity in design techniques.
Keywords: Mamluk architecture, Dome, Building technique.
- Christophe Bouleau