some pics from the library trip yesterday. It was such a cute library with manuscripts from all different religions and books from back in the Sufi days and Quranic scripts from the Mamluk era just perfect 😻
This cap was used in Mamluk Egypt, a period during which textiles were perhaps the most precious items in Islamic society. Its finely-woven blue silk fabric is interlaced with ‘strap gold’: strips of membrane coated with real gold foil, making it among the most expensive and desired fabric types in Egypt at this time. The fabric’s fine, firm weave structure and use of untwisted silks indicate a Chinese origin for the fabric, which likely arrived in Egypt by means of the famed Silk Road. The geometric and interlace designs of the embroidery, however, reflect medieval Islamic tastes rather than Chinese designs, suggesting that the hat itself was fabricated in Egypt. Erosion of the cap’s back and evidence of bodily fluid degradation suggest that the cap was used in a funerary context. The deceased was likely wealthy to have been buried in a cap of such fine fabric.
Too often we have thought of translation as a creative, individual act such as that of Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit who busily overhauled Christianity for his Chinese emperor and who translated scientific, humanist, and religious texts into Chinese. But such individual, ‘heroic’ acts of translation must be put alongside the collective activities of the Chinese translators at the Translators’ College, or the dragomans (from the Arabic/Turkish terjuman/tercüman, meaning “interpreter”)–Mamluk, Ottoman, and Venetian translator-diplomats residing across the Ottoman Emire–or the interlocking choices of countless translators, publishers, and printers across England and the continent.
Early Modern Cultures of Translation, Introduction, by Karen Newman and Jane Tylus
The Ridwan dynasty was founded by Kara Shahin Mustafa (later known as “Mustafa Pasha”), an ethnic Bosniak, and former kapikulu (“slave of the Porte”) of Suleiman the Magnificent. As part of the Ottoman devsirme system, Mustafa Pasha received his education from the inner service of the palace, gradually being promoted to high-ranking positions in the government. In 1524, after having successively served as the governor of Erzerum and Diyarbekir and then as the personal tutor of Sultan Suleiman’s son Shahzade Bayazit, he was temporarily appointed the governorship of Gaza, which was the capital of a sanjak (“district”) still maintaining its importance from the previous Mamluk era. By 1560, he had been promoted to the governorship of Egypt.
Mustafa Pasha was succeeded as governor of Gaza by his son Ridwan Pasha, who gave the Ridwan dynasty its name. Ridwan had formerly served as the treasurer of Yemen. In 1565, Ridwan Pasha was promoted to beylerbey (“governor-general”) of Yemen for two years before returning to rule Gaza for a short period of time in 1567. Meanwhile, in 1566, Mustafa Pasha was deposed by the new sultan Selim II for his closeness to Bayazit, Selim’s brother and rival for power. Mustafa Pasha died shortly thereafter. According to historian Jean-Pierre Filiu, Ridwan became governor of Gaza in 1570. By 1571, Ridwan Pasha had been promoted to vali (“provincial governor”) of Habesh (Coastal Ethiopia), Basra and Diyarbekir in succession, while Bahram Pasha, a second son of Mustafa Pasha and a high-ranking official in the Ottoman government, became governor of Nablus in the mid-16th-century. After some time Bahram Pasha was promoted to beylerbey of Damascus and later amir al-hajj (commander of the hajj; pl. umara al-hajj), making him responsible for the Muslim pilgrimage caravan to Mecca. The Qasr al-Basha in Gaza was used the governmental headquarters of the Ridwan governors