Who are the Mamluks?
The Mamluks were skilled artisans, who created ornate items such as glazed bowls, plates, armour, and weapons with Arabic calligraphy and intricate designs that were often inspired by the natural world, such as vines, flowers, and stars. The Mamluk dynasty ran between the late 13th century until the early 16th century.
They created their masterpieces out of metal as well as enhancing products by gilding them beautifully with gold and other precious metals. As well as metal, the Mamluks made use of enamel, carved wood and coloured glass to express themselves artistically, some of which influenced the work of glassmakers in parts of Venice, Italy.
Mamluk Dynasty buildings tend to be large structures that do not have a symmetrical appearance because the Mamluks valued balance more than aesthetics. Mamluk architecture includes heavy ornamentation on the exterior of domes and three-tiered minarets. Another characteristic is the use of half-domes over entryways and marble inlay on the outside.
In addition to constructing their own free-standing structures, the Mamluk Dynasty also renovated and expanded existing structures from previous dynasties.
How was the collection inspired by the Mamluks?
Our embroidered pieces from the Mamluk collection typically feature gold/bronze thread work mirroring the effect of metal to stay in line with the theme. As for the base fabric, we chose to go with mainly stone/grey.
As well as the colours, the names of the products are heavily influenced by the Mamluk period:
Dhahabi Abaya - Dhahabi is Arabic for the term ‘Gold’, relating back to the materials and metals used by the Mamluks.
Khurusan Abaya - Khurusan is a region in Eastern Iraq, historically known for Islamic metalwork.
Binya Abaya - Binya is the Arabic term for ‘Lattice’ and the embroidery of this item reflects the lattice effect often found in metal and stone work.
Patina Abaya - Patina is the bronze surface that forms on metals after a long period of time, hence the striking bronze colour of the embroidery.
Muqarnas Abaya - The Muqarnas is a functional sculptural element in Islamic architecture. Ancient and mediaeval craftsmen learned to achieve breathtaking results by applying three-dimensional geometric patterns to the underside of domes, half-domes, and vaults.
Fasayfisa Abaya - Fasayfisa is Arabic for the term ‘Mosaic’.
Kafes Abaya - Kafes is the Turkish term for ‘Lattice’ and the embroidery of this item reflects the lattice effect often found in metal.
Gilded Thread Maxi - The Mamluks would use gilded threads and gold in their work to paint or cover their artwork and create beautiful and intricate detail. A gilded item or covered in gold also signified wealth in the Mamluk era.