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Allen J. Fromherz

second Moroccan caliph of the Almohad (Muʾminid) dynasty (r. 1163–1184), was a great patron of philosophy and architecture, a defensive leader, and statesman. The beginning of his reign was rocked by conflict over succession. His father, ʿAbd al-Muʾmin, had designated Muhammad, the older brother of a different mother as his successor. Muhammad was in power from a few weeks to a few months. The sources differ on the exact length of his reign.

However it was clear from the beginning that Muhmmad did not have the ambition or the ability to lead the vast administrative and military apparatus his father had created ʿAbu Yaʿqub Yusuf had the support of a powerful woman his mother It seems this formidable woman and her other son the powerful vizier Abu Hafs ʿUmar conspired to elevate ʿAbu Yaʿqub Yusuf as caliph ʿUmar claimed that the caliph ʿAbd al Muʾmin had declared to him ...

Article

Victoria Perry

In the 18th century ‘West Indians’ were among the great patrons of art and architecture. ‘West Indians’ is an 18th‐century term for wealthy absentee Caribbean sugar planters and merchants who, unlike mainland American plantation owners, chose to live in Britain. They were predominantly, but not uniquely, of white British origin, as fathers of mixed‐race children would sometimes send them to live with British relatives or to boarding school in England. Nathaniel Wells, mixed‐race heir to several plantations in St Kitts and owner of Piercefield Park in Monmouthshire, was one such person, described by a contemporary as ‘a Creole of large fortune, a man of very gentlemanly manners, but so much a man of colour as to be little removed from a Negro’.

West Indians were notorious in 18th‐century Britain for their conspicuous wealth, coarse, flamboyant manners, and love of turtle soup. Sir Peter Pepperpot, the hero of The ...

Article

Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

construction engineer in the Central African Republic (CAR), was born 17 December 1931 in Boali, a town north of Bangui known for its waterfalls and hydoelectric plants, in what is now the CAR’s Ombella Mpoko prefecture. His mother was a Banda from central Ubangi-Shari, and his father was a Gbanu, an ethnic group classified with the Gbaya-speaking peoples who constitute about one-half of the population of the CAR. Béfio is a common Gbaya name, but Béfio’s father died when he was very young and so he was raised for the most part by Banda members of his family.

After attending primary school in Boali from 1939 to 1943 and in Bangui from 1943 to 1946 and secondary school in Bangui in 1946, Dallot-Béfio became the first Central African student granted a scholarship to study in France, where he attended the Lycée de garçons in Nice from 1947 to 1952 ...

Article

Suzanne Blier

Much of Dogon art consists of striking ritual masks made with carved wood and other materials. Dogon architecture conveys symbolic relationships in Dogon society and is considered one of the most distinctive styles in West Africa.

The Dogon live in the rugged yet beautiful Bandiagara escarpment of south central Mali. They migrated to this remote cliff area around the fifteenth century c.e.. in part to preserve their cultural beliefs and institutions when the Islamic Mali empire was at its height. When the Dogon arrived at the Bandiagara escarpment, they found architectural and other remains of earlier civilizations, among these the Toloy (third century to second century b.c.e.) and the Tellem (eleventh century to fifteenth century c.e. Dogon building weaving iron working and pottery traditions reflect both an interest in these and other earlier regional art forms and an influence from contemporary regional political and cultural centers ...

Article

Imhotep  

Joyce Tyldesley

ancient Egyptian architect and administrator, lived during the earlier part of Egypt’s third dynasty (c. 2686–2613 BCE). A high-ranking courtier, he held numerous important positions; but he is best known today as the architect of Egypt’s first stone building, the Sakkara Step Pyramid, built for King Djoser (Netjerikhet). After death, Imhotep became one of the few nonroyal Egyptians to be worshipped as a nationally recognized god.

Imhotep built Djoser s mortuary complex in the Sakkara cemetery close to the city of white walls Memphis The complex included Egypt s first pyramid Imhotep s original design was for an unusual square solid stone structure with corners oriented to the flow of the Nile and the rising and setting of the sun This was then extended to form a two stepped structure cased in fine white limestone A third extension converted the square tomb to an oblong this then became the bottom ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian engineer, administrator, and thrice prime minister, was born in Cairo on 12 December 1892. He was the son of Ismaʿil Sirri, a prominent engineer and a minister in several Egyptian governments from World War I into the 1920s. Husayn Sirri was educated at the Saʿidiyya School in Cairo, graduating in 1910. He then studied engineering at Cooper’s Hill in London, receiving his degree in civil engineering in 1915. An Anglophile as a consequence of his upbringing and of his education in England, Sirri at one point held the post of Chairman of the Anglo-Egyptian Union.

Upon his return to Egypt in 1915, Sirri worked in the Irrigation Department of the Public Works Administration where by 1925 he became under-secretary of Public Works. He was shifted to become director-general of the Survey Department in 1926 but returned to assume the post of under secretary of ...