Lecture: Diplomatic Gifts at the Mamluk Court by Doris Behrens-Abouseif
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Nov 7, 2013 6:00–8:00pm
Organized by: Netherlands-Flemish Institute Cairo (NVIC)
Venue: Netherlands-Flemish Institute Cairo (NVIC)
Address: 1 Mahmoud Azmi Street, Zamalek

In this lecture Prof. Doris Behrens-Abouseif discusses the exchange of diplomatic gifts at the Mamluk court. Due to the political and economic significance of the Mamluk Empire in the world, and its religious role in the Muslim word, medieval Cairo was the center of a worldwide diplomatic network. Alongside written and oral messages, the exchange of gifts was an integral part of diplomacy since the beginning of history. The lecture shows how the choice of diplomatic gifts in the medieval world combined universal and ancient traditions with regional and cultural peculiarities. While discussing the various meanings of diplomatic gifts the lecture also discusses the relation between Mamluk diplomatic gifts and Mamluk art.
Prof. Doris Behrens-Abouseif is the Nasser D Khalili chair of Islamic Art and Archaeology at SOAS, University of London. She studied at AUC before getting her PhD from the University of Hamburg. She is one of the leading scholars in the fields of Islamic architecture, urbanism, and the decorative arts of Islam, with a focus on Egypt and Syria. She published extensively on these subjects, and the current lecture is a sneak preview of her new book Practicing Diplomacy in the Mamluk Sultanate: Gifts and Material Culture in the Medieval Islamic World.