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effort. For example, Kait Bey's mosque is thus hidden - a gem of a mosque, with a wonderfully graceful dome and a slender minaret of surpassing elegance. Within, it is beautifully adorned; but on the whole, as is the case with most of its neighbors, its crowning glory is its exterior appearance as an harmonious whole. The pity is that it is not more isolated, as are the other tomb-mosques of the period which lie farther to the north, well out of the nest of
ldings and set in the broad expanse of the desert. The latter succeed much better than Kait Bey's, simply because of the glorious harmony of their coloring with sand and sky.
Now there are a number of these tomb-mosques scattered about in this outlying desert hamlet, but it is by no means necessary to go into them all. Kait Bey's tomb cannot be ignored — nor Barkuk's, which is farther to the north. The rest may profitably be considered only as component parts of the general picture.
The tomb-mosque of Kait Bey has been recently and tastefully restored, -as lately, indeed, as 1898, so that it shows but little the ravages of its nearly five hundred years. Its mosaics and arabesque windows are in admirable preservation. Under a lofty dome lies the actual sepulchre of the sultan, - a rather modest affair, as were all such tombs at that day, — and near it are some stones bearing what look like the imprints of a human foot. These are, of course, the vestiges of the Prophet. In a neighboring chamber lie Kait Bey's four wives — the modest legal number. It is a thoroughly charming structure, and it is typical of a certain progressive movement in the art of building. But I remember it rather less clearly, for all its trimness and air of being well kept up, than the outlying mosque and convent of Sultan Barkuk, with its many domes and its dual minarets, which is not well kept up at all, but is distinctly ruinous in many of its parts.
Barkuk's tomb has the advantage of being far seen. It is large. Its proportions are commanding. It makes a thoroughly charming picture both in form and color. It faces the open desert where the spinners are racing back and forth. You enter it through an imposing portal and traverse a long and gloomy corridor before you emerge in the broad open court. The latter is flanked with the usual arcades, but they are not, as is commonly the case, roofed with barrelvaulting; the covering is formed of hemispherical domes.
On our first visit the court was far from empty. On a log that lay on the shady side near the western arcade sat a long file of very small children, all industriously sucking sugar-cane. They made a charm
ing picture in combination with the old tamarisk tree that grows crookedly out of the pavement of the court, and I hastened to unlimber the camera with the view of making them immortal. It was a fatal thought. The children scampered away with loud squeals, — in terror, I suppose, of some sort of evil eye,- and their teacher, or sheik, or whoever he was, huddled them quickly into a dark and cavernous schoolroom, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings. Thereafter we had the spacious courts and deep side chapels of Barkuk to ourselves.
Here, too, are modest tombs, sacred to the memory of Barkuk and his sons, resembling raised platforms more than anything else. But the chief attraction, apart from the general appearance of the whole building, is a magnificently carved pulpit and a deep, inlaid prayer niche in the eastern liwan. Carved stone pulpits like this — simply a lofty platform at the top of an imposing flight of steps — are common in all Cairo mosques, and I suppose in mosques everywhere. But few are finer than this in Barkuk's spacious halls, and it will serve admirably as a type of Moslem church furniture.
Taken as a whole, there is no more thoroughly satisfying prospect in all Cairo than this little isolated group of tombs, a cluster of yellow mosques, backed by yellow cliffs, and rising out of yellow sands,