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Windows in Islamic architecture  

Margaret Graves

Architectural opening to admit light and air that may be covered with a screen, grille, glass or shutters, or left without covering depending on the surrounding environment and climate. Windows in Islamic architecture frequently, although certainly not always, take the form of an Arches in Islamic architecture; such arch forms come in a dizzying varieties of types.

The use of marble or alabaster window grilles was adopted by Islamic architects from the Byzantine building tradition (see Islamic art §II, 3, (ii)), and has become a distinctive and often spectacular feature of Islamic architecture: for example, the stone window grilles of the Great Mosque of Damascus (705–15; see Great Mosque of Damascus [Umayyad Mosque]) and those in the Friday Mosque in Ahmadabad, India (1424). Wooden window grilles made up of pieces of turned wood arranged in intricate geometric patterns (Arab. mashrabiyya) became a characteristic of windows in many parts of the Islamic world, especially Egypt. Metal examples also exist, for example in the 15th-century madrasa and mausoleum of Amir Mahmud al-Ustadar in Cairo, although these tend to be less intricate. Panels of carved stucco were also used as ornate window grilles. Such stucco screens were carved away from the building site and then fitted to the window; they could consist of an outer unglazed screen and an inner layer containing colored glass, or of a single stucco panel ornately carved, such as those seen in the Mosque of Sunqur Sa‛di in Cairo (...