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Technical Glossary

Jalayrids (1336-1432 A.D.) 

Mongul dynasty ruling Iraq, western Iran and Azerbaijan from their main capital in Baghdad and also Tabriz (1358-188 A.D.). They were originally a major Mongul tribe that rose to high positions under the Ilkhanids. Sheikh Hasan Buzurg (r. 1336-1356 A.D.) seized power of Baghdad in 1336 A.D. after the Ilkhanid downfall in 1335 A.D. and his son, sheikh Uwais (r. 1356-1374 A.D.) took over northwest Iran in 1358 A.D., Azerbaijan in 1360 A.D., Mosul and Diyarbakir in 1365 A.D. The Jalayrids later fought against the Muzaffarids in Iran, the Qaraqoyunlu in Diyarbakir and Tamerlane in Baghdad. Tamerlane expelled the Jalayrid ruler from Baghdad in 1393 A.D., but the latter returned in 1395 A.D. The battles continued where Tamerlane detsroyed Baghdad in 1401 A.D., but the Jalayrids returned again in 1406 A.D. The Qaraqoyunlu however ousted the Jalayrids from Baghdad in 1411 A.D. and deposed the last Jalayrid ruler from Basra and Khuzistan in 1432 A.D. Artistic patrimony by the Jalayrids was not as glamorous as other Turkish dynasties, although Shaikh Uwais was a great patron of the arts. They nevertheless developed their own distinct style in miniature painting. 


Pierced marble or stone screen used in India. 


A term used to describe a gabled roof.  


From the Arabic root jam', which means to 'gather things' and literally means mosque. This is why it is used to denote the mosque where the Friday noon prayer is celebrated. It is the principal religious building of Islam. The simplest and earliest form it took was the riwaq-mosque; opened arcades overlooking a squarish or rectangular open courtyard.  


Derived from the Turkish yeni ceri or 'new troop'. These were the infantry troops of the Ottoman army brought at a very young age from the Balkans, converted to Islam and highly trained. They were directly answerable to the Sultan.  


A basin usually found in Mamluk baths. The different types encountered in the Mamluk documents are the 'marble jaran' and the 'stone jaran'.  


This is a feature used extensively in Mughal architecture derived from Hindu architecture. It is a protruding balcony supported on corbels, with a hood placed on columns.  


Persian for 'taster'. A prominent Mamluk post occupied by one of the amirs.  


Derived from Persian meaning kiosk, pavilion or fortress. In Burji Mamluk architecture the gallery beneath the finial of the minaret was referred to as a jawsaq.  


'Holy war' to extend Islam in the non-Muslim provinces. Those who die in jihad are considered martyrs. However this is the limited meaning of jihad. The other meaning is the greater war against one’s self; jihad al-nafs.  


A tax that used to be levied on non-Muslim adult males, specifically the people of the book, although the infirm and poor were exempted from this tax. In return for exemption from military service, this money was used for maintaining the army. If a Muslim ruler could not provide the needed security for his subjects, he was required to refund this money; which is what Salah al-Din did when he was forced to withdraw from Syria. 

Joggled Voussoirs 

Construction method where the stones of an arch or lintel are placed interlocking. Joggled voussoirs were typically used in alternating colors in Ayyubid architecture, becoming more complex in design under the Mamluks where they became a major architectural decorative feature. In Mamluk documents they are referred to as 'atab musfan


Woolen blanket.  


Arabic and literally means 'part'. Its common usage is for one of the thirty volumes of the Qur’an. The plural is ajza’.