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The House of the Cretan Woman, Bayt al-Kritliya, is a sixteenth-century merchant's house that stands adjacent to the ninth-century mosque of Ibn Tulun, in one of the oldest quarters of Cairo. Both the house and the mosque are the subjects of the popular myths gathered in this magical book. In the 1930s the house served as the home of Gayer-Anderson Pasha, an English doctor and art collector, who furnished it with his collections and left it to the Egyptian government in 1945, and it was Gayer-Anderson who collected and translated the stories that are the subject of this book from a descendant of a local sheikh whose tomb flanks the house. He also commissioned a local artisan to create a series of illustrations on copper plates, one to depict each of the fourteen legends, and published the stories with the drawings, along with his own introductory description of the house, in a small edition in England in 1951 that is now long out of print. For this new edition of this classic book, the author's grandson, Theo Gayer-Anderson, an illustrator and a specialist in restoration and conservation, has enhanced and added color to the original monochrome drawings to reanimate the world of benevolent serpents, magical wells, sultans and serving girls, djinns and saints that surrounds the house and the mosque. This unique collection is a significant piece of local history that offers a fascinating sidelight on two of Cairo's best known monuments.Biografía del autor:
R.G. Gayer-Anderson was born in 1881, educated at Tonbridge School, and qualified as a doctor in 1903 from Guy's Hospital, London. He received his commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the following year and was seconded to the Egyptian Army in 1906. He spent the rest of his career in the service of Egypt, first in the Army then in the Egyptian Civil Service, and in 1923-24 as Oriental Secretary to the High Commissioner, Lord Allenby. In 1935, at his request, the Egyptian government gave him possession on certain conditions of the sixteenth-century Bait al-Kretliya, which he occupied until 1942, when he left Egypt for reasons of health. The Bait al-Kretliya, furnished with his remarkable collections, became the Gayer-Anderson Museum, which remains open to visitors to this day. In recognition of this gift and of his services to Egypt, King Farouk bestowed on him the rank of Lewa (Major General), carrying with it the title of Pasha. He died in 1945 and is buried at Lavenham in Suffolk, England.
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