Written by Rebecca Anne Proctor
Photographed by Richard Doughty
Walk into any mosque and at its front you are likely to see a stepped pulpit: the minbar. In Egypt, under the patronage of the Mamluk sultans of the 13th to 15th century, minbars became masterpieces of woodworking—most without nails or glue. Today nearly four dozen Mamluk minbars stand as a priceless but vulnerable heritage: A recent rash of thefts led to the Rescuing the Mamluk Minbars of Cairo Project, which offers protection, promotion and new opportunities for young artisans.