We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The nineteenth century carved doors of Mombasa and the east African coast in two volumes

Aldrick, Judith Sophia (1988) The nineteenth century carved doors of Mombasa and the east African coast in two volumes. Masters thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Volume 1)
PDF (Volume 2)


The purpose of this work has been to research the 19th century carved wooden doors of the East African coast, with particular reference to those in Mombasa. Elaborate and impressive carved doors used to be a feature of many of the trading towns of the Indian Ocean Circle, but nowadays with modern living styles and new building techniques it is an art form that is dying out. The East African coast is one of the last places where these doors can still be seen in their original setting and where there is a door carving tradition that is continuing today, It is therefore a fitting place from whore to base a research project on the subject. Door carving, although long recognised as an old and significant form of Islamic decorative art, has hitherto been little studied. The thesis is divided into two parts. Volume I contains the written text and explanatory plates. Volume II contains separate photographic material. VOLUME I CHAPTER I gives a brief social history of the Swahili during the 19th and early 20th century in Mombasa and sets out the special problems encountered in dealing with Swahili culture. CHAPTER II investigates the evidence for the existence of a carved door tradition and decorative style on the coast of East Africa before the 19th century. A brief outline history describes the period of early Islamic trading settlements, 11th - 15th century, and records their decline, 16th - 18th century. CHAPTER III covers the Oxaani period in East Africa (c. 1780-1870) when the Busaidi Sultanate of Oman extended and strengthened its control over the coast of East Africa and ushered in a new phase of Islamic settlement and expansion in the area. The doors of this period are described and discussed and sources for the designs suggested. Stylistic variations are noted and a possible dating sequence is given. CHAPTER IV covers the later period (c.1870 - 1920) when, with increasing prosperity and international Involvement, door carving on the coast of East Africa entered its most ornate phase based on styles brought from India. CHAPTER V is a general chapter about door carving in East Africa, where the craftsmen, the woods used and the social importance of these doors are discussed. THE SUMMARY contains the main conclusions reached. Finally there is a GLOSSARY of the specialist and foreign terms used and a BIBLIOGRAPHY. VOLUME II Consists of a photographic inventory of the carved doors in Old Town Mombasa. At the front there is a brief explanation of the organisation and purpose of the inventory. At the back there is a map of the town with the doors indicated.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:42

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter