La Mashrabiyya – مشربية Attraverso design, tradizione e sostenibilità

La mashrabiyya مشربية anche chiamata shanshūl (شنشول) o rūshān (روشان), è un elemento architettonico tradizionale del mondo arabo usato sia negli edifici pubblici, sia nelle residenze private, fatto di grate lignee in grado di garantire il benessere termo igrometrico interno.

Questo particolare elemento architettonico funge da finestra, si tratta più esattamente una griglia inserita tra logge e balconi ed era adoperato con lo scopo di poter rivolgere la vista al di fuori della propria abitazione, senza che dalla strada si potesse vedere verso l’interno. Era un sistema pensato per proteggere la sfera familiare, ma anche dal sole mantenendo all’interno una zona d’ombra.

Questo intreccio di legno rettangolare veniva intagliato finemente al suo interno seguendo un preciso schema geometrico e/o floreale, posto al secondo piano dell’ abitazione o comunque ai piani superiori.

Etimologia

L’ origine della parola mashrabiyya non è chiara ma vi sono due teorie predominanti.

La prima sostiene che sia una variazione della parola mashrafiyya, che deriva dal verbo ashrafa, osservare. Col tempo e l’assimilazione di parlanti non-arabi la parola si sarebbe evoluta fino a divenire quellabche oggi conosciamo.

La seconda teoria sostiene invece che si tratti di una derivazione dalla radice triconsonantica ŠRB, shariba, bere, facendo riferimento alla stanza in cui si era soliti prendere il tè.

Questa sembra essere la teoria più accreditata, sostenuta dal famoso architetto Hassan Fathy, eminente in tema di architettura tipica araba poichè grazie a lui l’ Egitto riscoprì un forte interesse per la mashrabiyya nel secolo scorso, nonchè ad egli si deve il merito di averla fatta conoscere in tutto il mondo.

Età

Le prime finestre intagliate a mashrabiyya sono datate intorno al dodicesimo secolo nella zona di Baghdad, durante il periodo della dinastia Abbasside, ma cavalcano i secoli arrivando fino alla metà del 1900, dove si andrà perdendo come conseguenza del programma di modernizzazione che attraversava il mondo arabo nella prima decade del Ventesimo secolo.

Geografia

Questo particolare sistema di areazione passiva si era sviluppato nella zona del Levante, nel Mashriq e nel Maghreb, in particolare in Iraq, Iran, Hejaz ed Egitto. Basra, è addirittura conosciuta come la città dei Shanashil, proprio grazie ai suoi più di 400 edifici tradizionali.

Atmosfera da Mille e Una Notte

La tendenza islamica ad evitare di riprodurre immagini che richiamassero esseri viventi come animali o esseri umani, derivante da alcuni Hadith della vita del Profeta, (La Pace sia su di lui), fece si che gli arabi sentissero l’esigenza di sviluppare la propria arte con altri mezzi, considerati più legittimi; il che si tradusse nel concepire forme geometriche complicate e motivi floreali, che oltre a decorare davano allo stesso tempo un’ atmosfera di luci ed ombre, tipica del nostro immaginario occidentale, da mille e una notte.

Design, funzionalità, Sostenibilità

La mashrabiyya è un dispositivo di ventilazione forzata naturale con aperture più ampie nella parte superiore, e più strette nella parte inferiore. In questo modo l’ aria passa per la grata a una velocità diversa, fornendo un significante ma armonico spostamento dell’aria.

La superficie del legno intagliato accellera il passaggio del vento, aumentando la sensazione di benessere nell’ ambiente interno Assume così la funzione di condizionatore, a cui si aggiungono delle giare che posizionate a terra, aiutano l’ aria a raffreddarsi al suo passaggio.

Oltre a bacini e piatti colmi d’acqua, anche il contatto con superfici umide genera un buon grado di raffreddamento dell’aria. La griglia intagliata accelera il passaggio del vento.

Le funzioni di una mashrabiya sono diverse e variano in funzione della densità della trama, che può esserepiù o meno fitta, dell’altezza dello schermo e del luogo in cui si colloca.

Le caratteristiche tecniche fondamentali sono dunque: filtrare la luce e controllare il flusso d’aria, del quale riescono a ridurne la temperatura ed aumentarne l’umidità. In questa operazione è il legno a giocare un ruolo determinante, capace di assorbire e rilasciare l’acqua, così da regolare l’umidità degli ambienti.

E’ sopratutto di notte che si svolge il riciclo di umidità. L’aria attraversa la grata lignea, questa cede l’umidità al legno che la trattiene finchè non vi batte il sole. Con il sole il legno rilascia l’umidità accumulata nelle ore notturne a favore delle condizioni climatiche interne.


Figura 1 Hassan Fathy, Dar al-Islam,  in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Oggi la mashrabiyya è un sistema architettonico funzionale e dotato di grande spirito in tema di sostenibilità, apprezzato come elemento di stile ed eleganza non solo in Medio Oriente ma sempre più anche in Europa e nel mondo.
Mitigare le alte temperature esterne in maniera del tutto naturale, proteggere la privacy della famiglia e regalare all’ abitazione un tocco decorativo di grande impatto scenico, è ai giorni nostri quanto di più desiderato!

Mashrabiyya in the desert Dj Snake, J. Balvin, Tyga – Loco contigo

Mashrabiyya – مشربية Tradition, Design and Sustainability

A mashrabiyya مشربية or oriel windows, also called shanshūl (شنشول) or rūshān (روشان), is a traditional arabic architectural element used in public buildings and residences.

It replaces the role of a window made with the purpose to see outside and preserving the indoor privacy at the same time. It protects the living space and also provides shade and protection from the sun. It is a carved wood latticework, usually located on the upper floor or higher of a building, sometimes with stained glass between the wood.

Etymology

There are two main theories about the origin of the term mashrabiyya

The first one is that it is a variation of the word mashrafiyya, which comes from the verb ashrafa, meaning overlook or observe. With time, and the assimilation of non-Arabic into the culture, the word evolved to become mashrabiyya.

The second theory is more common and claims that mashrabiyya is derived from the triliteral root ŠRB, shariba (to drink). The space was used for as a small wooden shelf where the drinking water pots were stored. The shelf was enclosed by wood and located at the window in order to keep the water cool.

Age

The first mashrabiyya windows are dated back to the 12th century in Baghdad, during the Abbasid period, over the centuries up until quite recently in the mid-1900s. Mashrabiyas, along with other distinct features of Arabic architecture, were being demolished as part of a modernization program across the Arab world from the first decades of the 20th-century.

Geography

Mashrabiyya comes in different types, depending on the region.

They exist in Mashriq and in Maghreb. Most of them in Iraq, Iran, the Levant, Hejaz and Egypt. Basra, is also known as “the city of Shanashil because it has more of 400 hundred traditional buildings.

Social Use

Mashrabiyyas were very popular among Arabs because of the privacy it provided to the families’ sphere, as those inside could easily see out, without being seen themselves. Since they were more expensive to build, they were usually found in the homes of wealthier citizens. Mashrabiyas were mostly used in houses and palaces although sometimes in public buildings such as hospitals, inns, schools and government buildings. They tend to be associated with houses of the urban elite classes. they are considered an ornament of the rich because the production of mashrabiyya is time and cost intensive.

Figura 1 Hassan Fathy, Dar al-Islam,  in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

The influential Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy helped mashrabiyya to a revival in Egyptian post war modernism and to make it known worldwide.

Art and Design for a sustainability architecture

The prohibition of the images especially referred to representation of God, the Prophet, humans and animals led to the necessity to develop other forms of art and decoration, which are translated into complicated and regular geometrical shapes, floral images and as told, in interior design as in the case of mashrabiyya.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said; “The angels do not enter a house in which there is an image.” We are to understand from the further explanations of his companions that Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, meant the images of creatures that have souls, so artists are warned against painting, drawing or sculpting people or animals that appear too life-like. With its geometrical motifs, it creates a world of light and shadows that gives free rein to dreams.

The designs of the latticework usually have smaller openings in the bottom part and larger openings in the higher parts, hence causing the draft to be fast above the head and slow in lower parts. This provides a significant amount of air moving in the room without causing it to be uncomfortable. The air-conditioning properties of the window is typically enhanced by placing jars of water in the area, allowing air to be cooled as it passes over the jars.

To save permanently the art and architecture of middle-east, some members of the art community  in Baghdad took steps to preserve the vernacular architecture as done by the architect, Rifat Chadirji and his father, Kamil, who took photos of structures and monuments in Iraq and the Saudi region or as the english artist Lorna Selim, who gave a huge contribution in spreading the decorative mashrabiyya in order to appreciate their importance.


Nowadays the mashrabiyya system is a functional architectural element appreciated as an example of elegant design reminding the tradition of the middle east and considered among the most innovative projects of the residential apartments’ system, for its sustainability, allowing the entry of the sun, and easing the heat at the same time.
While the sunlight enters appropriately, the hot temperature is mitigated, so the design of mashrabiyya seems to be a good balance between the treatments for the hot humid and harsh environmental climatic conditions and a renewed interest in traditional architecture.

Mashrabiyya in the desert Dj Snake, J. Balvin, Tyga – Loco contigo

Lesson 5 – Possessive Pronouns

Musée du Louvre, Arts de l’Islam
Fès, 14th century
sculpted wood and painted,

The Arabic language uses suffixes to express possession, adding it at the end of the words. It happens also in some European dialects and languages. Every suffix changes with each person.

In Arabic language there is any possessive pronoun as “my”, “Mein” “mon” “mi” “mio”. They just add a suffix at the end of the object:

Kitāb (book) -> + ī kitābī = my book

Uhkt (sister) -> +kum ukhtukum = your(pl) sister

Qalam (pen) -> + nā qalamnā = our pen

Umm (mother) -> +ka ummuka =your mother

Bayt (home) -> + baytuhun = their (f.) home

Lesson 4 – Verb Conjugation

Ibn Zamrak, kufico
al-hambra, Granada

The Verb to Write, KATABA, كَتَبَ

The verb Kataba means literally “he wrote”, which is the infinitive form of the verb “to write”.

The lessons about verbs conjugation start with the Past Tense.

SINGULAR:

كَتَبْتُ  
katabtu  
I wrote  
كَتَبْتَ
katabta
you (masculine) wrote
كَتَبْتِ
katabti
you (feminine) wrote
كَتَبَ
kataba
he wrote
كَتَبَتْ
katabat
she wrote

PLURAL:

كَتَبْنَا
katabnā  
we wrote  
كَتَبْتُمْ  
katabtum  
you all (masculine) wrote  
كَتَبْتُنَّ  
katabtunna
you all (feminine) wrote
كَتَبُوا
katabū
they (masculine) wrote
كَتَبْنَ
katabna
they (feminine) wrote
DUAL FORM : كَتَبْتُمَا
katabtumā
you two wrote
كَتَبَا
katabā
they two (masculine) wrote
كَتَبَتَا
katabatā
they two (feminine) wrote

Lesson 3- The Root S-L-M

                                                      جذور  كلمةالسلام

Nabil Boutros
Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris

Welcome to the roots of the Arabic word Islām

Salām, سَلاَم, is a Proto-Semitic term, used in the ancient Middle East meaning ‘peace’, before the coming of the Prophet Muhammad. This word has become one of 99 names of the Prophet, peace upon him, as-Salām. Solomon, Süleyma, Absalom, Selim, Salma, are given names whose roots come from an ancient era.

Sīn, lām, and mīm are the letters for the concept of peace, or something strictly related to this term.

Islām, a religion of peace. But as learnt in the first lesson about greetings, this root is also the same for the  word  ma3a salāma, literally with peace

For some Muslims Islām reflects the concept of “voluntary submission to God”. Indeed, the verbal noun of the 4th Form of the root means “submission to God” or surrender. Therefore Muslim means submitter to God or one who surrenders.

Used as the most common word to greet in the Arabic world, we find the root s-l-m in al-Qurā’n al-karīm.

The triliteral root system, characterizing the Arabic words, is common to all the other Semitic languages, coming from the same origin.

Let’s see some of the derived terms:

sālama – to keep, make peace سَالَمَ

ʾaslam, safer  أَسْلَم

                     sallama – to wish peace upon to somebody   سَلَّمَ

                      silmiyy, peaceful سِلْمِيّ  

peace   Salāma سَلَامَة 

peace –  salām سَلَام 

muslim مُسْلِم‎

قوات  حفظ السلا م Peacekeeping( lit. forces of maintenance of peace)

اتفاق السلام Peace Agreement

Exercise 1.

Try to pronounce the following sentences containing the root s-l-m.

هل أنت مسلمة ؟

Hal anti Muslima? – are you muslim?

مع السلامة

Lit. (go) with peace! – Bye!

Exercise 2.

Fill the sentences with the correct word

Muslim, Salīm, as-salāmu, Salma, as-salām, muslim, aslamtu (I became muslim)

– …… 3alay-kum, yā …… wa …

  • Wa 3alay-ka ..-…… yā …
  • Hal anta ……?
  • Na3am, āna …… mundhu 3āmīn (two years ago)
  • (إنا أسلمت منذ عامين)
Don’t Forget to download the Lesson!

Introduction – The root of the word

How does it work?

The Arabic language is an extraordinary surprise to beginners because of its structure, phrase construction and the root of the words.

Vowels and consonants play a fundamental role in the meaning of words, that we couldn’t expect.

The words are based on what we will call the scheme of the word, i.e. the consonants. The vowels are inserted between the consonant scheme, making the sense of the word.

Let’s see an example, it will help us to clarify!

The first verb we study is the verb kataba. It means to write.  It is based on its consonant scheme k-t-b.

With k-t-b we imagine the concept of “writing”. How we will use the vowels, it will be the way to shape the meaning.

To write –  Kataba – كتب

Book – kitāb – كتاب

Secretary, writer – kātib – كاتب

Library – maktaba – مكتبة

 Office – maktab –  مكتب

writing – kitāba – كتابة

 Writers – kuttāb –  كتّاب

Example 1.

كتب الكاتب في الكتاب، جالسا في مكتبه، قريبا من ألمكتبة ألوطنية، حيث كتب الكتاب الكثير

من الكتب

Kataba al-kātib fi (a)l-kitābi, jalasan fī maktabihi, qarīban min al-maktaba(ti) al-waTaniyya(ti) Haythu kataba al-kuttāb kathīr min al-katabi

Translation:

The writer has written in the  book, sitting in his office, nearby the National library, where the writers had written a lot of books.

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الطبق العربي

اللغة العربية : القصة

اللغة العربية لغة منتشرة في العالم و يتمني كثير من الناس أن يتعلمها و لكن من اين تنحدر أصول تلك اللغة؟
تنحدر اللغة العربية من اللغات السامية مثل العبرية و الآرامية و الأمهرية، لا يمكن تحديد وقت محدد لنشأة تلك اللغة و لكن يقول النقاد أنها ظهرت في القرن التاسع قبل الميلاد في شبه الجزيرة العربية (المملكة العربية السعودية حالياً).
تعد اللغة العربية من أسهل اللغات في تعلمها لإمتلاكها نظام لغوي بسيط و خاصة فيما يتعلق بالنطق حيث تخرج بعض الحروف من الحلق و الأخري من اللسان.
يرجح النقاد أن أول من تحدث العربية كان إسماعيل بن ابراهيم في القرن ال١٤ قبل الميلاد عندما كان في الرابعة عشر من عمره.
تعد اللغة العربية حاليا من أشهر اللغات و أوسعها انتشاراً ، لا تضيعوا فرصة تعلم تلك اللغة الآن ، تابعوا الموقع كل أسبوع للمزيد من المعلومات.

This article has been kindly written by my dear friend عبدالله جمال, whom I’m grateful.

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