The great Mamluks are one of the least-known empires in history.

They were blue-eyed Cossacks, guards of the Egyptian Palace who took control of the whole of the Arab East Mediterranean and ruled from 1250 to 1517.

Artists were imported from across the known world and a great flowering ensued.

Their weaving in particular shows many different cultural influences, as the artisans brought their traditions and design influences with them.

These slave-warriors of medieval Islam overthrew their masters, defeated the Mongols and the Crusaders and wove what some say are most beautiful “Persian” carpets ever made.