Bursa Keles Kemaliye Village Mosque and Its Wall PaintingsŞeyda Algaç
The rectangular planned mosque of Kemaliye village, 8 km from the town center of Keles, which is one of the mountain districts of Bursa province, built with rubble stone, has a simple exterior architecture. The decorations and wall paintings made using the hand-drawn technique in the sanctuary and the narthex render the building extraordinary. The wall surfaces of the sanctuary and the narthex were divided into square and rectangular sheets and used as a depiction area. In addition to the bouquets that can be seen in many religious and civil buildings on the sheets, the city of Mecca with the Kaaba in the center, the descriptions of the cities with large gates, a baldachin tomb with sarcophagus and destard coin-style tombstone in which a Mevlevi crown is used as a heading, were sarcophagus on which flags and battle-axe are placed diagonally, cypress, fruit trees, bunches of spikes, sliced watermelon with the cap cut off and dagger were placed. In the paper, it was attempted to introduce the wall paintings and writing program of the Kemaliye village mosque by considering the mystic environment in the village and examining its possible symbolic meanings. Since the building does not have a construction inscription, the date of its construction and its builder are not known. However, according to local history studies, the building was built by Hacı Osman, the son of Hacı Mehmet, and its decorations and depictions were made by foreign masters. Year “1129” (M. 1874/75) written above the entrance door is the date of manufacture of the decorations and depictions. The mosque, the decorations, and paintings of which have survived in their original form, is an outstanding example that reflects the tastes of the Ottoman society in the countryside in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Bursa/Keles Kemaliye Köyü Camii ve Duvar ResimleriŞeyda Algaç
Bursa ilinin dağ yöresi ilçelerinden olan Keles’in ilçe merkezine 8 km uzaklıktaki Kemaliye köyünün moloz taşla inşa edilmiş dikdörtgen planlı camisi sade bir dış mimariye sahiptir. Yapının hariminde ve son cemaat yerinde bulunan, kalem işi tekniği kullanılarak yapılmış bezemeleri ve duvar resimleri yapıyı sıra dışı kılmaktadır. Harimin ve son cemaat yerinin duvar yüzeyleri kare ve dikdörtgen paftalara ayrılarak betimleme alanı olarak kullanılmıştır. Paftalarda birçok dinsel ve sivil yapıda görülebilecek buketlere ek olarak merkezinde Kâbe bulunan Mekke şehri, büyük kapıları olan şehir betimlemeleri, sandukalı ve destarlı sikke tarzında bir Mevlevi tac-ı şerifinin başlık olarak kullanıldığı mezar taşına sahip baldaken türbe, üzerine sancak ve teberlerin çapraz olarak yerleştirildiği sanduka, servi, meyveli ağaçlar, başak demetleri, kapağı kesilerek dilimlenmiş karpuz ve hançer yerleştirilmiştir. Makalede Kemaliye köyü camiinin duvar resimleri ve yazı programı köydeki tasavvuf ortamı da göz önüne alınarak tanıtılmaya ve muhtemel sembolik anlamları irdelenmeye çalışılmıştır. Yapının inşa kitabesi bulunmadığından yapıldığı tarih ve banisi bilinmemektedir. Ancak yerel tarih çalışmalarına göre yapı, Hacı Mehmet oğlu Hacı Osman tarafından inşa ettirilmiş, bezeme ve tasvirler de yabancı ustalar tarafından yapılmıştır. Giriş kapısının üstünde yazan “sene 1129” (M 1874/1875) bezeme ve tasvirlerin yapım tarihidir. Bezemeleri ve resimleri özgün hâlleri ile günümüze ulaşabilen cami, 19. yüzyılın son çeyreğinde Osmanlı toplumunun taşradaki beğenilerini yansıtan seçkin bir örnektir.
The mountain region of Bursa consists of Harmancık, Keles, Büyükorhan, and Orhaneli districts. Administered by the Byzantine state as a feudal landlord, settlement and reconstruction of the area by Turks must have taken place after the conquest of Atranos Castle by Orhan Beg. The mosque that is the subject of the study is at Kemaliye village of Keles district. It is known that there was a dervish lodge in the village although it did not survive until this day. In addition, the existence of a beard of Mohammad and a flag carrying the name “Shaban Wali” demonstrated that the village was a significant Sufi center and the building, its decorations, and depictions shall be evaluated in this context. The mosque that is on sloping land in the East-West direction at the village center was constructed using rubble stone and wooden materials in a 90 cm thick wall. The building has a rectangular sanctuary in the North-South direction and a narthex to the North of the sanctuary. The center of the wooden ceiling of the building is emphasized with a round ceiling rose. Emphasizing centers of wooden ceilings with a square or round ceiling rose gives rise to the consideration that such parts could be ascribed mystical or cosmic meanings such as plaster dome or wooden ceiling rose that is used in ceilings of buildings with double functions such as a mosque-ancestral house.
The wall paintings and decorations on the inner surface of the structure and narthex walls were made using the hand-drawn technique which made the structure unique. Wall paintings using the hand-drawn technique became widespread from the second half of the 18th century, especially following the period of Abdülhamid the first (reign 1774-1789) to become an important part of the Ottoman visual culture. The wall paintings that were primarily observed in Topkapı Palace in Istanbul and other samples of civil architecture in the city were rarely used in religious structures in the capital. Wall paintings were used and popularized in religious architecture in Anatolia and Balkan geography. Acceptance and adoption of mosques with depictions by the local people must be related to their repertoire of religious subjects.
A cylindrical altar niche was placed at the center of the South wall of the structure. On both sides of the niche, there are columns drawn using hand-drawn technique reflecting imperial admiration and a pleated red curtain reflecting the same admiration in the niche. On the upper part of the eastern wall, there are imaginary city descriptions with large gates. It could be argued that these are the “gates of paradise”. In late print copies of the text titled “Muhammediye” compiled by Yazıcıoğlu Mehmet in the 15th Century, various depictions describing the text were added, in these pictures, paradise was symbolized with large gates reflecting the taste of the late period. On the North part of the eastern wall, a watermelon description with two slices cut off and carrying a dagger on it was placed on the last two verses of the Holy Quran of Burûc Surah with twenty-two verses, which must not be a coincidental placement. Such an arrangement suggests to mind the shell-essence (external-internal) concepts that are used and discussed in mysticism. The Holy Quran is a whole with its “external” and “internal”. There is no essence without a shell but to reach the essence one should pass through the shell. In order to duly cut the watermelon and reach its essence one needs a knife. In the Holy Quran for reaching the internal meaning from external meaning, there is a need for an assistant, a guide, and a “perfect mentor” and it can be argued here that the knife is the symbol of a “perfect mentor”. On the western wall of the structure, there is a description of the city of Mecca with “Kaaba”. One of the most frequent pictures in religious places is “Kaaba” descriptions. The reason for their frequent use is the fact that looking at Kaaba is worshipping and that there are hadith on sharing the grace on Kaaba with lookers. On the North part of the western wall, there is the description of a tree with red fruits. Fruit trees can be symbolizing Heaven while the tree can be symbolizing the universe and fruit can be symbolizing the human. On the South wall of the narthex, over the entrance gate, there are wheat ears. Wheat symbolizes the flesh, the self and worldly values, and desires for being a measurement of material value. These kinds of wheat placed right on top of the entrance gate must have been there to remind the believers that the self, selfish emotions, and worldly desires must be left outside the sanctuary. On the eastern wall of the narthex, there is a “baldachin tomb”, a sarcophagus inside the tomb and destard coin-style tombstone in which a Mevlevi crown is used as a heading. Although it conflicts with the real one, this tomb must be symbolizing the spiritual identity of Mevlana Celaleddin and the Mevleviyeh. On the western wall of the narthex there is a sarcophagus with battle-ax and green and red flags were placed diagonally. The green flag that was also used in the Ottoman coat of arms represents the “Caliphate Flag” while the red flag represents the “Sultanate Flag” as a symbol of independence. Together with the bowl and salpinx, the “battle-axe” used by pilgrim dervishes is an emblem of the Kalenderiye sect and its derivatives in 14th Century Anatolia, the Abdals of Rum. Through the Abdals of Rum, these Kalender-origin articles entered Bektaşi and Rifa’i sects and were used in emblems of these sects. However, the fact that the battle axes on the sarcophagus were used with flags suggests the warrior dervishes that keep the “Gaziyân-ı Rum” tradition alive. In the writing program of the structure Allah, Muhammed, Ebubekir, Ömer, Osman, Hasan, and Hüseyin names that could be seen in any mosque together with selected verses from the Quran were used.
The building that is owned by the Directorate General of Foundations does not have a foundation charter or construction inscription, thus the date of its construction and its builder are not known. However, according to local history studies, the building was built by “Hacı Osman, the son of Hacı Mehmet” who had many mosques built in the region (died 1274/ 1857). The date of manufacture of the decorations and depictions made with hand-drawn technique must be “1291” (1874/1875) written among decorations over the entrance gate. Depictions of the mosque were made by Greek master/masters according to verbal history studies.
Consequently, it could be argued that the building is an outstanding example of the Ottoman visual culture in the mountainous region of Bursa in the last quarter of the 19th century.