Sample Works from the Turkish-Islamic Era in the Museums of Aleppo, Hama, and Rakka of SyriaRazan Aykaç
Syria has the most beautiful works of art and architecture in world history. Palmyra, Apamea, Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Homs, Bosra, Latakia and Tartus have been important settlements in the history of civilization since the First Age. Many historical artefacts especially the findings from excavations and research in the region, are exhibited in the museums of Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, and Raqqa. In this article, the works that could be exhibited in the museums of Aleppo, Hama, and Raqqa in the pre-war period (before 2011) are reviewed. The sarcophagus of Huseyin b. Hasan al-Shukri, architectural plastic with lion relief, the mihrab of the Madrasa Halawiye, sun patterned luster bowl, ceramic pots, architectural plastic with Mamluk coat of arms, inscription piece of Sultan Kayıtbay and war tools from the National Museum of Aleppo; the minbar of the Great Mosque of Hama from the Hama Museum and plaster decorations of the Great Mosque of Raqqa from the Raqqa Museum will be introduced. These artefacts are among the most precious examples of their era. The mihrab, especially, and the other works in the National Museum of Aleppo, the minbar in the Hama Museum, and plaster decorations of the Great Mosque Raqqa are very precious works of the Seljuk, Zengid, Ayyubid, and Mamluk eras.
Suriye Halep, Hama ve Rakka Müzelerindeki Türk-İslam Dönemine Ait Eserlerden ÖrneklerRazan Aykaç
Suriye, dünya tarihi açısından sanatın ve mimarinin en güzel eserlerine sahiptir. İlk Çağ’dan itibaren Palmyra, Afemia, Halep, Şam, Hama, Hums, Bosra, Lazkiye ve Tartus çeşitli medeniyetlere ev sahipliği yapmış önemli yerleşim yerleridir. Bölgede yapılan kazı ve araştırmalarda çıkan buluntular başta olmak üzere pek çok tarihî eser Şam, Halep, Hama ve Rakka müzelerinde sergilenmektedir. Halep müzesinde başta mihrap olmak üzere diğer eserler ile Hama’daki minber ve Rakka Ulu Cami alçı süslemeleri Selçuklular, Zengiler, Eyyûbîler ve Memlükler dönemine ait kıymetli eserlerdir. Bu makalede Halep, Hama ve Rakka müzelerinde 2011 yılında başlayan iç savaştan önce incelenebilen eserler ele alınmıştır. Yapıldıkları dönemlerin nadide örneklerini oluşturan Halep Müzesi’nden Hüseyin b. Hasan el- Şükri’nin Sandukası, Aslan Kabartmalı Mimari Plastik, Haleviye Medresesi Mihrabı, Güneş Motifli Lüster Kâse, Seamik Kaplar, Memlüklü Armalı Mimari Plastik, Sultan Kayıtbay’a Ait Kitabe Parçası, Savaş Aletleri; Hama Müzesi’nden Hama Ulu Cami Minberi; Rakka Müzesi’nden Rakka Ulu Camisi Alçı Süsleme Parçaları makalede incelenen eserlerdir.
Most of the artefacts-exhibited in the Museum of Aleppo have been extracted from archaeological sites in the north of the country. In the museum, there are works from all historical periods including prehistoric, Ancient Near East, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic art. The largest sections of the museum are devoted to the Iron Age and the Islamic period. In the Islamic art section, there are works of pottery, ceramics, metalwork, wood, stone, glass, gold, and silver coins belonging to the Umayyad, Abbasid, Zengid, Ayyubid, Mamluk, and Ottoman eras. According to the data of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism, there are more than 50,000 artefacts in the Museum of Aleppo and its warehouses. The museum and artefacts were damaged when the museum was bombed in 2016. On October 24, 2019, with the support of the United Nations Development Program and the Japanese government, the museum was restored and reopened to visitors.
Sarcophagus of Huseyin b. Hasan al-Shukri reflects the characteristics of the Seljuk period in terms of decoration. The tradition of making cist graves (sarcophagus) in Aleppo continued until the end of the Ottoman period, and there are many similar tombstones from the Ottoman period in the graveyard of the Aleppo Mevlevi Lodge. It is possible to see similar examples of the confronted-lions relief, which was brought from the outer castle walls of Aleppo, in the Citadel of Aleppo, Citadel of Damascus, Madiq Castle, and Diyarbakır Fortress.
The mihrab of the Madrasa Halawiye, built by a woodmaster from Harran in 1245 (AH 643) for the Ayyubid sultan, is the most precious work of the museum. The frame, which turns the mihrab from three directions, has five borders. The outermost border is surrounded by a belt consisting of verses from An-Nur Surah in the celi sulus calligraphy. The second border is decorated with fluting mouldings and the rest with interlocking Rumi patterns. The first border of the Zengid knot is decorated with patterns, the second border with celi sulus calligraphy, and the inner surface with geometric motifs. The semicircular mihrab niche is bordered from below and above, and its surface is geometrically decorated with an eight-armed star. The mihrab, which constitutes the best example of wooden mihrabs, reflects the Seljuk tradition with its celi sulus calligraphy, Zengid-knotted pediment, and floral and geometrical ornaments.
The bowl found in Qal’at Ja’bar excavation belongs to the Ayyubid era. The sun depiction in the center of the ceramic which is decorated in the luster technique with gold luster in the Museum of Aleppo has moon-faced and almond-eyed figures in Uyghur style and reflects the Central Asian interaction. Both the application of this special technique and the composition on it indicate that this work is a custom product. In the Museum of Aleppo, works such as ceramic plates, bowls, jugs, water bottles made in single color glaze, underglaze, or luster techniques are exhibited in the showcase. Among them, the ceremonial vessel which is connected from the mouth to the body is a multi-handled, open-form ceramic sample, and glazed in solid turquoise color. Solid turquoise color-glazed- Type-1a. (the flat ellipse bodied) and Type-1b.2 (the oblate globe bodied - with wick holes more than two) oil lambs are also exhibited. Similar lamps can be found in many excavations in Anatolia. Considering the form, technique, and glaze color of the ceremonial vessel and ceramic oil lamps, reflections of the 13th-century Seljuk era can be seen.
Both the coat of arms relief from the Mamluk era and the medallion-shaped inscription piece belongs to the outer castle walls of Aleppo, most of which have not survived. Similar examples of inscription and coat of arms can be seen in the Citadel of Damascus, Gaziantep Castle, and the inscription pieces of Urfa Castle exhibited in the garden of the Ethnography Museum of Ankara. Military-origin Mamluks gave special importance to war tools and armours. Although the decorations on these war tools vary in detail according to the sultans and commanders, they generally include ornaments and prayer inscriptions on the helmets, armours, shields, and maces.
The minbar of the Great Mosque of Hama exhibited in the museum of Hama is one of the two minbars built by Nur ad-Din Zengi in 1174 (AH 569). The second one was built for Al-Aqsa Mosque. The interior of the minbar has geometric ornaments developed from rhombuses in the cagework technique. The gateway section has a horseshoe arch and the kiosk railing on it is divided into two parts. The kiosk section is in the form of a three-segmented arch and the interior of the arches is enlivened by great and small palmette hills. The arch corner and frame of the kiosk have floral decorations with interlocking Rumi patterns. It is one of the most beautiful examples of minbars in the kundekari technique of the Zengid era.
The building, which was built by the Ottoman Empire in 1861 as the Government Office, was opened as the Museum of Raqqa in 1981. Many artefacts in the museum were stolen and destroyed by terrorists during the Syrian civil war. After October 2017, the building started to be repaired, and after 2018, the remaining works in the museum are tried to be preserved. The plaster decorations in the Raqqa Museum, brought from the Great Mosque of Raqqa, are among the most precious examples seen in the region. Similar examples of these plaster decorations reflecting the ornamentation features of the Zengid era are the ones of the Great Mosque of Van, dated to the Seljuk era, and exhibited in the Van Museum.
Hundreds of artefacts from the Turkish-Islamic era are exhibited in the museums of Aleppo, Hama, and Raqqa. In the article, the sarcophagus of Huseyin b. Hasan al-Shukri, architectural plastic with lion relief, the mihrab of the Madrasa Halawiye, sun patterned luster bowl, ceramic pots, architectural plastic with Mamluk coat of arms, inscription piece from the Mamluk era, and war tools from the National Museum of Aleppo; the minbar of the Great Mosque of Hama from the Hama Museum and plaster decorations of the Great Mosque of Raqqa from the Raqqa Museum are reviewed. These artefacts are among the most precious examples of their no need era. The mihrab, especially, and the other works in the National Museum of Aleppo, the minbar in the Hama Museum, and plaster decorations of the Great Mosque Raqqa are very precious works of the Seljuk, Zengid, Ayyubid, and Mamluk eras.