Tiles of the Konya Green Dome in the Light of New InformationÇetin Öztürk, Ali Fuat Baysal
Tile has been preferred as a protective exterior coating material in the sixteen-segment dome of the Mevlana Tomb for many periods from the Seljuk period to today. As a result of atmospheric effects, the tiles that adorned the dome for 55 years have been damaged. For this reason, the restoration process was started on the Dome in June 2020 and the tiles of the dome were renewed in this process. This study discussed the tile restorations in the Kubbe-i Hadrâ (Green Dome) and presented the findings under headings following extensive research and document analysis. In conclusion, we found new information and documents revealing that the dome tiles manufactured in Kütahya in different periods were technically and physically different from each other of different periods, that the tiles were supplied in 1965 by the Taylan Ceramic Factory, not by the Metin Tile Factory. It was also found that the tiles used for the restorations in 1949 were manufactured by the Öz Tile Factory, not by Metin Tile Factory. In addition, we found that Armenian tile makers took part in the production of the tiles of the Kubbe-i Hadrâ; the oldest tiles of the Dome were produced by applying the color-glaze technique and are exhibited in world-famous museums today.
Yeni Bilgiler Işığında Kubbe-i Hadrâ ÇinileriÇetin Öztürk, Ali Fuat Baysal
Selçukludan bugüne birçok döneme tanıklık eden Mevlânâ Türbesinin on altı dilimli kubbesinde, koruyucu dış cephe kaplama malzemesi olarak geçmişten bugüne çini tercih edilmektedir. Atmosferik etkiler sonucu yaklaşık 55 yıldır kubbeyi süsleyen çinilerde tahribatlar oluşması sebebiyle kubbede 2020 Haziran ayında restorasyon süreci başlatılmış ve bu süreçte kubbenin çinileri yenilenmiştir. Bu çalışmada, Kubbe-i Hadrâ (Yeşil Kubbe)’da gerçekleşmiş olan çini onarımları ele alınmış ve elde edilen bilgiler başlıklar hâlinde sunulmuştur. Çalışma sonucunda farklı dönemlerde Kütahya’da üretilen kubbe çinilerinin teknik ve fiziksel özellikler açısından değişiklikler gösterdiği, 1965 yılında tamamlanan restorasyonda kullanılan ve kayıtlarda Metin Çini Fabrikası tarafından tedarik edildiği belirtilen çinilerin Taylan Seramik Fabrikası ile ilişkili olduğu, 1949 yılı restorasyonunda kullanılan çinilerin ise bilinenin aksine Metin Çini Fabrikası tarafından değil de Öz Çini Fabrikası tarafından imal edildiği, Kubbe-i Hadrâ çinilerinin üretiminde Ermeni çini ustalarının da rol aldığı, kubbeye ait günümüze ulaşan en eski çini örneklerinin renkli sır tekniğinde imal edildiği ve dünyaca ünlü müzelerde sergilendiği gibi birçok yeni bilgiye ulaşılmıştır.
Following the death of Mevlânâ Celâleddin-i Rumi, the Architect Bedreddin began to build a tomb in memory of him, and it was completed in 1274. Although there are several speculations about the initial version of the tomb, it is acknowledged that Karamanoğlu Alaeddin Bey (1357-1398) had it built in the sliced shape and that the exterior walls of the dome were covered with tiles in a restoration. Known as the oldest samples of the exterior materials of the dome, those tiles were produced by applying the color-glaze technique. Today some of them are stored in the warehouse of the Konya Museum Directorate, and some other pieces are exhibited in famous museums such as the Metropolitan Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
As seen in the literature, the tiles of the dome, also known as Kubbe-i Hadrâ, were renewed in 1677, 1698, 1791, 1797, 1816, 1835, 1866, 1909, 1949, and 1965. According to the 17th-century records, the tiles used in the restoration in 1698 were produced by applying the underglaze technique in Iznik. Since 1816, Kütahya tiles have been preferred for the restorations in the Mevlânâ tomb. However, historical records prove that the durability of those Kütahya tiles was poor.
In the renovation of the Kubbe-i Hadrâ in 1912, the tiles were manufactured by Hafız Mehmet Emin Efendi who was a Kütahya tile artist. In the 1949 renovation, the tiles were manufactured by Hacı Mehmet Üstünkaya at the Öz Tile Factory in Kütahya. Shortly after the renovation, the tiles fell off the wall, so the dome was covered with wood, which led to a public backlash. Relevant people sued the Öz Tile Factory, and it was determined that the fallen tiles stemmed from an application error.
A contract was made with the Taylan Ceramic Factory to manufacture exterior tiles of the dome in 1961. However, the Taylan Ceramic Factory failed in shaping wooden molds, and it had to supply hydraulic metal molds and therefore could not deliver the work on time. The factory requested additional time to import dyes as the domestic dyes could not attain the desired color. Although additional time was allowed for the Taylan Ceramic Factory, the factory went bankrupt in 1963 due to the negative impacts of the coup in 1960 on the economy and the inadequate number of orders that would cover the expenses of employees, large electric furnaces, and imported colored glazes. We still do not know whether the factory delivered the tile order. However, the tiles were manufactured by the Metin Tile Factory and delivered to the Konya Museum Directorate in 1964. The owners of the Metin Tile Factory are Edip and Vedat Çinicioğlu, the grandchildren of Hafız Mehmet Emin Efendi, who manufactured the dome tiles in 1912. We assumed that the Taylan Ceramic Factory produced the tiles for the dome but had to transfer them to the Metin Tile Factory due to bankruptcy because the Metin Tile Factory did not have the necessary technological equipment to manufacture high-quality tiles in a short period of about a year. However, the analyzes show that those tiles were entirely distinctive from the Kütahya tiles in terms of form and glaze compositions, and that metal hydraulic molds were used to shape the tiles, which were dried in electric furnaces at higher temperatures. The color of the tile was not peculiar to Kütahya tiles. The Taylan Ceramic Factory used to manufacture ceramics in Istanbul and Samsun, had modern electric furnaces and other technological facilities, had strong commercial links with Germany and Italy, and imported colored glazes. According to the records of the Konya Museum Directorate, the tiles were transferred from Kütahya to Konya in wooden boxes. After a careful examination of the tile boxes in the warehouse, it was found that the boxes were of foreign origin with customs stamps on them. However, we could not find any information about the content of those imported boxes in Kütahya.
Research showed that Armenian tile-makers in Kütahya worked to produce the tiles of the Kubbe-i Hadrâ. For instance, Hovhannes worked for the restorations in 1866, and David Ohannessian for the restorations in 1912. However, it is known that the archaeologist Hagop Kevorkian sold the old tiles of the tomb, produced by using the color-glazed technique, to the Metropolitan Museum in 1908.
The analysis of Kütahya tiles from different periods in the Konya Museum warehouse revealed that the tiles were different in terms of material (soft or hard), glaze (opaque or transparent), color (turquoise or green tones), and size. Periodic changes were also observed in mounting methods. The tiles were attached to the dome by using lime, Khorassan mortar, or nails in different restorations. Cement was used in the last restoration.
Kubbe-i Hadrâ tiles, renewed during the restoration completed in 1965, were highly deformed over time. The final restoration of the Kubbe-i Hadrâ, which started in June 2020, is still in progress. Kubbe-i Hadrâ tiles, which are Seljuk works, were manufactured by Kemal Güler in Konya, the ancient Seljuk capital, centuries later. The tiles, consisting of a high silica body shaped by the “tap tap method” (manually placing the ceramic paste in the mold), are turquoise colored and opaque glazed.