Birgi-Ödemiş, İzmir, Turkey
Hegira 13th century / AD 19th century
çakırağa Mansion is a three-storied structure located in çakırağa Street, which runs parallel to the Birgi stream. The mansion is a U-shaped structure with an outer sofa (hayat) on the second and third floors. The timber and tile roof protrudes out with a wide eave. The main façade overlooking the alley on the west has three overhangs supported by four corbels. On the lower part of the façade are two doorways; windows are found above the doorways and on all sides of the overhangs.
On the eastern façade of each floor overlooking the garden-courtyard is an L-shaped sofa. The middle and upper floors have a balcony-like protrusion with wooden balustrades in the middle of the long side of the sofa. Smaller replicas of these balcony-like protrusions are also found on the short sides of the sofas.
On the upper floor are three iwans separated from each other by two rooms. The main iwan in the middle opens on to the sofa through three arches. The middle floor has a similar layout but with three rooms. All the rooms are covered with timber ceilings but the ceiling on the middle floor is lower than the others.
Both the facades and the upper floor of the çakırağa Mansion are decorated with wall paintings depicting single structures, sailing boats, landscapes, still-lives, flowers, trees, cartouches, empty medallions, garlands, and curtain and column motifs.
The most interesting paintings in the mansion are the panoramic city views. One room has a [panoramic] depiction of Istanbul rendered with such passion that it can be counted amongst the most splendid of wall-painted panoramas of Istanbul in Anatolia. Another room has a panorama of Izmir, rendered highly realistically and including well-known views such as Kadifekale Fortress and Sarıkışla Barracks. The sofa on the upper floor has a wall painting that depicts a coastal town with a fortress showing a quay and sailing boats; although the location has not been identified it is plausible to suggest that the artist depicted an imaginary coastal town with a place such as çeşme or Foça, on the Aegean coast in mind.
The main façade and the sofa walls on the upper floor are decorated with depictions of various pavilions in the countryside yep. There are also depictions of flowers arranged as a single stem or in vases; fruits and flowers arranged in bowls and trompe l'oeil curtains, as well as depictions of trees, sailing boats, windmills and wells on the main façade and small pavilions rendered in black, amply illustrating the richness of the overall decorative programme employed at the mansion.
The mansion is also notable for its woodwork. On the upper floor, the timber ceilings are decorated with geometric panels formed with long, narrow strips of wood and painted with motifs such as crescents, stars, flowers and fruits.
The çakırağa Mansion with its rich decoration has a special place among Anatolian Turkish houses, and its paintings are authentic examples of the art of wall painting which so enriched Anatolian Turkish architectural decoration in the later period.
Today the mansion is a museum under the direction of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
This private mansion is one of the most authentic surviving examples of an Anatolian Turkish house with its layout and painted and woodwork decoration. This monumental mansion is three-storeyed and has a courtyard-garden. The ground floor, which is paved with stone plaques, is given over to service rooms. The living quarters on the upper two floors have an outer sofa. Among the wall paintings on the exterior and interior walls of the structure are noteworthy panoramas of Istanbul and Izmir. The wooden ceilings and cupboards have remarkable decoration. The structure has been open to public as a museum since 1995.
Various dates have been proposed for the construction of the mansion. Based on the tombstones of the çakırağa family in Birgi, the structure is thought to have been built in the first half of the 13th / 19th century. The wall paintings in the mansion support this dating. The Sarıkışla Barracks, depicted in the Izmir panorama but no longer extant, was built in 1243 / 1827–8. Therefore, the paintings were probably made after this date. The stylistic features of the paintings also point to an artistic workshop active in Izmir and environs in the first half of the 13th / 19th century.
Arık, R., Batılılaşma Dönemi Anadolu Tasvir Sanatı [Anatolian Art of Painting in the Westernisation Period], Ankara, 1976.
Eldem, S., “çakırağa Konağı [çakırağa Mansion]”, Türkiyemiz, 1, 1970, pp.11–15.
Kuyulu, İ., “İzmir ve çevresindeki Bir Grup Duvar Resminin Düşündürdükleri [Some Remarks on a Group of Wall Paintings in and around Izmir]”, II. Uluslararası İzmir Sempozyumu [2nd International Izmir Symposium], İzmir, 1998, pp.57–78.
Kuyulu, İ., “çakırağa Konağı [The çakırağa Mansion]”, Birgi Tarihi, Tarihi Coğrafyası ve Türk Dönemi Anıtları [Birgi, its History, Historical Geography and Monuments from the Turkish Period] (ed. R. H. ünal), Ankara 2001, pp.141–52.
İnci Kuyulu Ersoy "Çakırağa Mansion" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tr;Mon01;32;en
Prepared by: İnci Kuyulu Ersoyİnci Kuyulu Ersoy
İnci Kuyulu Ersoy is Head of Western and Contemporary Art, Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir. She was born in Nazilli, Turkey, in 1957. She graduated from TED Ankara College in 1976 and from Hacettepe University, Social and Management Sciences Faculty, Department of History of Art in 1980. She received her MA in 1982 and her Ph.D. in 1989 from Ankara University, Faculty of Linguistics and History-Geography, Department of Art History.
She was appointed as research assistant to the Department of Art History, Ege University. She became assistant professor in 1989, associate professor in 1994 and full professor in 2000 at the same university. She is also Head of Turkish Art History at the Institute for Research on the Turkic World. She has researched and published widely on Turkish art.
Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood
Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions., İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu
İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: TR 46
Islamic Dynasties / Period
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