Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum
Hegira 7th century / AD 13th century
Walnut wood, carved woodwork, partly painted.
Height 182 cm, width 116 cm
Seljuqs of Rum (Anatolian Seljuq)
Bey Hakim Mosque, Konya, Turkey.
Wooden doors, decorated with a braided pattern of stars, were common in Rum-Seljuq mosques, because such complex geometric forms, carved and designed by exceptionally talented wood craftsmen, were much loved. This double door’s decoration is rendered very impressive by the large central panels featuring a geometric design within which individual areas are decorated with arabesque tendrils consisting of individual floral motifs. The geometric design is based on a repeated pattern of small pentagons and hexagons, diamonds and triangles. It is not composed in the usual manner of placing single panels adjacently one after another; instead it consists of a single continuous pattern covering the panel’s entire surface. The wide frieze framing the panels on all sides is decorated with overlapping arabesque tendrils.
Inscriptions written over a blue background in the upper part of the doors cite Sura 9 verse 18 from the Qur’an: ‘None should come to the mosque of God except those who believe in God and in the Judgement Day’. This inscription was once continued on the door of a neighbouring room to the south. This latter door can also be seen in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin. It declares ‘and prayer is said and the poor tax is paid’. Thus, the most important duties of a follower of the Islamic faith were mentioned: confession of faith, prayer and almsgiving. Unlike the double doors that belonged in the front hall and that are decorated over the lower part with plant motifs, these doors are completely covered with decorative geometric patterns. The door from the front hall can be seen today in the Museum in Konya (inventory no. 330).
The inscription from the Qur’an (IX: 18) – ‘None should come to the mosque of God except those who believe in God and in the Judgement Day’ – is appropriate for this wooden door that once led into the Bey Hakim Mosque in Konya, Turkey. The geometric and arabesque patterns are typical of Seljuq art.
This double door comes from the Bey Hakim mosque in Konya, dated to the mid 7th / 13th century. Stylistic comparison further demonstrates that this double door comes from this period.
Bought from a private owner in 1913.
V. Enderlein (see Bibliography) established that this double door comes from the Bey Hakim mosque in Konya. He made this discovery from the inscriptions on both doors, which form a complete text.
Enderlein, V., “Der Mihrab der Bey Hakim Mosche in Konya: Ein Denkmal und Seine Geschichte”, in Forschungen und Berichte 17, 1976, pp.33–40, plate 2.
Löytved, J. H., Konia – Inschriften der Seldschukischen Bauten, Berlin, 1907, p.87.
Rice, D. T., Islamic Art, London, 1965, 2nd edition, 1975, p.174, fig. 176. (door to the side-wing of the mosque).
Sarre, F., Seldschukische Kleinkunst, Erzeugnisse Islamischer Kleinkunst, Part II, Leipzig, 1909, p.32, plate XII.
Annette Hagedorn "Double door" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;de;Mus01;21;en
Prepared by: Annette Hagedorn
Translation by: Maria Vlotides, Brigitte Finkbeiner
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen
MWNF Working Number: GE 27