Name of Object:

Pair of mihrab candlesticks


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

Around hegira 894 / AD 1488

Museum Inventory Number:

139 A-B

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Bronze, decorated with engraving and gilding.


Height 89 cm, diameter (of base) 73 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Early Ottoman


Each candlestick has a round base, a bell-shaped body, a cylindrical neck with a ring, and a wide candleholder. At the top and bottom of the body is a band of heart-shaped motifs with palmettes at their centres, a border repeated at the bottom of the neck. On the ring of the neck are large leaf motifs in relief. The neck itself is decorated with wavy lozenges featuring hatayi-style (peony) motifs shown both frontally and in profile. The candleholder is decorated with interlacing cartouches with inscriptions. The main part of the body is decorated with a wide inscription band on a background of peonies and spiralling tendrils. The inscription in Persian is a poem praising the light of the candlestick; the Arabic inscription reads: 'May Sultan Bayezid be preserved from calamities'; the inscription in Ottoman Turkish informs us that the candlesticks were made for the mosque of Sultan Bayezid II in Edirne. Both candlesticks are entirely gilded. The forms of these candlesticks recall Mamluk candlesticks.

View Short Description

When Ottoman sultans commissioned the construction of their mosques, they also ordered the production of candlesticks to be placed on both sides of the mihrab. These candlesticks were made for the Mosque of Bayezid II in Edirne and the inscriptions offer good wishes for the sultan.

Original Owner:

Sultan Bayezid II (r. AH 886–918 / AD 1481–1512)

How date and origin were established:

The mosque of Bayezid II in Edirne, named on the inscriptions of the candlesticks, was completed in 894 / 1488. Thus the candlesticks must have been produced at about the same time.

How Object was obtained:

The candlesticks were transferred to the Museum in 1911 from the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne.

Selected bibliography:

ölçer, N. et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, p.247.

Roxburgh, D. J. (ed), Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600–1600, London, 2005, pp.441–2.

Citation of this web page:

Alev Özay "Pair of mihrab candlesticks" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;tr;Mus01;48;en

Prepared by: Alev ÖzayAlev Özay

Alev Özay is an expert at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul. She was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1942. She graduated from the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Cultures of the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University. She first worked at the museums of Tekirdağ and Kayseri. She attended Ottoman language courses in 1976–7 and restoration and conservation courses in 1982 organised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. She published an article on the “Turbe of Sultan Ahmet” in 1979 and in 1983 prepared the catalogue for the Exhibition on Islamic Arts in the 15th Century of the Hijra.

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 GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: TR 78


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