Name of Object:

Plaster relief


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

Hegira 7th–8th centuries / AD 13th–14th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Moulded plaster/stucco.


Height 28 cm, width 53 cm, depth 4 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Anatolian Seljuq


Konya, Turkey.


A section of a frieze depicting two horsemen in battle with a dragon and a lion. The wide upper border contains a geometric composition of interlocking stars and polygons, while the main background is filled with a floral composition including spiralling tendrils and palmettes. On this ground, two horsemen are depicted facing each other; the one on the left, shown charging, is slaying a dragon, while the one on the right kills a lion. Both the figures' clothing and facial types are characteristically Seljuq. The fidelity to nature with which the horses are depicted, as well as the way one horseman turns around in the saddle to thrust his sword into the lion, lend the scene an active air. The portrayal of a horseman slaying a dragon was a popular subject in Anatolia in the Seljuq period as well as before. Christian scenes of Saint George killing the dragon were depicted in a similar way.

View Short Description

This plaster fragment from Konya Palace depicts a horseman accompanied by other horsemen fighting a dragon. Costumes and accessories and the way the figures are rendered all reflect the features observed in depictions of horsemen and hunting scenes very common in Anatolian Seljuq-period art.

How date and origin were established:

Equestrian compositions and hunting scenes are widespread in the art of the Anatolian Seljuq period. Stylistic considerations suggest a date of the 7th–8th / 13th–14th centuries.

How Object was obtained:

The object was brought to the Museum after being found during archaeological excavations at the Konya Palace in 1941.

How provenance was established:

The object was found during archaeological excavations at the Konya Palace; it is probable that it was made on site.

Selected bibliography:

Diez, E., and Aslanapa, O., Türk Sanatı, Istanbul, 1955.
Erdmann, K., Ibn-Bibi als Kunsthistorische Quelle, Istanbul, 1962.
Kühnel, E., Ogan, M.A., İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzelerinde Şaheserler, Vol. III, çinili Köşk'de Türk ve İslam Eserleri Koleksiyonu, Berlin and Leipzig, 1938.
ölçer, N. et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, pp.112-13.
Sarre, F., Der Kiosk von Konia, Berlin, 1936.

Citation of this web page:

Cihat Soyhan "Plaster relief" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;tr;Mus01;9;en

Prepared by: Cihat SoyhanCihat Soyhan

Cihat Soyhan was born in 1940. He graduated from the Department of Art History of the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University. He lectured at the 14th Art History Courses organised for teachers of art history at Haydarpaşa High School, Istanbul, in 1976. He was the ministerial commissar at the Tekfur Palace surveys in 1976 and the Iznik excavations in 1987. He published on Turkish tile art for the exhibition on 'Islamic Arts in the 15th Century of the Hijra' in 1983 and for other occasions. He retired from his post as an expert at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul in 2005 and passed away in early 2006.

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 16


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Seljuqs (Anatolian)

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