Name of Object:

Warrior relief


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

 About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

Hegira 6th century / AD 12th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Relief-carved marble.


Height 89 cm, width 91 cm, depth 10 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Anatolian Seljuq


Konya, Turkey.


A grey marble slab that is rectangular and nearly square, on which two figures of warriors are carved in high relief. The figures have been depicted within a frame delineated by a deep contour line. Their heads are shown in profile, their bodies from the front; they wear helmets with pointed tops, armour, and short boots. They are shown with one foot forward, as if attacking. The figure on the left has a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. The figure on the right is holding his sword in one hand while grasping the sword's scabbard in the other. Both figures are shown in military dress, and their garments, as well as the details of their bodies, are defined with carved outlines.

The tree with split-palmette leaves on the right-hand side of the slab, as well as the vegetal forms used as fillers in the upper corners, shows the influence of Sassanid on Islamic decorative arts. The warriors' clothes and pointed helmets show similarities with those seen in medieval Crusader painting, offering valuable documentary evidence about military dress and equipment of the period.

View Short Description

Konya was the capital of the Anatolian Seljuq Sultanate during the AH 6th–7th / AD 12th–13th centuries and its citadel was decorated with rich figurative reliefs. This warrior relief not only depicts the military costume and arms of the period but also is an important document for the period.

How date and origin were established:

Konya citadel, where it is thought this object originated, dates to the 6th / 12th century. For this reason the object is dated to the same century.

How Object was obtained:

The relief was transferred to the Tiled Pavilion (çinili Köşk), Istanbul, in 1870 as part of the 19th-century initiative to collect artworks from across the country. The object was transferred to the Museum in 1941.

How provenance was established:

It is known from several sources (e.g. the journals of the 19th-century French traveller Charles Texier) that the citadel at Konya, capital of the Anatolian Seljuqs, was adorned with figurative decoration in stone. This object is thought to have belonged to the citadel, which does not survive. It is thus probable that it was made in the vicinity of Konya.

Selected bibliography:

Anadolu Medeniyetleri III, Selçuklu-Osmanlı, Istanbul, 1983, p.81.

Ogan, M. A., Kühnel, E., İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzelerindeki Şaheserler, Vol. III, çinili Köşk'te Türk ve İslam Eserleri Koleksiyonu, Berlin-Leipzig, 1938, p.36.

Ölçer, N. et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, p.114.

Rice, T. T., The Seljuqs, London, 1961, fig. 61.

Citation of this web page:

Gönül Tekeli "Warrior relief" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;tr;Mus01;10;en

Prepared by: Gönül Tekeli
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 17