Name of Object:

Door wings and a knocker


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

 About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

Beginning hegira 7th century / AD 13th century

Museum Inventory Number:

المطرقة: 3749 ؛ مصراعا الباب: 4282

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Door wings: wood (walnut and poplar), metal (bronze and brass), openwork; knocker: cast and engraved bronze.


Door wings: each, height 300 cm, width 112 cm (224 cm in total); knocker: height 27.5 cm; width 24 cm, depth 3 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Anatolian Seljuq atabeg in Cizre


Southeastern Anatolia, probably Cizre, Turkey.


Both of the wooden wings belonging to the door of the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque) in Cizre were clad in sheets of bronze and then decorated with brass strips and plates attached with iron nails. The border band has a decoration of quatrefoils fitted using round-headed nails. Each wing has three medallions, each with a 12-pointed star in the centre. The areas in between are filled with half-medallions that make up two half- and two full-medallions along the join when the wings are shut. The spaces in between the medallions and the geometric motifs are filled with metal plates decorated with arabesque-palmette motifs in openwork. Traces of pigment suggest that the background of these motifs was originally painted in red and blue to make them stand out more boldly. The half- and quarter-medallions along the outer edges of the door wings imply that the composition extends to infinity. Near the centre of the door wings are two loops for mounting the knockers, one of which is now on display in Copenhagen. The cast bronze knocker still on the door is formed of two symmetrical dragons that are engraved and which join at the centre with a lion's head. The dragons, have pointed ears, almond eyes and wings; their scaly bodies loop around in a spiral to form knots, and their tails join and end in eagle's heads.

On the upper portion of the door wings is an inscription frieze with cast bronze letters. As some letters are missing, the inscription cannot be read in full. The legible part reads: 'May Allah give power to Abul Kasım Mahmud Sanjar Shah, our lord'. The person mentioned is the atabeg of Cizre, Mahmud Sanjar Shah, who ruled from AH 605–39 / AD 1208–41.

View Short Description

Magnificent portals of monumental mosques symbolise the gates of Paradise. The naming of the sultan, geometric decoration symbolising infinity on the door-wings and the dragon and lion motifs on the doorknockers are an expression not only of the divine power of God but also of the power of the sultan.

Original Owner:

Mahmud Sanjar Shah (AH 605–639 / AD 1208-1241), atabeg of Cizre, from the Artuqid dynasty

How date and origin were established:

The patron was the atabeg of Cizre, Mahmud Sanjar Shah, who ruled from 605–639 / 1208–41. It is likely that the knockers were produced together with the wings for the door of the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque) in Cizre, itself built in 550 / 1155.

How Object was obtained:

The door wings and knocker were transferred to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts from the Mardin Museum in 1976.

How provenance was established:

The door wings and knockers were specially prepared for the door of the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque) in Cizre. Thus, it is highly likely that they were produced in Cizre or in southeastern Anatolia.

Selected bibliography:

ölçer, N. et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, pp.95–7.

Roxburgh, D. J. (ed), Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600–1600, London, 2005, pp.399–400.

Citation of this web page:

Alev Özay "Door wings and a knocker" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;tr;Mus01;4;en

Prepared by: Alev Özay
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 06