MOSQUE FIGURED GRAVESTONES
Turkish Culture has an important burial traditions coming from central Asia which have been using not only Turcoman states in Asia but also in Turkey as well in diffrent styles and shapes. Turkish nations, where they were settled down or whatever they set up a state or an empire, have reflected their burial culture on gravestones as their seals adopting the geographical features by creating local styles. When you look at the Turkish gravestones from the beginning of the Turkish history to the present time, you will be able to see hundred of different styles, orders, designs and types on. They are called in different names depending on where they were standing such as Balbal in pre-islamic period, Ahlat in Seljuk state, Sanduka in Karamanlid emirate and Şahide in Ottoman empire. When you travel to investigate Turkish gravestones throughut Turkey from east-west and north-south axis , you can come across thousands of Turkish gravestones in hundreds types, shapes, sizes and arcitectural orders reflecting both general featuries of Turkish burial traditions and local beliefs. Each region also represents its geographical character on gravestones by carving some symbols on. One of the most beautiful types of Turkish gravestones called “ mosque figured tombstones “ are located only in Aegean region from Balıkesir to Muğla provinces on women’s graves & gravestones. We do not know the total numbers of them but we know when they were created and what they reflect by carving the mosque figures on. The mosque figured gravestones, which are located in Aegean region only, has an important place in Turkish history of civilization. Turkish tribes , who migrated from Central Asia to the western countries for ages, have brought their cultures & burial traditions together. Beautiful architectural works & splendid gravestones were built in Seljuk and Ottoman periods in western Anatolia but majority of them were destroyed by the earthquakes, wars and fires in time. Between 18th and 19th centuries, when the Ottoman art was under the influence of western one, the fountains, pulpits, mosque walls and gravestones in towns & cities were docareted with mosque figured architecture. As well as wood and marble plaster were processed depicting mosque figures, the flowers and trees in rococe in architectural order are accompanied with them. The gravestones have been a leading application in the plastic arts throughout the long Turkish history, However, the gravestones you can see on this website from western Anatolia, due to they are dated dated between 1740-1919 years and their architectural ornamentation on ladies stones, are unique all over the world. From 18th century , western art resulting from intense effects & a new trend called westernization showed itself in almost every branch of Turkish art and it found in great vogue in the architecture . While the real and imaginary views of the wall paintings in homes & mansions, this tradition has continued on ladies tombstone decorations. From the beginning of Islam became the main faith in Anatolia, such depictions have been found as carves on gravestones which take place of sculpture art in Turkish culture so the burial tradition on mosque figured gravestones has continued in different form in this age although they were decorated under the influence of western art. The religious structures of representations such as mosques, houses , neighborhoods, landscapes & symbolic wooden figures such as cypress & palm, which are carved on the triangular shapes or in flat ends on ladies gravestones, draw attention as the reflections of western art settled on Turkish tombstones. All these motifs were enriched with fruits such as figs, pomegranetes, pears & flower bouquets in vases or distanced. The crescent and star motifs, which interspersed in the sky with the described desired night scenes, are framed by acanthus leaves often often with popular motifs of the drape curtains . The main message with double or single-domed mosques adding the minares on ladies gravestones in Aegean region is that the mosque accepted as the sacred place. In Turkish symbolism, the crescent & stars describe the freedom & patriotism, the pitcher motif represents cleanliness & purity , the figured mosque represents a moslem worship place and it reminds Allah is the great creator, the owner of the judgement day , the merciful and forgiving sins.