vendredi 21 juin 2013

Extensive project reveals grandeur of Seljuk Empire

Five voluminous tomes and a documentary that were prepared as part of the Legacy of the Great Seljuks Project now make it possible to view photographs of some of the most important architectural pieces and a plethora of artworks.

The Great Seljuk Empire ruled over an enormous area and created a unique civilization blending Turkish traditions with Islam and reaching excellence in the arts, sciences, architecture as well as military and land administration, and now it is possible to view professional photographs of their masterful buildings and artifacts in an ambitious publication.

Five voluminous tomes and a documentary that were prepared as part of the Legacy of the Great Seljuks Project now make it possible to view photographs of some of the most important architectural pieces and a plethora of artworks that remain from the Seljuks’ majestic heritage in various countries and museums of the world
The project, carried out under the auspices of President Abdullah Gül, was introduced to the public on Tuesday at a ceremony held at the Çankaya presidential palace. Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Education Minster Nabi Avcı, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz and many other top politicians and bureaucrats were in attendance.

The catalogues published in the project are arranged in five volumes, two dedicated to photographs of the finest examples of Seljuk art currently on display in 22 museums of the world including the Berlin Pergamon, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, the Hermitage, the David Collection in Copenhagen, the British Museum, the Isfahan Museum and others in Russia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkey and three others dedicated to Seljuk architecture.

Project contributors traveled 120,000 kilometers of highways in 12 countries, took 50,000 photographs and hours of footage and visited more than 250 towns to catalogue 320 works of the Seljuk legacy. A 180-minute documentary was also prepared as part of the project.

There is also academic information about the artifacts in the published catalogues, which is the result of extensive research and diplomatic efforts to ensure the Seljuk heritage in about a dozen countries could be catalogued, with the collaboration of nearly 200 academics, researchers, writers and diplomats. The works in these two volumes exhibit the artistic perfectionism the Seljuks reached in handcrafts including glass works, ceramics, fabrics and metal objects.
The Great Seljuks ruled between 1037 and 1194 over a vast area starting in Central Asia, from where their ancestors the Oghuz Turks hailed, and extending to Anatolia in the west, and the Hindu Kush in the east and as far as Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula in the south.

In an introductory note, President Gül noted: “Today, it is our responsibility to be loyal to this grand civilization and to protect it. When the Great Seljuks withdrew from the scene of history in 1157, their successors, the Anatolian Seljuk Empire, ruled until 1308, establishing Anatolia as their homeland. To carry on their traditions, we must ensure the preservation of objects in museums and the buildings of the Seljuk era, which have now become the common heritage of humankind. I think that the books and documentaries that will appear as a result of these preservation efforts will open new horizons for all who would like to carry out research in these fields.”
Turkish and Persian scientists, poets, scholars and thinkers associated with this era include Ahmet Yesevi, Muhiddin Arabi, Konevi, Sarakhsi, Joseph Hamiadani, Shahrastari, Abdul Qadir Gilani, Omar Khayyam and dozens of others.

The three remaining volumes in the series focus only on the architectural wonders the Great Seljuk Empire left behind. The first tome in the series includes mosques, bridges, fortresses, tombs, caravanserais and other masterpieces of architecture, one area the Seljuk excelled in, from modern-day Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Afghanistan, Armenia and other areas where the Seljuk once ruled.

The project also includes information about the Seljuk sultans from Alp Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar and the Seljuk architects Mohammed bin Atsız, Keluk bin Abdullah, Hürrem Shah of Ahlat, Makki the son of Hji Birti, Kerimuddin Erdi Shah, Abdulgaffar and Mohammed the son of Havlan of Damascus.

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