Prof. Dr. Baha Tanman’s lecture at IRCICA


In the context of the “IRCICA Cultural Heritage Talks”, the historian of art and architecture, Prof. Dr. Baha Tanman, gave a lecture on “The Reflection of Sufi Conceptions and Icons in the Ottoman Period Sufi Buildings and Ornamental Arts” at IRCICA headquarters on 3 Feb. 2023. Alluding to the impossibility to cover the whole Islamic world extending from the Far East to South America in a single lecture, Professor Tanman said that the Ottoman periodical context alone houses innumerable tangible symbols of Sufi concepts and practices. The lecturer began his presentation from the center of Sufism in this geography, the Mevlana Museum complex in Konya, outlining the architectural characteristics of the mausoleum, mosque and ritual hall. Widening the focus in all directions, the lecturer showed photos of single structures and building complexes from different centuries located in various regions of the Ottoman geography, mostly tekkes (lodges) of different Sufi orders, their ground and elevation plans, artworks including ornamentations, inscriptions, paintings, calligraphy plates and tombstones, as well as daily-use objects. The fascinating journey revealed the symbols of Sufi beliefs and rituals reflected in a wide range of applications from alems on domes and spoon handles made in the shape of dervish hats to the rose shape drawn on various surfaces, including the various symbolic meanings attributed to certain numbers, such as 12 and 7.

The lecture was organized in hybrid format, with online English translation. It was attended by an international audience of scholars, researchers, students of philosophy and history of art and ended with a Q&A discussion.

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