Women Patrons in Medieval Anatolia And a Discussion of Māhbarī Khātūn’s Mosque Complex in Kayseri
Keywords: ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād, Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II, Māhbarī Khātūn, Women Patrons, Huand Hatun complex, Seljuk, Ilkhanid
This article traces the role of female patrons of architecture in thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century Anatolia. At the center stands Māhbarī Khātūn, the mother of the Seljuk Sultan Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II (R 1237-46). During the rule of her son, Māhbarī Khātūn was active as a patron of architecture, building most notably the Huand Hatun complex in Kayseri in 1238, and several caravanserais. The foundation inscriptions of these monuments, and the funerary inscription on Māhbarī Khātūn's cenotaph in the Huand Hatun mausoleum present the founder both as the mother of the sultan, and as a pious Muslim woman. The insistence on Māhbarī Khātūn's position as the sultan's mother points to her activity in a later stage of life, after the dead of her husband, 'Alā' al-Dīn Kayqubād (R 1220-37), when her status was akin to that of the valide sultan in later Ottoman practice. This article compares Māhbarī Khātūn to other known female patrons, active in Anatolia during Seljuk and Ilkhanid rule, who are mostly recorded in their foundation inscriptions. Thus, the importance of these inscriptions as sources to trace patrons who are marginal in the chronicles and hagiographies of the time, as is the case for female members of the Seljuk court, clearly emerges.