Halit Çal

Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Sanat Tarihi Bölümü, Ankara /TÜRKİYE

Keywords: Ottoman, tombstone, sun crest, Europe


Circular crest motifs in the shape of sunbeams radiating from a central flower are named as sun crests. We have determined 311 out of 33911 tombstones recorded in publications and dissertations. The ones carrying a date are dated between 1810 and 1952. It spreads out in the second half of 19th century. The bodies have rectangular cross-sections except one with a circular cross-section. We have classified the crests under 6 subgroups, and the arms under 7 subgroups. The general shape is close to sunbeams in 141 of them, and more of a floral design in 152 of them. 91% are made for women. 1 for a pasha, 26 were made for a relative of a pasha, 1 for the son of a Sheikh-ul Islam, besides these most are made for self-employment citizens, and few of them belong to minor governmental officials. The scale of this type in whole Turkey is only one percent. The sun motifs are known in Seljuk architecture and coins in Turkey. Multi armed stars and star crossings were widespread since Seljuks. The sunbeam motifs in 19th century Ottoman architecture are similar in shape to the ones seen in 17-18th century European architecture. The European influenced seashell form and fans with plain arms which were widespreadsince the early 18th century may also have inspired the sunbeam crests of 19th century. Square, oval, and rectangular shaped sun motifs on the sarcophagus tombstones have tughra as their central piece. The similarities of them with Ottoman emblem shape may indicate that same idea was applied to tombstones. Still most of the samples belong to the female relatives of minor governmental officials or self-employers.