At the center of Kayseri, facing the well-preserved citadel stands a large architectural complex, consisting of a mosque, madrasa, mausoleum, and the ruins of a double bathhouse [See figure 1]. The building, known locally as the Hunad Hatun or Huand Hatun Complex, was built in the second quarter of the thirteenth century. Inscriptions on both portals of the mosque date to 1237-38, while the other parts of the complex remain undated. At the time of construction, the patron of the complex, Māhbarī Khātūn, was the mother of the ruling Sultan Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II (R 1237-46) and of the widows of the Sultan ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād (R 1219-37). With her intervention in Kayseri and the construction of two caravanserais near Tokat and Yozgat, Māhbarī Khātūn is one of the most prolific female patrons in medieval Anatolia, and the one who is best documented inmonumental inscriptions, although not in much detail in other written sources of the period, such as chronicles and hagiographies.
This dearth of knowledge opens the question of female patronage in medieval Anatolia, and as well as in the medieval Islamic world as a whole. Although some work has been done on female patrons under the Ayyubids and Mamluks, for instance, there is room for extensive research on the topic. Yasser Tabbaa rightly pointed out that: “[…] the middle Islamic period seems to get lost between the theoretical underpinnings of early Islam, and the archival richness of later periods”.
Correspondingly, research on female patrons in Seljuk and Beylik Anatolia often stands in the shadow of the comparatively rich archival documentation that is available for the mothers and the daughters of the Ottoman sultans. Seen overall, however, not many female patrons are documented in medieval building inscriptions in Anatolia, and even fewer appear in other written sources such as chronicles and waqfīyas. The female patrons, who are known, however, are often related to the ruling house, wives and daughters of the Seljuk sultans, pointing to the limited access to patronage for women of non-royal status while also indicating the lack of documentation on such figures, particularly for medieval Islam. At the same time, documentation, already limited for women related to the ruling houses of the medieval Islamic world, is even more scarce at the level of the ulamā’ or the court elites, about whose spouses and daughters hardly anything is known.
Thus, the women who are documented in written sources, including building inscriptions, are, for the most part, the wives, daughters, or mothers of rulers. In this article, Māhbarī Khātūn will stand at the center as an example of how such a high-level patron was represented in the inscriptions on her foundations. Together with a study on the architecture that resulted from her patronage, and its position in the context of Seljuk Anatolia before the Mongol conquest, this study will provide new insights on the role and status of female patrons in this period.
The life of Māhbarī Khātūn remains in the dark to a large extent. So far, Antony Eastmond has provided the most detailed study of her life and patronage. In addition to few mentions in written sources, the inscriptions on the monuments that Māhbarī Khātūn founded, discussed below, are the most detailed and reliable source of information. They connect her to her late husband, ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād (R 1220-1237), and to her son, the ruling sultan at the time of construction, Ghiyāth alDīn Kaykhusraw II (R 1237-1246). The latter succeeded his father in 1237 with the help of a few loyal amīrs, and acceded to the throne in a lavish ceremony held in Kayseri.
The new sultan’s half-brothers, ‘Izz al-Dīn and Rukn al-Dīn were imprisoned. Their murder was ordered, yet the sultan was deceived into believing the princes dead. The mother of these two princes, al-Malika al-‘Ādila ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, a daughter of the Ayyubid sultan al- ‘Ādil Abū Bakr b. Ayyūb (R 1200-1218), was imprisoned, and taken to Ankara. There, she was strangled at the hands of Sa‘d al-Din Köpek, one of the faithful if, according to the sources, somewhat ruthless notables at the court of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II. She was later buried in the Çifte Künbet (dated 1247-48) in Kayseri, a mausoleum built by her daughtersafter the death of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II. Al-Malika al-‘Ādila’s relationship with Māhbarī Khātūn is not known and there is no record of her as a patron of architecture.
A third wife of ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād, also known under the titleʿIṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, was a daughter of Mughīth al-Dīn Ṭughrilshāh b. Qilij Arslān, the ruler of Erzurum. Thus, she shared a grandfather with her husband. She is known as the patron of the Great Mosque in Uluborlu, dated 1232. The monument no longer survives, yet Scott Redford has recently interpreted the remaining fragments of the foundation inscription, and proposed that at the time of construction of the mosque, ʿIṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn may already have been banished from Konya. The strong insistence on her sultanic lineage, reaching back to her grandfather Qilij Arslān and the omission of her connection to the ruling sultan in particular support the claim of her separation from ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād. This split between the sultan and his wife would explain both ʿIṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn’s acting as an independent patron during the lifetime of ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād, and her insistence, in the foundation inscription, on having paid for the construction herself. In addition to the mosque in Uluborlu, ʿIṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn may also have commissioned several caravanserais.
After the relatively bloody events surrounding his accession, Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II’s reign was soon overshadowed by the increasing threat of the Mongol armies, which had led first forays into Anatolia as early as 1235. In 1243, finally, the Mongol advance was successful: the Seljuks suffered a crushing defeat at the battle of Kösedağ, had to accept their new overlords and pay tribute to the Mongol Great Khan.Anatolia was now a protectorate of the Mongol empire, and as such its adminis tration was more and more closely, over the course of the thirteenth century, tied to the presence of amīrs who had come to agreement with the new overlords. This began with the initial negotiation of Muhadhdhab al-Dīn ‘Alī al-Daylamī who managed to keep Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II in place as a puppet-ruler until the latter’s death in 1246. The effects of the Mongol conquest on construction projects were immediate. After 1243, the Seljuk rulers are no longer recorded as patrons of architecture, and the foundations of Māhbarī Khātūn, in fact, are among the last ‘royal’ constructions in Seljuk Anatolia.
Māhbarī Khātūn is also the most prominent female patron in the region during this period; her daughters-in-law, for instance, were not active in sponsoring architecture. Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II was married to an Ayyubid princess, Ghāzīya Khātūn, a sister of al-Nāṣir Yūsuf and granddaughter of Ḍayfa Khātūn. Unlike her grandmother in Aleppo, this princess is not known as a patron of architecture.
Another of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II’s wives, Gurjī Khātūn (the Georgian Lady), was a daughter of the Georgian queen Rusudan (R 1223-1245). During the lifetime of the sultan, Gurjī Khātūn does not seem to have been active as a patron of architecture. After his death, however, she soon remarried and became the wife of the pervane Mu‘īn alDīn Sulaymān (d. 1277), one of the notables who were adminsitered Anatolia with the approval of the Mongol Ilkhanid rulers of Iran, reaching greatest power in the 1260s. Together with her second husband, Gurjī Khātūn became one of the most important supporters of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (d. 1273), and may have contributed to the construction of this mausoleum in Konya. Her name, however, has not been preserved in any foundation inscriptions. Just as Māhbarī Khātūn, Gurjī Khātūn was not active as a patron while married to the sultan.
As will be discussed in more details below, the inscriptions on Māhbarī Khātūn’s foundations do not reveal any details about her life, beyond her role as the mother of the ruling sultan, the function that most likely enabled her to sponsor construction and endowments in the first place. Her life, until the moment she emerges as a patron is hardly known. Osman Turan has suggested that Māhbarī Khātūn was the daughter of Kyr Vard (also spelled Kirfard), the ruler of Kalonoros (later renamed Ala’iye), a fortress on the southern coast of Anatolia that ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād conquered in the early 1220s.According to Ibn Bībī, Kyr Vard gave one of his daughters, whose name does not appear in the chronicle, in marriage to the Seljuk sultan. The ethnic identity of this prince is unclear: while Osman Turan suggests that Kyr Vard was Armenian, Claude Cahen and Rustam Shukurov state that he was Greek.
If the identification of this unnamed princess with Māhbarī Khātūn is correct, it emerges that she was born as a Christian, and may have retained her religion after her marriage to the Seljuk sultan. This was not uncommon, and several Christian wives of Seljuk rulers were allowed to retain and even practice their religion while at the court in Konya. The construction of a mosque under her patronage, however, does suggest that she converted to Islam later in life, perhaps after the death of her husband and the accession of her teenage son in 1237. Prior to this, we do not know how her life in the sultan’s harem proceeded, nor do we know how old she was at the time of the wedding.
As the inscription on Māhbarī Khātūn’s cenotaph refers to her son, Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II, as deceased, we know that she survived him, setting the date of her death after 1246. In the aftermath of the battle of Kösedağ, the mother of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II, together with other members of his harem, was led into Mongol captivity from the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia, where they had sought refuge. According to Bar Hebraeus, this is the last that was heard of her. In Ibn Bībī’s chronicle, however, Māhbarī Khātūn appears in the presence of several Seljuk notables at the death of Jalāl al-Dīn Qaraṭāy in 1254. Thus, it is likely that Māhbarī Khātūn was released at some point, although the exact circumstances of her captivity are unclear. Māhbarī Khātūn’s date of death remains also unknown.
Beyond these few facts, nothing is known about Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II’s mother. She is, however, one of the royal patrons of the Seljuk house who were active just before the major changes in patronage that followed the Mongol conquest in 1243, during her son’s reign. Māhbarī Khātūn and Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II were, in fact, the last royal Seljuk patrons to commission monuments; in later decades, this task would entirely fall to the notables who collaborated with the Mongol overlords, such as Mu‘īn al-Dīn Sulaymān (d. 1277) and Ṣāḥib ‘Aṭā Fakhr al-Dīn ‘Alī (d.1285).
A detailed discussion of the monuments commissioned by Māhbarī Khātūn will provide a basis for further discussion on the architectural patronage of female figures in medieval Anatolia.
The Huand Hatun Complex
The Huand Hatun complex in Kayseri consists of a mosque, a madrasa, the tomb of the founder, and a bathhouse. The complex is located on a busy thoroughfare that cuts it off from the citadel. Seen from across this street, the façade of the complex presents itself as interrupted by two portals, one leading into the madrasa, the other into the mosque [figure 1]. Over the entrance to the mosque towers a tall minaret that was added in the eighteenth century.
Two portals lead into the mosque, one on the eastern [figure 2] the other on the western [figure 3] side of the building. They interrupt strong stone walls that are pierced by small windows placed high up in the walls. Buttresses, in the shape of half-octagons on the west façade, rectangular on the east side, accentuate the surface of the walls and give the building a fortified aspect. The mosque is built on a rectangular plan, with internal measurements of 43.67 x 52.93 meters [figure 4]. The mosque is divided into bays and aisles that are spanned by vaults supported on square masonry pillars.
The eight aisles with ten bays each are, however, interrupted in three places. First, a dome is placed across a square of roughly five by five meters in front of the mihrab. Second, a square opening of a similar size is situated at the center of the courtyard. Today, this section is covered with a dome that was probably first added in the eighteenth century and replaced in the nineteenth century, while originally, the center of the mosque was likely left open. The third interruption of the vaults in the prayer hall is located in the northwestern corner of the building. Here, a corridor, one bay wide and three bays deep, leads from the portal into the mosque. To the right, a wall blocks off the corridor towards the prayer hall. To the left, three arches that are partially closed offer a view of a small courtyard [figure 5]. The courtyard is two bays wide and three bays deep. A wall closes it off on the eastern side towards the prayer hall. On the northern side, it joins the southern wall of the adjoining madrasa. Within the courtyard, a mausoleum is placed slightly off-center.
This structure, like several other mausolea in thirteenth-century Anatolia, is an octagonal tower, covered with a conical roof. The mausoleum is built of the same basalt stone as the mosque and madrasa, with the exception of its square base, consisting of rows of muqarnas cells carved in white marble. Inside the mausoleum, three stone cenotaphs are placed. They mark the burials that are located in the crypt below. A mihrab in the interior wall of the mausoleum marks the direction of the qibla. In the interior of the mausoleum, this is the only decoration with the exception of the inscriptions on two of the cenotaphs that will be discussed below. Access to the upper level of the mausoleum is through a small door in the southeastern corner-room of the madrasa. From the courtyard, the interior of the mausoleum is not accessible.
The outer surfaces of the mausoleum are decorated with intricate stone carving. Above the muqarnas base, the corners of the structure are accentuated with round moldings that run along the height of the octagon. They end just below the inscription (Qur’an II: 255) that runs around the top, before a muqarnas cornice that supports the roof emerges. The eight sides of the structure are accentuated with geometric bands that form blind arches, establishing panels for more carved decoration in the squinches that are formed at the top [figure 6]. The panels formed inside the arches are left blank, yet small, two-partite windows with dividing colonnettes at the center pierce them. These marble colonettes have small impost blocks, decorated with vegetal motives. They support a piece of stone that merges with the wall above, turning the two sides of the window into a pointed arch. Carved decoration, again vegetal scroll motives, is placed on this section and enlarged to draw the top of a pointed arch as windowframe. The vegetal and geometric motives vary on each of the seven detached sides of the octagon.
From the outside of the building, the mausoleum is largely invisible. On the western façade, between the portals of mosque and madrasa, the conical roof of the mausoleum emerges from behind a wall that otherwise hides this part of the monument[figure 7]. Only four small slits in this wall allow passers-by to see the mausoleum – but only when standing directly in front of them, purposefully gazing through and, so perhaps the hope of the founder – directing a prayer at the eternal rest of the patron. Similarly, in the Sahib Ata complex in Konya (begun in 1258), a small window inserted into the qibla wall of the mosque forms an opening between the prayer hall and the mausoleum of the founder, that is located between the mosque and adjoining khānqāh.  This connection provided an additional presence of the founder’s burial in the eyes of those praying on the other side, and ensured that prayersfor the founder reached their target.
In the Huand Hatun complex, the small openings pierce the wall of the mausoleum courtyard just described. The small courtyard forms the connection between the mosque, still used for its original purpose, and the madrasa, today used as a cultural center [figure 8]. The decoration of the madrasa portal is rather simple, with a muqarnas hood under a segmental arch accentuated with narrow bands of vegetal motifs. A broad geometric frame, now badly deteriorated, forms a rectangular frame around the salient part of the portal, and is flanked by engaged columns on the corners. No original inscriptions are preserved on this façade or elsewhere on the building.
Considering that the top section of the portal is missing it is, however, possible that a foundation inscription originally placed in this location may have been lost. In both portals of the mosque, the marble plaques with the foundation inscription are placed above the muqarnas niche that surmounts the doorway, and precisely this section of the madrasa portal is no longer extant. A restoration inscription in Ottoman Turkish, now illegible, is placed at the center of the façade to the right of the portal. This text may pertain to a restoration in the eighteenth century for which Halil Edhem quotes archival evidence.
In plan, the madrasa is one of many examples in thirteenth-century Anatolia with an open courtyard and two īwāns in the longitudinal axis [figure 9]. The entrance īwān is rather small, yet the one facing in on the eastern side of the building is tall and opens in a wide arch. The building is rectangular in plan and measures about 42 x 28 meters. Its longitudinal axis is turned by ninety degrees with respect to that of the mosque. Thus, the outer walls of the two buildings touch for the length of the mausoleum courtyard. The portal of the madrasa is also on the western side of the complex, parallel, but much in advance of the western portal of the mosque. In the interior, arcades on pillars run along the long sides of the courtyard. The four arches on each side are placed in front of the doors to the small cells, eight on each side, that were used to house students when the madrasa was functioning. To both sides of the entrance, two small rooms were assigned to different functions. A larger, square room is located in the northeastern corner. In the southeastern corner, an elongated rectangular room leads to doors to two separate small chambers. One of these contains a set of stairs to lead into the mausoleum.
In addition to the sequence of mosque, mausoleum, and madrasa, an independent structure belongs to the complex. Placed askew in front of the western entrance of the mosque are the ruins of a double bathhouse with separate sections for men and women. A survey in 1956 and an excavation in 1969 revealed the layout of the building. The placement of the complex, somewhat cut over by the foundations of the mosque, suggest that the bathhouse was already in place when the latter building was added. The women’s section was decorated with glazed tiles arranged in star-and-cross pattern, similar to those found in the palace of Kubadabad, built by ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād in the 1220s.
Foundation Inscriptions and Funerary Texts at the Huand Hatun Complex
The mosque is the only part of the main complex that is securely dated with building inscriptions. Marble plaques are placed over the two entrances to the mosque, one on the east, and the other on the west side of the building. Both inscriptions are very similar in content, stating the name of the founder with all her titles, and the date of construction. The inscription [figure 10] over the eastern portal of the mosque reads as follows:
“[It] ordered the construction of this blessed congregational mosque in the days of the greatest sultan, Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘lDīn, the father of conquest, Kaykhusraw son of Kayqubād, the great queen, the wise, the ascetic, Ṣafwat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, his mother, the opener of good deeds, may God perpetuate the shadows of her splendor and multiply her power, in Shawwāl of the year 635 (May-June 1238).”
The foundation inscription over the western portal is nearly identical, although it refers to a masjid, rather than a larger congregational mosque (jāmi‘). Moreover, the name of the founder, Māhbarī Khātūn, is mentioned here:
“[It] ordered the construction of this blessed mosque in the days of the greatest sultan, Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, the father of conquest, Kaykhusraw son of Kayqubād, the great queen, the wise, the ascetic, Ṣafwat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, Māhbarī Khātūn, may God perpetuate the shadows of her splendor and multiply her power, in the year 635 (1238).”
The chronology of the building beyond the date of construction of the mosque, clearly indicated in the above inscriptions, is disputed. The French archaeologist and architectural historian Albert Gabriel, who studied the building in the 1920s, concluded that that mosque was built first. According to his interpretation, the madrasa and the mausoleum were added at a later date, with the funerary structure coming last, and parts of the mosque were removed to accommodate the small courtyard that now contains the mausoleum, located between mosque and madrasa.
After an architectural survey of the building in 1960, Mahmut Akok concluded that mosque and madrasa were planned as a unified complex, with the mausoleum added at a later date. Haluk Karamağaralı proposed a different chronology, attributing the madrasa, mosque, and mausoleum to distinct and separate phases of construction. In his view, the small courtyard where the mausoleum is today located was the site of an earlier building constructed before Anatolia came under Muslim rule, perhaps a baptistery. The mosque and madrasa would then have been built around to accommodate this structure, which may already have been appropriated for a Muslim burial, and was not removed until the construction of Māhbarī Khātūn’s mausoleum.
Moreover, Karamağaralı argues that the mosque was added to an earlier madrasa, begun perhaps under the patronage of ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād around 1235. Considering that, according to Turan, Māhbarī Khātūn may not have converted to Islam until after the death of her husband, the mosque may have been her first act of patronage as a Muslim, perhaps intended to honor the memory of the deceased sultan. The mausoleum, according to Karamağaralı, was added later, perhaps in the 1260s or 1270s. Without new structural analysis of the mosque, it is not possible to fully assess the sequence of construction. The inscription program on the entirety of the complex, however, including both historical and Qur’anic inscriptions may offer further insights into the sequence and purpose of the construction.
As mentioned above, any understanding of the sequence of construction is complicated by the absence of dated inscriptions in the madrasa and bathhouse. The mausoleum itself is also undated, and adorned only by a Qur’anic inscription, (II: 255, the so-called Throne Verse) that runs along the base of the roof. Inside the mausoleum, however, two of the three stone cenotaphs are inscribed with the names of the women who are buried below, Māhbarī Khātūn and another princess, Saljūqī Khātūn, and provide context to understand the sequence of different phases in the construction of the complex.
The inscription on Māhbarī Khātūn’s cenotaph is quite revealing in terms of the founder’s intentions:
“This is the tomb of the lady, the veiled lady, the fortunate, the martyr, the ascetic, the servant, the devote, the fighter, the promoter of faith, the chaste, the just princess, the queen of the women in the world, the virtuous, the clean, Mary of her Age and Khadīja of her Time, the well-known mistress who gives alms,at the expense of thousands [of riches], purity of the world and of religion, Māhbarī Sulṭān Khātūn the mother of the late sultan Ghiyāth ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Kaykhusraw b. Kayqubād, may God have mercy upon them all, Amen.”
The second princess who is buried in the mausoleum, Saljūqī Khātūn, may have been laid to rest there at a later date:“In the name of God the Merciful the Compassionate. The owner of this tomb is Saljūqī Khātūn, the daughter of the martyr SultanKaykhusraw b. Kayqubād in Muḥarram of the year 683 (1284).”
From the inscription, it is clear that the princess buried here was the daughter of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw, and thus the granddaughter of Māhbarī Khātūn. The identity of her mother, however, remains unknown.This inscription suggests that Saljūqī Khātūn’s burial was added after her grandmother’s death. Thus, the burial and, presumably, the mausoleum of Māhbarī Khātūn may date to any time between 1254, the last date at which the sultan’s mother is known to have been alive, and 1284, the date of her granddaughter’s burial. Unfortunately, the known sources do not allow for a more narrow definition of the mausoleum’s date of construction.
On her cenotaph, Māhbarī Khātūn is clearly depicted as the sultan’s mother, emphasizing her role at the court and asserting her status as a patron of architectura and charitable foundations. The title Ṣafwat ‘lDunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, used in all three inscriptions, may point to Māhbarī Khātūn’s origin as a non-royal wife of the sultan, while ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn seems to have been reserved for women born as princesses. Moreover, two of the epithets that are used for the founder stand out: the Mary of her Age (Maryam awānihā) and the Khadīja of her Time (Khadīja zamānihā). Both laudatory expressions are references to female figures known for their piety, and who are here referenced as models of female devotion. The first, Mary (Maryam), is of course the mother of Jesus (‘Isā), who is mentioned in the Qur’an in her role as the mother of this prophet. The second, Khadīja, was the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad, and his first follower once he began receiving and then preaching the revelation of the Qur’an.
Some of the epithets that are used in this inscription, specifically the references to veiling, chastity, and piety, are similar to those that appear in inscriptions in Ayyubid Syria to emphasize the devotion of princesses. Thus, on the inscription of the Madrasa al-Firdaws in Aleppo, built in 1235, its patron, Ḍayfa Khātūn, is referred to as the “virtuous veil and chaste lady” (al-sitr al-rafī‘ wa ‘l-ḥijāb al-manī‘).  Moreover, in the same inscription, reference is made to Ḍayfa Khātūn’s role as the mother of the ruling Ayyubid sultan al-Malik al-‘Azīz. At her son’s death two years later, in 1237, Ḍayfa Khātūn would become the regent for her grandson, Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn II, then a young boy. Thus, the treatment of this mother of a sultan is similar to that of Māhbarī Khātūn, her near contemporary in Anatolia. Unlike Māhbarī Khātūn, who was likely the daughter of a Christian landlord, however, Ḍayfa Khātūn was born into the Ayyubid family as the daughter of al-Malik al-‘Ādil Abū Bakr (R 1200-1218), and was married to her cousin, al-Ẓāhir Ghāzī of Aleppo (R 1186-1218), in 1212. Thus, she was sister or half-sister of the Ayyubid princess who was married to ‘Alā al-Dīn Kayqubād. The use of royal titles in the funerary inscription of that sister of Ḍayfa Khātūn, murdered after the accession of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II in 1237 is again similar.
Thus, some of the titles and honorifics in Māhbarī Khātūn’s inscriptions are comparable to those in contemporary Ayyubid Syria. While the emphasis on pious and charitable female models is obvious, a subtler layer of interpretation comes to mind. Considering that Māhbarī Khātūn was likely a relatively recent convert to Islam at the time of construction, is it possible that the reference to Mary reflects her Christian past, and the reference to Khadīja her Muslim future? This must remain conjectural, as no comparable example of a reference to a female patron has been preserved from medieval Anatolia, yet the suggestion seems pressing.
Taking a different approach, Eastmond has argued that Māhbarī Khātūn’s patronage of a mosque complex was intended to erase, rather than evoke, her Christian past. Thus, according to Eastmond, she used her patronage as a tool to refashion herself as a Muslim queen once she had overcome her rival, and once her son had become the ruler, rather than one of his half-brothers. This may certainly be the case, as the references above also have a strong connotation of exalting female piety in Islam, yet the continuous adherence to Christianity that was possible for females married into the Seljuk house should also be borne in mind. Thus, the late conversion of Māhbarī Khātūn may, in fact, to point to a change later in life, or perhaps to a refashioning of her identity as the Muslim mother of a Muslim ruler, a necessity to be able to appear in public as a patron.
The question of Māhbarī Khātūn’s implied public image is not easily solved: the funerary inscription, carved on the lid of a cenotaph placed inside the mausoleum was not openly visible. As described before, only a small passage in the northeastern corner gives access to the interior of the mausoleum. From the mosque, through the half-open arches that open on the left side of the corridor that a visitor may enter from the western portal, only the exterior of the mausoleum is visible. As noted before, the exterior of the mausoleum lacks any historical inscriptions. Thus, while the visitor, having read the foundation inscription over the portal, can assume that the founder is buried here, this is by no means to be taken for granted, and not stated anywhere on the exterior of the complex. Moreover, of the two foundation inscriptions of the mosque, only one mentions the name Māhbarī Khātūn, while the other refers to here as the mother of the sultan, using only her title for identification.
Still, the patron’s role is clear. Indeed, the foundations inscriptions both state rather confidently that Māhbarī Khātūn, and no other, was the founder of the complex. Even if, as Karamağaralı suggests, ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād initiated the foundation, this connection is not mentioned in the extant inscriptions. Of course, it cannot be excluded that a lost inscription on the madrasa may have offered a different interpretation. The extant texts, however, clearly make the case for Māhbarī Khātūn as the patron, in particular in the phrase that insists on her financial responsibility for the construction.
Māhbarī Khātūn’s role as the mother of the sultan may have been sufficiently known at the time to be omitted on one of the mosque inscriptions. On the tomb inscription, on the other hand, a reminder may have been needed because the inscription as evidently carved after Ghiyāth alDīn Kaykhusraw II’s death in 1246. Thus, the reference in the inscription to “the late sultan” may have served to enhance the status of a founder who, in her later years, has lost some of her importance in particular perhaps during her captivity after the Mongol conquest of Anatolia. Yet, the mention of sultan Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II’s mother in Ibn Bībī at an event that took place as late as 1254 may suggest that the dowager queen was still a presence to be reckoned with once she had been released. One wishes that more was known about this women than what her foundation in Kayseri reveals. The inscriptions on the caravanserais that she also founded add small pieces of information to the outline presented above, yet lacunae still remain.
The Caravanserais Founded By Māhbarī Khātūn
Of the caravanserais that were founded by, or have been attributed to, Māhbarī Khātūn, only the Hatun Han in Pazar near Tokat is still relatively well preserved [figure 11]. After an extensive restoration, the building now serves as a restaurant. As recorded in the foundation inscriptions, the monumentwas built in 1238-39. The caravanserai, like many thirteenth-century examples in Anatolia, consists of an open courtyard, followed by a covered section. The façade has a fortified aspect, with rounded corner buttresses and a simple portal at its center. This part of the façade has been rebuilt in large parts. The doorway lies in a recess beneath a pointed arch at the center of the rectangular portal block. A tri-lobed panel above the doorway contained an inscription from which the central section is missing. The partial text, reconstructed with the help of the second inscription on the building clearly states Māhbarī Khātūn’s patronage:
“During the days of the greatest sultan [and great khāqān, the shadow of God in the world, Ghiyāth al-Dunyā] wa ‘l-Dīn, the father of conquest, Kaykhusraw, son of the felicitous sultan Kayqubād, associate of the prince of believers, the queen of good, the purity of world and religion, the mother of the sultan, Māhbarī Khātūn ordered the construction of this blessed khān in the year 636 (1238-29).”
In addition to naming the founder, the inscription on the caravanserai also mentions Māhbarī Khātūn’s role as the mother of the sultan. A second inscription is placed over the entrance to the covered section of the caravanserai, framed with an arched molding that is decorated with a pattern in the shape of a small crown at its apex [figure 12]. Its text is nearly identical with the inscription over the entrance portal.
Unlike in the mausoleum, where this statement is hidden inside, here it is in more public view, on the portal of the caravanserai, exalting the founder and her status during the reign of her son. The location of the caravanserai only adds to the public character of this message. The building is located on a crucial caravan road connecting Sinop on the Black Sea with the ports of Alanya and Antalya on the Mediterranean, passing through Konya.
A further six caravanserais can be attributed to this patron, although not all of them with certainty. According to Erdmann, Māhbarī Khātūn may have sponsored the following caravanserais: the Cimcimli (or Çinçinli) Sultan Han (1239-40?), the Cekereksu Han (1239-40?), the Tahtoba Han (1238-46?), the İbibsa Han (1238-46?), the Çiftlik Han (1238- 40?) and the Ezinepazar Han (1238-40?).Of these, the Cimcimli (or Çinçinli) Sultan Han in the region of Yozgat is directly connected to Māhbarī Khātūn through the fragments of a foundation inscription in her name, now found in a nearby mosque, which may have belonged to the caravanserai.The building is in ruins. The other four caravanserais that Erdmann mentions cannot be attributed with full certainty. Erdmann dates them to the rule of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw II on stylistic grounds. These buildings are poorly preserved, making any further conclusions difficult.
Overall, three buildings are thus securely ascribed to the patronage of Māhbarī Khātūn: the mosque complex in Kayseri; the caravanserai in Pazar; and the Cimcimli Sultan Han. This number of monuments may seem small in comparison to the buildings commissioned by the powerful male patrons of the period, such as the sultan ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād, or Jalāl al-Dīn Qaratāy. Still, compared to other female patrons in medieval Anatolia, for whom we often know only one monument, this is a relatively large number, and the status of the founder as the sultan’s mother, even though only recorded in some of her foundation inscriptions, may have been central here. This opens a larger discussion of the dynamics of female patronage in medieval Anatolia that will take up the remaining pages of this article.
Female Patrons in Medieval Anatolia
In medieval Anatolia, very little is known about the lives of the small number of recorded female patrons. For the most part, an understanding of the dynamics that were in place is derives from the later, Ottoman practice, for which more extensive sources have been preserved, and a larger number of female patrons, mostly associated with the ruling house, are known. Similar mechanisms may well have been in place during Seljuk and Mongol rule. The insistence in several inscriptions that bear Māhbarī Khātūn’s name on her role as the sultan’s mother (wālida al sulṭān, the Arabic equivalent to the Ottoman vālide sulṭān) points in this direction. Thus, just as her later Ottoman peers, in her role as the ruling sultan’s mother, Māhbarī Khātūn was able to act as patron.
The fact that Māhbarī Khātūn did not emerge as a patron until after the death of her husband and the accession of her son as ruler, falls in line with Leslie Peirce’s argument that women were more likely to act as patrons in their role as widows and mothers but not as wives, that is, once they were no longer perceived as sexually active. In many Ottoman examples, this dynamic can be observed: Hürrem Sultan, exceptional as the wife (rather than concubine) of Süleyman the Magnificent (R 1520- 66), was the only consort of an Ottoman ruler to act as a patron during the sultan’s lifetime. Other female patrons, such as Kösem Sultan and Hatice Turhan Sultan, conformed to the moral standards expecting them to wait until the ruling sultan had died, and their sons ascended to the throne. At this point, with their grown-up children as rulers, these royal women were considered middle aged matrons – even though, as Peirce points out, they may well have been just in their mid-thirties, and could safely assume the more public rule of patron.
Unfortunately, such explicit inscriptions are rare in medieval Anatolia, and thus comparisons will come from neighboring regions such as Ayyubid Syria, where more examples have been preserved. Generally, the lives of women in the medieval Islamic world are not well documented, as shown with Māhbarī Khātūn’s example above, and analysis often remains limited. In many cases, foundation inscriptions are the most detailed source on these women, at least recording titles, fathers or sons, sometimes names, and dates of construction or, at times, death.
In Anatolia, foundations for which the involvement of a female patron is attested fall into three broad categories: First, foundations, like those of Māhbarī Khātūn, that are attested epigraphically. In the second category fall foundations that are attested epigraphically, but where a male actor, often a lower-ranking courtier or eunuch, acts in the name of the female patron. The third category, patronage that is attested in written sources, such as waqfīyas or chronicles, is the most difficult to study as the connection of monument, patron, and a specific historical figure is often hard to corroborate.
Female Patrons Acting in Their Own Right
The few female patrons who recorded in thirteenth century Anatolia are, for the most part, connected to ruling houses. Of the few extant madrasas that were founded by members of the Seljuk house, one is of course part of the Huand Hatun complex in Kayseri. The Çifte Medrese in Kayseri, dated 1205, is the older example [figure 13]. This double building consisting of madrasa and hospital was founded from the estate of Gawhar Nasība Sulṭān, a sister of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw I, as is evident in the foundation inscription:
“During the days of the great sultan Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘lDīn Kaykhusraw b. Qilij Arslān the construction of this hospital was decided in the testament of the queen ʿIṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘lDīn Gawhar Nasība, daughter of Qilij Arslān, may God please them, in the year 602.”
The patron named in the inscription [figure 14] may have been responsible only for the hospital section, cited in the inscription, while her brother may have commissioned the madrasa. This attribution is based on a local tradition that refers to the madrasa section of the monument as ‘Ghiyāthīya’ since no inscriptions have been preserved. The connecting walls between the two sections suggest that both parts were built at or around the same time. A mausoleum is placed at the northeastern edge of the monument, integrated into the building fabric of the hospital. The burial may be that of Gawhar Nasība, yet no inscription serves to prove this.
The Külük Mosque in Kayseri was either founded, or at least restored, by Atsūz Altī Khātūn, a granddaughter of Danishmendid amīr Yāghībaṣān (R 1142-64). By the time an inscription was placed on the building to record the patronage of Atsūz Altī Khātūn in 1207, Kayseri had long passed into Seljuk hands. Beyond her intervention in this building, Atsūz Altī Khātūn is not recorded in the sources. In the inscription, however, she only appears with her name. None of the honorific titles often associated with the Seljuk princesses of the time are present, perhaps suggesting her position as a relatively wealthy woman, associated with a former, rather than the current ruling house.
Another female patron, Ruqīya Khātūn, is only known from a fragmentary inscription on the Kadın Han, a caravanserai located on the road from Konya to Akşehir, founded in 1223-24. Her identity has not been ascertained, but Konyalı has suggested that she might be identical with Devlet Khātūn, one of the wives of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw I.
In the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği [figure 15], a double complex built in 626/ 1228-29, the ruler of the Mengücekids, Husām alDīn Aḥmadshāh b. Sulaymānshāh and Tūrān Malik, often assumed to be the ruler’s wife, are both mentioned as founders. Tūrān Malik was responsible for the hospital section. Oya Pancaroğlu has discussed how the inscriptions do not explicitly refer to Tūrān Malik as the wife of the Mengücekid ruler, and the identification remains unclear. Clear is, however, that she was of high standing at the Mengücekid court and had close family ties to its rulers, enabling her to be involved in the construction project.
Of ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād’s wives, discussed above, Māhbarī Khātūn was the most active patron of architecture. However, she only emerged as a patron once her son had assumed the throne. ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād’s Ayyubid wife, ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn bint al-Malik al-‘Ādil Abū Bakr b. Ayyūb, never emerged in this role since she was killed soon after the accession of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw in 1237. Several years after her death, however, once Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw had passed away, her anonymous daughters were able to commission a mausoleum for her in Kayseri. The inscription on this monument, known as the Çifte Künbet, points to her royal status and emphasizes her piety.  The mention, in particular, of her as the Zubayda of the Age aims at emphasizing her piety and good works. The reference quite obviously goes to Zubayda (d. 831), wife of the Abbasid caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd (R 786-809) who was considered an example for her patronage of pilgrimage roads and water works in Mecca. Unlike her rival Māhbarī Khātūn, who stylized herself as the Mary of her Age and the Khadīja of her Time, the posthumous honoring of ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn bint al-Malik al-‘Ādil Abū Bakr b. Ayyūb includes a reference that both aims less high than a Qur’anic reference, and at the same time clearly creating her identity as a pious, Muslim princess. In keeping with the intention of highlighting the status of their late mother, the daughters remained unnamed, yet their piety in turn is exalted.
Over the following decades, patronage in Seljuk Anatolia greatly changed, and neither the sultans, now vassals of the Mongols, nor their female relatives are documented as patrons. In fact, the next epigraphically documented female patrons did not emerge until the late 1280s, when a group of small monuments in Tokat offers additional insights. The monuments in question, small shrines and tombs for local Sufis, were now one of the predominant types of architecture sponsored in some parts of Anatolia.In some of these later examples, however, male actors founded the monuments in the name of female figures, thus making the daughters of the unfortunate Ayyubid princess the last epigraphically ascertained independent female patrons.
Female Patrons With a Male Agent
On several buildings in Tokat and Amasya, built in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century, female figures are mentioned prominently in foundation inscriptions. As the acting founder, however, a male figure, often seemingly lower-ranking than the female one, is presented. Most strikingly, in two inscriptions in Tokat, the female figure is presented on nearly equal footing with the – largely powerless – Seljuk sultan Ghiyāth al-Dīn Mas‘ūd II b. Kaykāwūs (R 1282-1301 with several interruptions).The background of the relationship between the female and male figures in these inscriptions is not known, as the texts themselves are the only extant record for them. The examples below all date between 1288 and 1308, and do not appear to have earlier parallels in Anatolia.
A female figure, Malika Ṣafwat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, is mentioned on the Abū ‘l-Shams Zaviye in Tokat [figure 16], a building that is also known as the Ahmed Paşa Mausoleum, and dated 1288. Tracking the identity of this founder is difficult, yet, as Ethel Sara Wolper suggests, there is some reason to assume that the same patron also founded another monuments in Tokat with the help of a male agent, even though there, the titles in the inscription are more extensive.
The second example, the Sünbül Baba Zaviye in Tokat, built in 1292, is much more detailed in the presentation of the female patron’s titles. The foundation inscription [figure 17] is carved in four lines on a rectangular slab of stone placed directly over the doorway:
“God the All-High spoke: Whatsoever good ye send before you for your souls, ye will surely find it with Allah, better and greater in the recompense. And seek forgiveness of Allah [Qur’ān LXXIII:20]. [It] begged for grace by means of the building of this blessed abode, called house of piety [i.e. a structure reserved for Sufis] for God the All-High during the time of the greatest sultan Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn [Masʿūd] bin Kaykāwūs, may God extend his rule, the manumitted slave of the great, brilliant, generous queen venerated for her double ascendance Ṣafwat ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘lDīn, daughter of the late amīr Muʿīn ‘l-Dīn Pervāne, may God have mercy with him, and preserve her [Ṣafwat ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘lDīn], the ornament of the pilgrimage and of the two sacred precincts, Sunbul bin ʿAbdallāh may God accept [this] from him, in the year 691 (1292).”
Wolper points out that the inscription of the Sünbül Baba Zaviye emphasizes royal Seljuk lineage. A daughter of Muʿīn al-Dīn Sulaymān (d. 1277), known by her honorific title Ṣafwat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn (a common epithet for women of high standing in medieval Anatolia), is here presented as being doubly connected to the Seljuk house. These ties, either marital or through her mother, and the explicit statement that the patron was Muʿīn al-Dīn Sulaymān’s daughter created a powerful dynastic claim, at least locally in Tokat, a city where her father had been influential.
Even though the inscription does not give further clues about the relationship between Sunbul b. ‘Abdallāh and Ṣafwat ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn bint Muʿīn ‘l-Dīn Pervāne, the waqfīya of the Sünbül Baba Zaviye may provide some insights.This document has been preserved in a later version in two documents dated 1325. The identification of the documents with the Sünbül Baba Zaviye is likely, but not entirely certain. The waqfīyas in question discuss a posterior endowment made for: “the welfare of the khānqāh that the late ḥāj (who has been forgiven) the eunuch Khwāja Saʿīd b. Sunbul, built in the city of Tokat.” This Saʿīd b. Sunbul may be a son of Sunbul b. Abdallāh, the founder named in the building inscription of the Sünbül Baba Zaviye.  Thus, the foundation went into the family of Sunbul b. Abdallāh, and perhaps this was an extension of the charity of Ṣafwat ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīnbint amīr Muʿīn ‘l-Dīn Pervāne involving the person who acted on her behalf in the foundation. It is not entirely clear if the female patron in the two example discussed above is, in fact, the same person, although there is some reason to suggest this.
The third example in Tokat was clearly the work of a different female figure, ‘Aẓmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Saljūqī Khwand bint Qilij Arslān, who is named in the foundation inscription of the Halef Gazi Zaviye, founded by Khalaf b. Sulaymān in 1292. ‘Aẓmat al-Dunyā is not otherwise known in the sources. Still, her presence together with one, or perhaps two, female patrons in Tokat at the same time shows the support of local elite women for Sufi communities. Moreover, in this inscription, the familyties to the Seljuk house are clearly stated, unlike in the other examples, where it is just implied.
The last example is the Bimarhane (also known as Timarhane) in Amasya, a hospital dated 1308. The foundation inscription on its portal [figure 18] mentions one ʿAnbar b. ʿAbdallāh, a royal lady named Īldūs Khātūn, and the fact that the monument was built during the rule of the Ilkhanid sultan Ūljaytū (R 1304-1316). The mention of the patron and of his overlord Ūljaytū corresponds to the standard protocol of foundation inscriptions written in Arabic. Although he appears as the patron in the inscription, the eunuch ʿAnbar, just in the cases in Tokat, probably built the monument at the order of Īldūs Khātūn, a suggestion further supported by the fact that hospitals in medieval Anatolia were often a prerogative of high-ranking female patrons, as several of the examples discussed above have shown.
Female Patrons Without Epigraphic Documentation
More problematic are cases of female patronage that are not confirmed in inscriptions, but rather attached to local lore or other written sources that connect a patron to a monument. One of these cases is the second example, next to Māhbarī Khātūn, where the mother of the sultan appears as a patron.
As Zeynep Yürekli has discussed, the mother of ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād is credited in texts with finding of the site of the burial of Seyyid Battal Gazi, an important hero of the early Islamic conquest of Anatolia.This figure is not named in the text, and only referred to as Ümm-i Ḫān, the ‘ruler’s mother’. The name of ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād’s mother is not known, yet she is thought to be the daughter of a Greek landlord, Manuel Mavrozomes; the marriage took place around 1204. Ümm-i Ḫān is buried in the crypt below a structure to the west of the tomb of Seyyid Gazi, a section of the shrine dating to the thirteenth century.
The next, and last, case of female patronage to be discussed here is to some extent even more uncertain, as no inscriptions related to it have been preserved and sources are imprecise. The patron of the Çifte Minareli Medrese in Erzurum [figure 19] is not known, as no foundation inscription has been preserved. Yet several scholars, beginning with Konyalı, have suggested that an Ilkhanid princess is likely to have commissioned the building, namely: Khwānd Pādishāh Khātūn, a wife of the Ilkhan Gaykhātū (R 1291-95). The attribution is, however, problematic from the start: even though Pādishāh Khātūn lived in Anatolia for few years before her husband became the Ikhanid ruler in 1291, it is not clear in which city she stayed. Soon, the theory attracted critique, first by J. Michael Rogers. A few years later, Aptullah Kuran concluded that based on stylistic evidence a late thirteenth-century date may be plausible and considers that the hypothesis of Pādishāh Khātūn as a patron might be valid. Independently from Kuran, Metin Sözen agreed on a late thirteenth-century date, and also suggested that Konyalı’s identification of Pādishāh Khātūn as the patron of the monument should be taken seriously. Karamağaralı argued that the Çifte Minareli Medrese was built by Pādishāh Khātūn while she lived in Erzurum. Following the death of her husband, Pādishāh Khātūn supposedly left Erzurum in hurry and the building remained unfinished, the mausoleum unoccupied. In addition to Konyalı, Karamağaralı refers to a passage in Aflākī’s Manākib al-ʿĀrifīn for the princess’s connection to Erzurum. Upon inspection however, the only similar reference in this source is to a Pāshā Khātūn, wife of Gaykhātū, who died in Erzurum at a date that is not mentioned in the text. In a later article, Rogers extensively discussed the life of Pādishāh Khātūn as the wife of Gaykhātū, and as semi-independent ruler of Kirmān after she was widowed in 1294.
In this article, three categories of female patronage in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Anatolia were discussed. The first, patrons for whose activity epigraphic evidence attests direct patronage, are the more conclusive cases. These inscriptions clearly state that a female patron, most often of high rank in the Seljuk court, was responsible for the foundation in question. In two cases, that of the mosque section of the Huand Hatun Complex, and of the Great Mosque in Uluborlu, the patron’s personal financial expense for the construction is clearly stated in order to ascertain both the power, and charity, of the founder. The other epigraphically attested examples do not make and equally clear claim, yet the use of royal titles, and of epithets praising the founders’ piety and justice emphasize the status that an investment in such foundations and their charitable endowments conveyed.
The protocols of royal titles, while perhaps not as elaborate as for the Seljuk sultans, were certainly in place for their wives, daughters, and mothers. The extant inscription show that the relatives of the Seljuk sultans active as patrons were most often their mothers, sisters, and daughters. Only the isolated case of ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn bint Ṭughrilshāh shows a wife of a Seljuk sultan who was active during her husband’s lifetime yet, as discussed above, she was likely no longer at the court at this point. Hence, there is some evidence that similarly as in the Ottoman case, royal wives at the Seljuk court did not become active until after they had either, as in the case of Māhbarī Khātūn, taken on the role of vālide sulṭān or, as in the case just mentioned, were otherwise no longer deemed sexually active. In terms of the titles that are used, ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘lDīn and Ṣafwat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn are the most frequent. Both of them appear in three cases; the latter title, in late thirteenth century, is used in Tokat for female patrons with some relation to the now largely powerless Seljuk house. The only earlier example in Anatolia is that of Māhbarī Khātūn, perhaps, as argued before, because she was not of royal birth. The first title is used for two Seljuk princesses in the first half of the thirteenth century, namely the daughter of Mughīth al-Dīn Ṭughrilshāh and granddaughter of Qilij Arslān, and for the sister of Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kaykhusraw I. With the small number of extant examples, it is difficult to detect patterns in the use of titles for female patrons, yet there are also parallels to their use in Ayyubid Syria in the early thirteenth century, as outlined.
The cases in which high-ranking female patrons appear to have delegated the act of founding a monument to a lower-ranking associate present their own set of problems. The relationship between the two actors involved in these foundations is not explained in detail in the inscriptions, and thus the conclusion to be made is the obvious one, that the female patrons, whose titles clearly emphasize their high status over that of the purported founder, are presented in a prominent light.
The third category of female patronage, namely that attested in written sources other than building inscriptions, provides the additional difficulty that the name of the founder is not attached directly to the monument in question. In the case of ‘Alā’ al-Dīn Kayqubād’s mother at the shrine of Seyyid Gazi, compelling evidence is presented in Yürekli’s study to connect the textual evidence with a section of the building. The example of Pādishāh Khātūn’s patronage in Erzurum is less clear, even though stylistic evidence that cannot be presented here in full helps to place the monument at the very end of the thirteenth century when this princess may have been present in northeastern Anatolia.
The examples presented here show a wide range of monuments that female patrons sponsored. Although only one madrasa is relatively securely connected to a female patron, there are three hospitals, two mosques, and several caravanserais and mausoleum that testify to the lives of these women. Often, the monuments with their detailed inscriptions are the most informative sources on their lives, and as such deserve due attention.
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ʿIṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Gawhar Nasība
Çifte Medrese, Kayseri, 602/ 1205
ayyāma ‘l-sulṭān ‘l-muʿaẓẓam sultan Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Kaykhusraw b. Qilij Arslān dāmat ittafaqa bināʾ hādhā ‘l-māristān waṣiyya ‘an ‘l-malikat ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa-l-Dīn Gawhar Nasība, bin Qilij Arslān arḍāʾ lakum allāh fī sana ithnīna wa-sittamā’ia. RCEA No. 3616
During the days of the great sultan Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Kaykhusraw b. Qilij Arslān the construction of this hospital was decided in the testament of the queen ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Gawhar Nasība, daughter of Qilij Arslān, may God please them, in the year 602.
Atsūz Altī Khātūn bint Maḥmūd bin Yāghībaṣān
Külük Mosque in Kayseri, 607/ 1210
(1) ‘amara fī sabīl rabb ‘l-‘ālamīn fī ayyām dawla mawlānā ‘l-sulṭān (2) ‘l-mu‘aẓẓam ‘Izz al-dunyā wa ‘l-dīn abū ‘l-fatḥ Kaykāwūs bin Kaykhusraw qasīm amīr (3) ‘l-mu’minīn aḍ’af ‘abbād allāh ‘l-sitt ‘l-ma‘ṣūma Atsūz Altī Khātūn bint Maḥmūd bin Yāghībaṣān sanata sab‘ wasittamā’ia. RCEA No. 3665; van Berchem, op. cit, pp. 90-91.
Ordered in the way of the Lord of the World, during the days of the rule of our master the great sultan ‘Izz al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, the father of conquest, Kaykāwūs son of Kaykhusraw, supporter of the prince of believers, the weakest of the slaves of God, the innocent lady Atsūz Altī Khātūn bint Maḥmūd bin Yāghībaṣān [in the] year 607.
Kadın Han, Konya-Aksehir road, 620/ 1223-24
(1) l-sulṭānī (2) allāhimma arḥama mā…. (3) li-ṣāḥiba arṣibā ḥārbū [sic!]… (4) talath... (5) fī sana ‘ashrīn wa sittamā’ia
the sultanic. Oh God, have mercy on what … by the lady [Ruqīya Khātūn]…. Three… in the year 620.
Hospital section of the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, 626/ 1228-29
(1) amara bi-‘imāra ha[dhihi] dār ‘l-shifā’ ‘l-mubāraka ibtighā’an ‘lmurḍāt ‘llāh ‘l-malika ‘l-‘ādila (2) ‘l-muḥtāja ilā ‘afw ‘llāh Tūrān Malik bint ‘l-malik ‘l-sa‘īd Fakhr al-Dīn Bahrāmshāh (3) taqabbala ‘llāh minhā amīn fī aḥad shuhūr sitta wa ‘ashrīn wa sittamā’ia. RCEA, No. 4001
The just queen, in need of God Almighty’s pardon, Tūrān Malik, daughter of the fortunate king Fakhr al-Dīn Bahrāmshāh, ordered the building of this blessed house of healing, longing for God Alimighty’s benevolence. May God accept it, Amen. In one of the months of 626.
‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn bint Ṭughrilshāh bin Qilij Arslān
Ulu Cami, Uluborlu, 629/ 1232
banā’ hadhā ‘l-masjid ‘l-mubārak fī ayyām dawla ‘l-sulṭān ‘l-a‘ẓam shāhanshāh ‘l-mu‘aẓẓam ẓill ‘llāh fī ‘l-‘ālam ‘Alā’ ‘l-dunyā wa ‘l-dīn abū ‘l-fatḥ Kayqubād bin Kaykhusraw wa min māl ‘l-malika ‘l-‘ālima ‘l-‘ādila ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn ṣafwat ‘l-islām wa ‘l-muslimīn bint ‘l-malik ‘lshahīd Ṭughrilshāh bin Qilij Arslān dāma iqbālahā fī rajab sana tis‘a wa ‘ashrīn wa-sittamā’ia. RCEA, No. 4044.
[It] built this blessed mosque during the days of the rule of the greatest sultan, the great king of kings, the shadow of God in the world, ‘Alā’ ‘lDunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, the father of conquest, Kayqubād son of Kaykhusraw at the expense of the wise and just queen, Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, the purity of Islam and the Muslims, the daughter of the martyred king Ṭughrilshāh, son of Qilij Arslān, may her felicity last in Rajab of the year 629.
Unnamed daughters of ‘Iṣmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn bint al-Malik al- ‘Ādil Abū Bakr b. Ayyūb
Çifte Künbet in Kayseri, built for their mother in 645/ 1247-48
(1) Hadhā ‘l-mashhad ‘l-malika ‘l-sa‘īda ‘l-shahīda ‘l-‘ālima ‘l-zāhida ‘Iṣmat (2) al-dunyā wa ‘l-dīn ṣafwat ‘l-islām wa ‘l-muslimīn sayyida ‘lnisā’ fī ‘l-‘ālam Zubayda ‘l-zamān (3) ṣāḥiba ‘l-khiṣāl ‘l-fākhira khātūn ‘ldunyā wa ‘l-ākhira ‘l-malika ‘l-malikāt (sic!) mansha’ ‘l-yumn wa ‘lbarakāt bint l-malik (4) ‘l-‘ādil Abī Bakr bin Ayyūb nawwara ‘llāh qabrahā wa ‘aṭṭara rūḥahā wa rīḥahā amarat bi-‘imāra[tihi] banātuhā ‘lmukhaddarāt (5) ballaghahā ‘llāh āmālahā wa aḥasana ḥālahā fī sanati khamsa wa arba‘īn wa sittamā’ia. RCEA, No. 4273.
This is the shrine of the felicitous martyred queen, the wise, the ascetic, Iṣmat (2) al-dunyā wa ‘l-dīn, purity of Islam and of the Muslim, the lady of the women in the world, the Zubayda of her time, the proprietress of qualities, the proud, the lady of this world and the next, the queen of queens, the sources of luck and blessings, the daughter of al-Malik al- ‘Ādil Abū Bakr bin Ayyūb, may God illuminate her tomb and perfume her soul and her spirit. Her secluded daughters, may God elevate their works and embellish their status, ordered the construction [of the tomb], in the year 645.
Malika Ṣafwat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn
Abū ‘l-Shams Zaviye, also known as Ahmad Pasha Mausoleum, in Tokat, dated 687/ 1288
qāla allāh tabāruk wa ta‘ālā: man ‘amala ṣāliḥan fa-li-nafsihi(Qur’an XLI: 46) taqarraba bi-inshā’ hadhā ‘l-khānqāh ‘l-mubārak fī (2) zaman ‘l-sulṭān ‘l-a‘ẓam shāhanshāh ‘l-mu‘aẓẓam Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn abī ‘l-fatḥ Mas‘ūd bin Kaykāwūs khallada ‘llāh dawlatahu wa fī ayyām malika [sic!] ‘l-mu‘aẓẓama Ṣafwat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn ayyada ‘llāh dawlatahā ilā ‘llāh ta‘ālā, wa ibtaghā marḍātuhu ‘l-‘abd ‘l-ḍa‘īf ‘l-muḥtāj ilā ghafūr ‘l-laṭīf Abū ‘l-Ḥasan bin ‘l-Shams taqabbala ‘llāh minhu wa aḥsana ‘awāqibahu fī shahr rabī‘ ‘l-ākhar ‘l-sana sab‘ wa-thamānīn wasittamā’ia.” RCEA, No. 4903; İsmail Hakkı (Uzunçarşılı), Tûḳâd, p. 10.
God the All Blessed and All High spoke: who does good, unto his soul (Qur’an XLI: 46) [it] sought favor through the construction of this blessed khānqāh in the time of the greatest sultan, the great king of kings, Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, the father of conquests, Mas‘ūd bin Kaykāwūs, may God extend his rule, [and] in the days of the great queen Ṣafwat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, may God support her rule, to God the All High, and seeking his pleasure, the weak slave in need of the muchforgiving of the Kind God, Abū ‘l-Ḥasan, the son of al-Shams, may God accept [this] from him, and may he embellish his issue, in the month Rabī‘ ‘l-Ākhar of the year 687.
Ṣafwat ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, daughter of the late amīr Mu‘īn ‘l-dīn Pervāne
Sünbül Baba Zaviye, Tokat, 692/ 1291
qāla ‘llāhu ta‘ālā wa mā taqaddamū li-anfusikum min khayrin tajidūhu ‘inda ‘llāhi huwa hayran wa a‘ẓama ajran wa-istaghfiraw ‘llāha [Qur’ān LXXIII:20] tawassala bi-inshāʾi hadhā ‘l-maqām ‘l-mubārak ‘lmusammā dār ‘l-ṣulaḥā ilā ‘llāh ta‘ālā fī zaman ‘l-sulṭān ‘l-a‘ẓam Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn (Masʿūd) bin Kaykāwūs khallada ‘llāhu dawlatahū ‘atīqi ‘l-malikati ‘l-mu‘aẓẓama ‘l-muṭahara ‘l-mukarima ilā ‘l-ṭarīfayn ‘lnasība ‘l-abawayn Ṣafwat ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn bint ‘l-amīr ‘l-maghfūr Mu‘īn al-dīn barwāna [pervāne] raḥimahū ‘llāh wa abqāhā zayn ‘l-ḥāji wa ‘l-haramayn Sunbul bin ʿAbdallāh taqabbala ‘llāhu minhu fī sana iḥdā wa tisʿīn wa sabʿamāʾia. RCEA, No. 4959; İsmail Hakkı (Uzunçarşılı), Tûḳâd, p. 11.
God the All-High spoke: Whatsoever good ye send before you for your souls, ye will surely find it with Allah, better and greater in the recompense. And seek forgiveness of Allah (Qur’ān LXXIII:20). [It] begged for grace by means of the building of this blessed abode, called house of piety [i.e. a structure reserved for Sufis] for God the All-High during the time of the greatest sultan Ghiyāth al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn [Masʿūd] bin Kaykāwūs, may God extend his rule, the manumitted slave of the great, brilliant, generous queen venerated for her double ascendance Ṣafwat ‘lDunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, daughter of the late amīr Muʿīn ‘l-Dīn Pervāne, may God have mercy with him [the amīr], and preserve her [Ṣafwat ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn], the ornament of the pilgrimage and of the two sacred precincts [Mecca and Medina] Sunbul bin ʿAbdallāh may God accept [this] from him, in the year 691.
‘Aẓmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Saljūqī Khwand bint Qilij Arslān
Halef Gazi Zaviye, Tokat, 681/ 1292
(1) qāla ‘llāh tabārak wa ta’ālā: salām ‘alaykum ṭibtum fa-adkhalūhā khālidīn (Qur’an XXXIX: 73) wa-qāla ‘l-nabī ‘alayhi ‘l-salām idh[ā] māta ibn ādam (2) inqaṭa‘a ‘amlahu illā ‘an thalath, walad ṣāliḥ yad‘ū lahu aw ‘ilm yantafi‘u bihi aw sadaqa jāriya. Amara bi-‘imāra hādihi ‘l-buq‘a ‘lsharīfa ‘l-musammā (sic) (3) dār ‘l-‘ilm wa ‘l-‘amal fī ayyām dawla ‘l-sulṭān ‘l-a‘ẓam Ghiyāth ‘l-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn abū ‘l-fatḥ Mas‘ūd bin Kaykāwūs khallada allāh mulkahu wa ayyāma dawla malika l-mu‘aẓẓama ḥamīda ‘lkhawātīn (4) ‘Aẓmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Saljūqī Khwand bint Qilij Arslān ayyada ‘llāh dawlatahā ‘l-‘abd ‘l-ḍa‘īf ‘l-muḥtāj ilā raḥmati ‘llāh Khalaf bin Sulaymān taqabbala ‘llāh minhu sanata aḥad wa tis‘īn wa sittamā’ia. RCEA, No. 4960; İsmail Hakkı (Uzunçarşılı), Tûḳâd, p. 12
God the All Blessed and All High spoke: Peace be with you, you were good and you will [dwell] eternally (Qur’an XXXIX: 73), and the Prophet, peace be upon him, spoke: when a son of man dies, his work ceased save for three [things]: a devout son who prays for him, knowledge that he puts to good use, or permanent charity. [It] ordered the construction of this noble building called house of knowledge and work during the days of the rule of the greatest sultan Ghiyāth ‘l-dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn, the father of conquest, Mas‘ūd son of Kaykāwūs, may God eternalize his rule, and in the days of the rule of the great queen, the most praised of princesses, Aẓmat al-Dunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Saljūqī Khwand, daughter of Qilij Arslān, may God support her rule, the weak slave in need of God’s grace, Khalaf son of Sulaymān, may God accept [this] from him, [in the] year 691.
Īldūs Khātūn (wife of Uljaytu)
Bimarhane in Amasya, 708/ 1309
(1)Waffaqa ‘llāhu ‘azza sulṭānuhū bi-‘imārati dār ‘l-shifā‘ ‘l-mubāraka fī ayyām (2)‘l-dawlat ‘l-sulṭān ‘l-mu‘aẓẓam ‘l-khāqān ‘l-a‘ẓami Ghiyāth alDunyā wa ‘l-Dīn Uljāytū ‘l-sulṭān Muḥammad khallada allāhu sulṭānahū wa-ayyāma ʿizzati ‘l-khātūni ‘l-muʿaẓẓamati malikati ‘l-‘akābir (3) Īldūs Khātūn zayadat dawlatuhā ‘l-‘abd ‘l-ḍa‘īfu ‘Anbar bin ‘Abdallāh taqabbala ‘llāhu minhī fī sana thamān wa-sab‘amā’ia.” RCEA, No. 5238
(1) God - may his rule be glorious, has supported the construction of the blessed house of healing during the days (2) of the rule of the exalted sultan, the greatest khāqān Ghiyāth al-dunyā wa-l-dīn Ūljaytū sulṭān Muḥammad, may God extend his rule, and during the days of the glory of the exalted lady, the queen of the great (3) Īldūs Khātūn may her rule be extended, the weak slave ʿAnbar bin ʿAbdallāh, may God accept [this] from him in the year 709.