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The Door Knockers of Şanlıurfa
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 01 Sep 2008 Mon 06:10 pm

The fabric of traditional houses in Turkey is fast vanishing, and these houses are not being adequately documented. As a consequence, sufficient attention is not bestowed on details such as knockers.

There are a great variety of knockers in Turkey, a large number of them having designs steming from the west. Examples may be seen all over the country, from İzmir to Siirt. In the Tokat- Sivas- Tunceli and Urfa- Mardin regions one also finds knockers of traditional Turkish design.

Knockers do not bear dates, so it is not known how old they are. The earliest in Turkey are the dragon- head knockers on the doors of the 13 th- century Ulu Mosque in Cizre. The knockers on the 15 th- century tomb of Hacı Bayram Veli, the Mehmet Pasha Mosque in Amasya, the tomb of Cem Sultan in Bursa, and the 16 th- century Muradiye Mosque in Manisa are circular rings ending in a dragon’s head. For each, the date of the knocker is taken as that of the building, and knockers in the form of rings are seen on buildings depicted in miniatures of the 15 th and 16 th centuries.

Six types of knocker have been noted in Urfa:

1-       Animal- shaped
2-       L-shaped
3-       Hand- shaped
4-       Leaf- shaped
5-       Oval Culminating in a Palmette
6-       Rings

1- Animal- shaped Knockers

These are 1-2 cm. thick, 3-4 cm, wide 20-30 cm, long and made of beaten iron. Attached by their tail to the door, they have a head and beak or nose at the bottom to actually knock with. There is also a tailless type. When there is a tail it always curls upward, and in some examples there are two curls, one within the other. The tail is thick at the base, narrowing as it goes along. Since the tail curls at the top there is an extension to attach it by, in such a way that the knocker as a whole will swing. When there is no tail the knocker is topped by a ring which attaches to the door. The body is long and slender, thinning at the sides where it meets the head and tail.

The head of such a knocker looks like an anvil. Thicker than the body, the head is rectangularly prismatic, with a slightly upturned nose or beak narrowing toward the tip. Here, too, there may be variations, with a curve upward or inward, as with the tails, or a downward curve.

The head is thicker than the body, but usually a metal projection is added on underneath for knocking purposes, so that metal hits metal.


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