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Islamic Architecture
 
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Who can explain the construction and the designe of such Seldjuk arches?
This arch is from the Mevlane in Konya.
More samples I can mail.
Christoph Weber
Responses
 
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Christopher, I would imagine that the different colours of the stones hold the key to the shape the stones. These arch stones have been carved into zigzags and then fitted together. The zizgzags may have been an attempt to lock the stones together in the event of an earthquake. The pattern produced by alternating colours in stone arches, etc is an Islamic tradition in some parts, such as in the Great Mosque in Cordoba in Spain which has freestanding intersecting stone arches and make a wonderful architectural space frame. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
hello mr weber,
Mr frank told you the construction of such arches, he told u that it's innovation was because of protection from earthquakes, if you want imagine how this happen interlock your both hands fingers together and make someone press upon them, you will find that the interlocking increases when the press increases. this is the secret.

Concerning the colors of voussoirs " stones of arch" at the first in cordoba and elsewhere they were colored stones, then in the Mamluki bldgs the mason used to color them, let one voussoirs in it's natural colour and color the next...and so on.

bye bye
Waleed Akef
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Thank you Mr. Akef,
thank you Mr. Snelling,
Earthquak can´t be the only one reason, for sure it is an very good argument.
Nearly each seljuk building have such arches. Some are very complicated to errect. The most impressiv sample are the 8 arches of the Selemiye mosque in Edirne, build by Sinan. The shapes of the contact profiles are more complicate than shown in my sketch. The capstone which fits into the arch is usely the last stone when the arch becomes ready. In many cases this capston can not fit in, if both directions are profiled. The horizontal profile you find more times and than the errection becomes a miracle.
I would like to understand how the builders solved the problems? How is the contact profile looking? Specialy in the Selemiye in Edirne.
Christoph Weber
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Hello Mr. Weber.
For the capstone, rather than putting it like a wedge from above the arch, I believe it would fit if one places it across its face like the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle. I mean, just maybe. :-)
Jofer Magsi
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Hallo Mr. Magsi,
you are right, it is like a puzzle. In my opinion the only way to errect the arch is to starting with the capstone on the centring (scaffold). The scaffold should be a block size above the pillars. When all stones are complete the scaffold becomes lowered and the arch will fit into the pillars.
This could be possible with small arches. How made it Sinan at Selimiye mosque in Edirne with many of tons (39 shaped stones for one of the 8 arches)?
Christoph Weber
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
hello mr weber,

i've just seen some pics to selimiye mosque and i need from u to make sure if the voussoirs of their arches are joggled, because i've seen that they are colored but not interlocked.

best wishes,
Waleed Akef
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
hell Mr. Akef,
I only know the photographs, I have never been in Edirne. But there are other portals also at the Selimiye mosque done by Sinan with similar interlocked stones, and you can see very clear that this stones are interlocked.
I can not proof that the 8 arches which are carrying the cupola are made from interlocked stones. But it would be hard to understand, if Sinan has made a fake with colours.
You will find some pictures in archnet. Please have a look.
Christoph Weber
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Christoph, Look at the evolution of design of Light Houses. Given that the forces to be resisted were horizontal (ie huge storm waves repeatedly battering the structure and seawater flowing against these lighthouse towers), then the stones of the tower were designed similar to vertical arches to interlock to provide enormous strength. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Hallo Frank,
you are absolutly right. Stabilty is one of the reasons, I am an engineer and understand the advantage of such interlocking stones very well.
My questions are more going to the direction, why such methods have be mainly used by the Seljuk and Mamluk architects and why there are no samples in the western architecture like in Minor Asia and Near East. The Mamluks have been the sucessors of the Seljuks for that kind of arches. That stabil and ornamental technic went after 16th century nearly lost. The main interrest of myself is to find the method of its construction. I am wondering a little that there is no architect and engineer who is able to explain how this miracalous arches are build or errected. Even if that technic is used for lighthouses it would not be simple to do it with such interloked and profiled stones.
I am still convinced that this construction was used more for ornamental purposes than for stability, they wanted to make the poeple wondering about their scillnes and aesthetics. May be my remaining questions will will find an answer in the future.
Thanks and best regards
Christoph Weber
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Thats merely artisticness that has tempted the creation, because there presently are more objects of curios that are selling in markets ,where the traditional makers adjoin different color marbles and then produce a item of use ......like a chess board ..or floors of forts from earlier times.. now we can see ciggerette trays and cigar boxes etc...
Sher Saddozai
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
good day guys, with the name of ALLAH

As far my knowledge goes in he field of architecture and islamic architecture, i can say it's unanimous that the interlocked vossoirs began it's appearance as an architectural feature before being an ornamental one, enhance this opinion that the beginnings of this voussoirs was interlocked but not colored, read about the roman bridges in france and spain and see the picture of the first example of such type of arches in Syria and u will find out that these arches were interlocked but not colored..


concerning the method of constructing such arches...it's really hard particularly in the big or massive arches, BUT we can say as what was said, the skilness was the pusher to create and innovate new types of architectural elements, and please if anyone can ask a cultured doctor about it, just tell us because it's hard to find such method in books.

good day,
Waleed Akef
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
the Arch is a advantageous era in Archtecture .before The Arch large beams were placed on entrances ETC.,...
With the advent of The Arch , important buildings within cities had increased .
An arch is economical than a beam too.
Interlockment is one Principle of The Arch ,even if it is made of clay filled mud bricks ,or cement filled baked bricks ..
The Interlocked carved stones we see in the Seljuk Arch [I hope im right that two kinds of stones are cut and interlocked to make the arch in the illustration above] was placed on a temporary curved wall that was removed after the actual wall was raised that stands over The Arch ,and the roof was confidently placed over it .
Its like going to a liberary and vertically placing ten twenty books together then holding the books from both sides with flat palms and lifting them up to notice the books in the middle are held in the long bridge by themselves......Thats a Principle!
Sher Saddozai
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Dear Sirs,

i would like to correct the spelling mistake first.it's Seljuk or as Turkish spelling Selcuk.You have to mail other examples as well then we can compare and contrast.
Aylin Akbas
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
C W ....Interlockment with Positive ends is pronunciated'Seluk' in Multani a spiritual Capital of The Sultanate . I however have no idea about Sejuk,Seljuk,Selcuk being dynasty of rulers etc or era apart from the 'mechanic of this particular construct' and your question.

As far as reference history is concerned most of it is marginalised by Aligarh 1858/9 and archived only by those in concern and connections of Sultanate/Kullifath /Imams
-- Sher Saddozai, August 16, 2007
Sher Saddozai
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
I am very sorry about my spelling mistake in the headline. "Seljuk" is the correct spelling. The Seljuks have been the dynasty with one of its capitals in Konya (Turkey). Also named as the "Seljuks of Rum", 11th to 13th century. Similar architectural arches you will find in Cairo built by the Mamluks between 13th and 16th century. As far as I know Sinan was the last architect how has used this interlocked method.
My main concern is the question of the errection of such arches. I have no doubts about their advantages of stability and aesthetics. The errection must be artistic, specialy if the stones are shaped or profiled in two directions, radial and horizontal.
Christoph Weber
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Dear Christoph,

I have seen a good many of Sinan's & other Seljuk examples in Turkiye, including several caravansaray from the same era. I think that Akasary or izhirikarahan (probably mispelled) somewhere along the road parallel Mt. Hasan (or Hassan) have similar arches. My interest is generally from an ornamental & artistic design perspective.

But thinking about your desire to understand the construction process itself, obviously lost to time......

It might have been made flat on the ground, keystone first with the surrounding stones radiating out, akin to a 3 d puzzle part. The whole thing lifted and set into place. Then it is finished into place with its simpler faced stones & masonry. Subsequently, the ability to carry upper level loads in the arch would be secured.

It is the simplest possible way. If one steps back from the end effect which is elegant & durable, and thinks like the military engineer that Sinan was for many years prior to evolving into an architect mid career..... he was obviously a thoughtful planner and enjoyed every aspect of design & build.

It reminds me of haft rang brick (split) brick decorative work in central asia from earlier centuries found in facades & minarets. Some of it was made face down, grouped together and then placed into a facade.

The goal in design & build across cultures has been to create memorable buildings, and functional ones within some sort of budget. It is probably the only way to get that arch up, because the parts can't/won't/don't ''slide'' into place.
Eileen Webb
Construction of Sejuk Arches and Portals
Dear Eileen,
making the montage of the puzzle stones in the horizontal postion first and than doing the vertcal errection on the pillars is only possible for smaller arches or portals. The 8 big arches which are carrying the cupola of Selemiye in Edirne must be done a different way. Moving so many tons that may be impossible like you sugest. Thank you for your ideas. I like your work with the islamic patterns.
Christoph Weber
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