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Some Observations on the Stucco Decorative Fragments Uncovered in the Alanya-Seljukid Palace Excavations
Z. Kenan BİLİCİ*
There are few stucco samples dating back to the Seljukid era. A majority of such
decorative fragments were discovered in some palaces and kiosks such as Konya,
Kubadabâd, Felekabâd and Delice. On the other hand, it is understood that a significant
part of the religious buildings of the Seljuk era were decorated with rich stucco revetments
designing as a wall-painting and also architectural or structural elements such as the
mihrabs, shelves, cupboards, window frames, lattices and sarcophagus.
During the archaeological excavations at the Citadel of Alanya, a remarkable group of
the stucco decorative fragments belonging to the Seljukid Palace were uncovered in remains
at the south-eastern corner of the Inner Castle. These fragments have some unique
details enlightening us about 13th century practices and production methods.
The most populated group among the findings was the border fragments produced
using molding technique. One can say that, together with the stucco concave molding
fragments found during the excavations, both decorative elements possibly belonged to
adjoined stucco cupboards.
We can assume that a fragment in the second group of examples resembling latticework
was completed to the whole in the form of a cross; it is possible that this example is
one of the grids used in the railings of the belvedere of the Seljukid Palace.
One of the most remarkable findings is the third group examples. All of these are
corner pieces. It can be understood that they were engraved embossed floral motifs and
with the combination of palmette-rumî samples using the leaned surface deep carving
technique and possibly wood-carved female molds during their production.
There are curved surfaces made up to a circle in all of the corner pieces. Obviously,
the middle section of stucco panels was empty when they were made up to the whole.
Considering the vertical cross-sections of all samples, a thin groove is apparent in the
inner walls of concave surfaces. This also explains the use of coloured found together with
stucco fragments during the excavations. We understand that there were coloured found in
the same archaeological area, are 3 mm thick on the sides and cambered in the middle of
the each stucco panel. On the other hand, it is clearly that the mortar remains on the back
surfaces of these panels reveal that they were mounted on the walls. However, one cannot
think that the entire wall surface was decorated using such an application; that they were
found together with tiles during the excavations brings into mind that they were possibly used as a border lined in one row along the upper side of the tile revetments in the form
of star-cross combination.
Most remarkable pieces among the other items found during the excavations, undoubtedly,
is a group of painted stucco fragments seen in very few samples in the Seljukid era.
A geometric layout created using sliced rosette motifs is seen on an example made up
of several broken pieces; with T-shaped geometric divisions, inner parts painted to red,
between the rosettes. One can say that these examples possibly belonged to a wall revetments
formed of several painted stucco panels lined adjoined to one another.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to imagine these stucco fragments found in a very damaged
condition during the excavation together with the original architectural context they
were once inside. Although they were found at rooms XIV and XV during the excavations,
apparently they were not used in same places. Considered together with the other findings,
it is doubtless that the stucco decorative fragments belonged to the belvedere of the
Seljukid Palace. Obviously, the decorative wall revetments created together with tile, glass
and stucco materials have also fell onto the lower floor rooms carrying the kiosk and were
damaged during the demolition. It won’t be hard to imagine that an important part of this
rich material scattered out of the Inner Castle walls and to the near vicinity and diminished
over time.

* Doç. Dr. Kenan Bilici
Ankara Üniversitesi, Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi, Sanat Tarihi Bölümü Sıhhıye - Ankara
E-posta: bilici@humanity.ankara.edu.tr

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