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What’s so lovely about this door? (Solid brass door for the Artuqid Palace in Diyarbakir) – The Ebook of Information of Ingenious Mechanical Gadgets

What’s so lovely about this door? (Solid brass door for the Artuqid Palace in Diyarbakir) – The Ebook of Information of Ingenious Mechanical Gadgets

2023-06-05 13:47:15


The sixth and remaining class within the e-book comprises 5 dissimilar designs. The primary and most grand of all is the Artuqids Palace door in Diyarbakir, Jap Anatolia. Al-Jazari opens this chapter with some enthusiastic message very uncommon for him:

It is the masterpiece; to view it saddles are strapped on. Really it is the pearl, the orphan, a priceless possession.”

This passionate textual content stunned me as a result of this door, engineering talking, is kind of easy and doesn’t comprise the innovations and surprises included in most of al-Jazari works. The wonder isn’t in engineering, however within the artwork and the craft. Donald Hill, translator, and interpreter of the e-book, Engineer by coronary heart, was primarily within the casting know-how: “Of explicit significance, additionally, is the primary unequivocal description of metallic casting in closed mould-boxes with inexperienced sand, a technique not used within the West till the tip of the fifteenth century.” Casting is a producing course of during which a liquid metallic (al-Jazari used copper, brass, and bronze) is poured right into a mould with the specified form. “Inexperienced” sand is used even as we speak. The title is a bit complicated because the sand isn’t inexperienced shade in any respect. As a substitute, the sand is named “inexperienced” as a result of it’s “moist” sand, which comprises water and natural bonding compounds very similar to we are saying “inexperienced wooden” in carpentry.

I’ve two very totally different questions:

  • Sorry, what’s so lovely about this door? Or no less than why al-Jazari admired his work?
  • How is it potential that navy issues should not a part of the design? What does it say about al-Jazari as an engineer?

Description of the door and its magnificence

It’s a door with two leaves which rise to the peak of about 4 and a half meters (initially 18 spans ( شِبْر) ) and the width of every depart is a meter and a half.

The Palace door, Topkapi Manuscript, 1206

The Palace door, Topkapi Manuscript, 1206

Within the middle of every depart, there’s a complicated geometric sample that features Hexagram (Star of David) and Octagram. It’s fascinating to notice that each these shapes belong to the household of Magic stars. A magic star is a star polygon during which numbers are positioned at every of the n vertices and n intersections, such that the 4 numbers on every line sum to the identical magic fixed: M=4n+2. The options I do know to magic stars are solely from the twentieth century, however the usage of the 2 was quite common within the Muslim world. Is it potential that al-Jazari sensed mathematical magnificence with out understanding the maths?

Since it’s a comparatively sophisticated sample, I coloured the drawing to see Magic Stars:

Islamic artwork makes frequent use of geometric patterns which had been developed over the centuries. There may be  “creative unity” throughout time and place. I deliver three footage of three doorways with totally different geographical, cultural and historic background, each Shi’ite and Sunni Islam

The left door is a Turkish door from the14th-century. The center door is a Grand Palace in Fez in Morocco from the Thirteenth-century. The picket door from Iran on the correct isn’t dated.

The Islamic aesthetic shift towards complicated geometric constructions is attributed to the prohibition within the Qur’an of figurative pictures to keep away from turning into objects of worship. Geometric constructions are summary, emphasised symmetries, and advised infinity and subsequently reminding Muslims the thought of the infinite nature of Allah. This clarification doesn’t fulfill me for the reason that second commandment :

” Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven picture or any likeness of something that’s in heaven above, or that’s within the earth beneath, or that’s within the water underneath the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them”

Didn’t yield an identical custom in Jewish artwork. I don’t see something that might justify the particular enthusiasm from the geometric patterns of al-Jazari. Nevertheless, if any of my readers discover some particular magnificence or a hidden message, please remark as I’d like to be taught.

The sample was bounded by brass plates a which carried Kufic((كوفي ) inscriptions and leaf motif decorations. This reads “the dominion is God’s, the One, the Conqueror”

Kufic is the oldest calligraphic type of the varied Arabic scripts. Kufic developed across the finish of the seventh century in Kufa, Iraq, from which it takes its title, and different facilities. Kufic was prevalent in manuscripts from the seventh to tenth centuries. Within the late twelfth century, when the door was made, it was much less used, and I have no idea if this selection has a particular which means?

The calligraphy is surrounded by  bronze plates which had been embellished with crimson copper leaves:

The method is comparatively complicated; firstly, he casted bronze panels. Utilizing a scalpel, he carved the leaf template and poured melted crimson copper.

Within the drawing, there are not any brass domes, however within the textual content, there’s a detailed clarification and diagram of a dome. I took the freedom so as to add this to the unique drawing by al-Jazari:

I didn’t cowl each element, however I can not ignore the door’s titties from forged brass within the form of two linked serpents, their heads going through one another. Their mouths are open as in the event that they wished to devour the lion between them.   The door didn’t survive (I’m satisfied it was constructed, and never simply designed, due to the richness and the main points within the textual content). It’s fascinating to notice that very comparable Bronze door-knockers from the Great Mosque in Cizre are actually within the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul. To my shock, fairly comparable variations have discovered their technique to Copenhagen and Berlin museums.

We’ll by no means know what prompted al-Jazari to be that proud of this door. Perhaps he loved his geometric patterns and thought notably lovely, Perhaps He loved his success within the complicated casting or his work with varied metals, brass, copper, and silver, perhaps he was completely happy the quantity and richness of the main points and probably it was a mixture of all.

See Also


Navy engineers and engineering historical past

Engineering has existed since historical occasions, the invention of a pulley, the development of the Egyptian pyramids or the copper manufacturing course of are all “Engineering” in line with all trendy definitions however solely within the 14th century was the primary use of the time period engine’er. The origin of the phrase is from Latin phrases “in generare” which means “to create” however regarding the designing or creating engines of struggle just like the catapult or assault towers. For a few years all of the engineers had been navy engineers. Archimedes, a gifted mathematician and scientist had a serious function within the Second Punic Warfare. He improved the facility and accuracy of the Catapult, He designed an enormous claw to destroy Roman ships, and the height of his innovations was burning the Roman fleet utilizing mirrors.  Leonardo da Vinci engineering profession included navy chapters as evident from his letter to Ludovico Sforza, ruler of Milan. He wrote:

“I’ve plans for very gentle, sturdy and simply transportable bridges with which to pursue and, on some events, flee the enemy.. Additionally, if one can not, when besieging a terrain, proceed by bombardment both due to the peak of the glacis or the energy of its scenario and site, I’ve strategies for destroying each fortress.”

The College of engineering on the Technion remains to be known as “civil engineering,” to be separated from navy engineering, though the previous has turn out to be virtually a non-issue within the trendy world of engineering.

It’s considerably shocking that there is no such thing as a navy engineering chapter al-Jazari’s work and even when he builds the door for the Palace, no issues of energy or protection functionality are talked about, not even a single phrase. Two potential explanations:

  1. The principality in Diyarbakir was so peaceable that there was no want for a navy engineer.
  2. The expectations from the Court docket engineer in Diyarbakir had been totally different.


A change in Diyarbakir and al-Jazari as an “engineering magician.”

The dynasty was based by Artuk Bey, a basic underneath the Seljuq emir of Damascus. In 1086 he was appointed the governor of Jerusalem, a shocking twist to a narrative a few Muslim dynasty which dominated in Diyarbakir Anatolia. We have to keep in mind that the Center East map within the eleventh and twelfth centuries may be very totally different from the map we all know as we speak. After Artuk dying in 1091 his sons, Sökmen and Ilghazi had been expelled from Jerusalem by the Fatimid vizier and set themselves up in Diyarbakır and Mardin in Anatolia.

This door was put in on the Artuqid Palace in Diyarbakir the place al-Jazari was the courtroom engineer. The Palace was constructed throughout the partitions of Diyarbakir through the reign of Salih Nasreddin Mahmud (1200-1222) Artuqid king who employed al-Jazari like his father and brother earlier than him. The Palace was excavated within the Sixties, however most of it’s nonetheless buried underneath the mound, and I’ve a fantasy that the location will likely be excavated a second time and we’ll discover a number of the stays of al-Jazari’s work. Within the twelfth century, there have been just a few battles with the Crusaders, with Georgia and clashes of throughout the Muslims. I don’t suppose a peaceable interval is the reason of the absence of the navy side in al-Jazari’s work.

The Artuqids are a Turkmen dynasty which began as a warrior tribe, and its authentic energy was navy. Within the twelfth century, they had been settling within the outdated cities of Amida (the earlier title Diyarbakir ) and Mardin. These are historical cities with city tradition for the reason that Assyrians. The inhabitants is various and consists of veteran Christian and newcomer Turkmen inhabitants in addition to different migrants from Iran and different locations that continued by means of the Thirteenth century. Past the monumental Al- Jazari e-book, there was most likely a workshop for copying and illustrating manuscripts. Rachel Ward recognized two different illuminated manuscripts that had been produced there. There have been new architectural designs, Sharon Talmor as a part of her graduate work on the College of Tel Aviv discovered three which mark a brand new period in Islamic structure. As part of the assimilation of a warrior tribe into the city setting, there was most likely a necessity for a change, and there was a thirst for cultural and creative actions. I’d love to listen to different recommendations too, however this can be a potential clarification for the absence of navy engineering.

So the circle closes. The query of the fantastic thing about the door is linked to the function of al-Jazari. As we step into the e-book, I feel we will likely be extra satisfied of his function as  “a magician of engineering”  the person who harness science and know-how to create and wonder and astonishment.


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