Sister Monuments : Hagia Sophia and Washington Monument
Hagia Sophia and Washington Monument are sister monuments due to the fact that they have both got the art work of the same artist: The huge roundels with works of calligraphy and the Ottoman plaque of Sultan Abdulmecid laid in Washington Monument are works of the same master , Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi.(*1)
in by 2ft 2in] with the
the imperial cipher – the tugra, and a chronogram
verse ( a Chronogram
verse is a verse in which the the numerical
values of all the letters equal the
date of the commemorated event).
A poem by poet Ziver Pasa containing a chronogram was written by the order of the Sultan :
“In support of eternal friendship,
Abdülmecid Han allowed his honorable
name to be written in the tall stone ( monument) in Washington. ”
The text In Ottoman Turkish :
Devam-ı hulleti te’yid içün Abdülmecid
Han’ın yazıldi nam-ı paki seng-i balaya
The artist, calligrapher Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi :
Güzel yazılmış bir hattı okumak lalenin kokusunu almaya benzer.
Reading a well written calligraphy is like smelling a tulip
Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi
( Kazasker may translate is minister of Justice literally kadı – asker , judge soldier )
He was a great Caligrapher, a graduate of Galatasaray Imperial School ( still existing, today as a high school, as the famous historical Galatasaray High School on Istiklal Street of the new town ) .
His incredible voice collected the attention of the previous Sultan and he was initially educated in the impreial palace as a ney ( ottoman reed flute ) performer – floutist . He was also the master teaching Ottoman princes the caligraphy art.
The roundels at Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) read the names of Allah, Muhammed and the first 4 caliphs (Ebubekir, Ömer, Osman, Ali) , each with a 7.6 meter diameter.
(*2) by M. Ugur Derman
“From some traces of gold leaf still remaining
in the upper right and left cornices, we can
see that before the plaque was sent to America,
the calligraphy and decoration cut in bas relief
were gilded with gold leaf. In spite of the broken
letter elif in the lam-elif of bala (high, lofty)
and the fact that the dot over the letter nun (n)
of Vas¸inkton has fallen off, and that some of the
finials are later restorations, the plaque has
fared quite well over its 147-year existence.”
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