Wöhrlin, Traugott


Unterwegs zur türkischen Mystik in Stein

21.0 x 28.0 cm, 224 p., 107 illustrations b/w, 119 illustrations color, hardback
110,00 €

ISBN: 9783895009815
Table of Contents

Short Description

Since the medieval building complex consisting of the Friday mosque and the psychiatric hospital was declared “World Cultural Heritage Site” in 1986 the small provincial town of Divriği, hidden in the mountains of East Taurus, has become a popular destination for many tourists. While the peculiar architectural art of this historic building is rather considered an incomprehensible curiosity by most visitors it became a personal object of research for the author as he was certain that there had to be an access to this powerful and apparently exotic imagery that was well worth being deciphered in order to gain a new and expanded view of Islamic mysticism.


Evidence of Islamic mysticism, in particular its Persian and Turkish version, is shown in a virtually immeasurable wealth of literary and lyric works. Given this dominance of the word, little attention has yet been paid to the possibility that mystic mental images might also have translated into ornament, e.g. in portal decor. Substantially differing from Islamic Orthodox art the building statuary of the early 13th century Friday Mosque and its affiliated hospital in the East Anatolian town of Divriği has until recently been dismissed as exoticism or “baroque degeneration”. Nevertheless it was precisely those strange prominent structures that helped the historic building gain the prestigious title of “World Cultural Heritage Site” in 1986 even though an iconographic evaluation or interpretation of the peculiar figures was never conducted.Traugott Wöhrlin, a construction expert and design teacher familiar with ornamental symbolism, has never been in doubt that the apparently exalted design language is based upon ideological and most likely religious beliefs. During his numerous encounters with the vast variety of Islamic culture and religion in Oriental countries he also gained insight into the mystic dimensions of Islam which led him to presume that the art of Divriği was related to Sufitum. Encouraged to pursue this path by Annemarie Schimmel, the ‘grande dame’ of German Islamic studies who died in 2003, he created an intensive graphic inventory of many ornamental details while gradually deciphering a mystic imagery. Without violating Islamic aniconism yet not submitting to the dogmatic constraints of Orthodox art this both abstract and precise language presents love as the energy source for all life and thus as the core of the divine.Apart from presenting the results of his studies the author describes the long and partly laborious path towards achieving them, his forays into historic and geographic contexts as well as the necessary analysis of rules and manifestations of Islamic Orthodox art and fundamentals of Islamic mysticism and other religious movements of local importance. Since the book consciously foregoes a strictly scientific format and includes the author’s subjective experiences and perceptions it also becomes interesting and easy to read for amateurs.

Biographical Note

Having completed a carpentry apprenticeship, Traugott Wöhrlin (* 1931) studied architecture and worked in the teaching profession until 1993. Since 1963 he taught design and art history at the Master school for carpenters in Freiburg. Between 1979 and his retirement he was head of Friedrich-Weinbrenner vocational school, a central training institution for all building and woodworking trades as well as design trades such as sculpture, painting, decorating, etc.Apart from numerous publications on specialist topics including art and art history he has been particularly interested in Oriental culture for the last three decades. Inspired by many trips and encounters in various Islamic countries he tries to build a bridge to the understanding of Oriental culture and his own Occidental culture.


13th century, c 1200 to c 1299 (110) || Ahlat || Aleviten || Arabic (104) || Architecture (166) || Architecture: religious buildings (47) || Divriği || Eastern Europe (241) || Fine arts: art forms (180) || Fine arts: treatments & subjects (401) || Gabelblattranke || History of art (240) || Iran (123) || Islam (49) || Islamische Kunst (5) || Islamische Mystik || Lebensbaummotiv || Mir-i-Boteh || Mittelasien (2) || Non-graphic art forms (49) || Orthodoxie || Ostanatolien || Paulikianer || Perser (3) || Persien (3) || Persisch (20) || Pischtak || Raumvorstellungen im Moscheebau || Religion & beliefs (226) || Religious art (25) || Sculpture (35) || Seldschuken (5) || Seldschukenblatt || Sivas || Sufismus (4) || Turkey (227) || Turkish (25) || Türken (5) || c 1000 CE to c 1500 (376)