Women patrons in medieval Anatolia and a discussion of Ma¯hbari¯ Kha¯tu¯n's mosque complex in Kayseri

Patricia Blessing

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3 Scopus citations


This article traces the role of female patrons of architecture in thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century Anatolia. At the center stands Ma¯hbari¯ Kha¯tu¯n, the mother of the Seljuk Sultan Ghiya¯th al-Di¯n Kaykhusraw II (R 1237-46). During the rule of her son, Ma¯hbari¯ Kha¯tu¯n was active as a patron of architecture, building most notably the Huand Hatun complex in Kayseri in 1238, and several caravanserais. The foundation inscriptions of these monuments, and the funerary inscription on Ma¯hbari¯ Kha¯tu¯n's cenotaph in the Huand Hatun mausoleum present the founder both as the mother of the sultan, and as a pious Muslim woman. The insistence on Ma¯hbari¯ Kha¯tu¯n's position as the sultan's mother points to her activity in a later stage of life, after the dead of her husband, 'Ala¯' al-Di¯n Kayquba¯d (R 1220-37), when her status was akin to that of the valide sultan in later Ottoman practice. This article compares Ma¯hbari¯ Kha¯tu¯n to other known female patrons, active in Anatolia during Seljuk and Ilkhanid rule, who are mostly recorded in their foundation inscriptions. Thus, the importance of these inscriptions as sources to trace patrons who are marginal in the chronicles and hagiographies of the time, as is the case for female members of the Seljuk court, clearly emerges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-520
Number of pages46
Issue number282
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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