Mihrab and Its Significance during the Ottoman Period (1396-1700)
This study investigates the Ottomans mihrab and the decorative elements used on it, and why. The mihrab is an important structure of mosque components. The mihrab in the mosque represented in the niche that mediated the Qibla wall; the wall that facing geographically the Holy Mosque the Ka ba or al-Haram al-Sharif in Mecca.
The Ottomans influenced by different dynasties, like Byzantine, Umayyad, Abbasid and Seljuk. Other influences came mostly from the translations to the Greek, Old Indian and Persian philosophies that interacted the Islamic thinking during the Umayyad and Abbasid period and which had the great effect on the Ottoman belief and art. These influences gave the mihrab its distinctive architectural characteristic that can be seen in the decorations like arabesque, calligraphy, muqarnass and Qur anic texts which may reflect current theological and political trends.
The Ottoman mihrab and especially those designed by Mimar Sinan or the architect Sinan show these influences elegantly and stylishly. In other word, they show Sinan s innovative ability in introducing these artistic expressions.
My study is also an attempt to discover if such influences convey a meaning or are merely a decoration. It investigates if they are means of political propaganda for a specific theology or creed, or are merely decorative tools employed to establish the Ottomans art and the Ottomans identity.