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Cizre (District Municipality, Turkey)

Last modified: 2018-04-18 by ivan sache
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Flag of Cizre - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 30 December 2017

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Presentation of Cizre

The municipality of Cizre (124,804 inhabitants in 2012, 106,31 in the town proper; 46,764 ha) is located on the border with Syria, just to the north-west of the Turkish-Syrian-Iraqi tripoint.
The town has been fiercely disputed since 2015 between the Turkish Army and the Kurdish rebels of the PKK. The town was besieged by the Army from September 2015 to February 2016. Hundreds of PKK fighters and civilians were killed during the curfew.

Ivan Sache, 24 February 2016

Flag of Cizre

The flag of Cizre (photo) is white with the municipality's emblem. "Belediyesi" means "Municipality".

The emblem of the municipality features the Bronze door-knockers of Cizre Great Mosque, studied in detail by Kenan Bilici (Ērān ud Anērān, Webfestschrift Marshak, 2003; text).

The door-knockers remained on the door until December 1969, when it was discovered that one had been stolen. The stolen knocker was discovered in the Copenhagen-David Collection in 1973. Following this discovery, the remaining knocker and lion head were initially taken to Mardin Museum. In 1976 they were then delivered to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts-Istanbul.
The knockers are of dimension 27 x 24 x 3 cm and show a sustaining composition formed by the double dragon figure, placed either side of a lion head. Researchers date their age to either the second half of 12th century when the mosque was built or the 13th century together with the wooden door.

The lion head acts as a hinge and connects the knocker to the door. The two wide open mouthed dragons are connected either side of the lion head and face away from each other. The bodies of the figures, cast in the profile, form a false knot by turning around in the middle and their tails terminate with eagle heads. The eagle heads have wide eyes and sharp ears, and their beaks pointed upward. The dragons have ornamental style rūmis where their heads connect to the rest of the body. The effect of the scaled, snake like body is produced by scraping. The two dragons, each with two legs, are connected to each other with adjacent legs. Each dragon has wings, initiating from the joint of the leg which curl into the open mouth of the dragon. The dragon heads are cast in profile with sharp ears and almond-shaped eyes. The lion head is cast in façade, with a long face, sharp ears, long nose, wide eyes, plump cheeks and a wide-smiling mouth.

A similar knocker is exhibited in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin. Although there were previously three examples of these dragon shaped door-knockers identified in literature, there may have been many more such door-knockers produced. In fact, two more examples are to be found in the Nasser David Khalili Collection. It is clear that these knockers also originated from south-east Anatolia and also were made in the same workshop.

Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 24 February 2016