- Emin Minaret
The Emin Minaret (or Su Gong Ta) stands by the Uyghur
Mosquelocated in Turfan, Xinjiang, China. At 44 meters (144 ft) it is the tallest minaretin China.cite web
accessdate=2007-10-02 ] The
Qing Dynastyconquered this largely Muslim region in the 1750s by defeating the Mongolsand the Uyghurswith their superior weaponry in a series of battles. As conquerors, they ruled the local population with a light hand and were tolerant of the Muslim religion.cite book
title=The Cambridge Illustrated History of China
publisher=Cambridge University Press
pages= pp 227–228
id= ISBN 0-521-43519-X ]
The minaret was started in 1777 during the reign of the Qing Emperor Qianlong (1735–1796) and was completed only one year later.cite web
title=Emin Minaret (1777-1778)
accessdate=2007-10-01 ] It was financed by local leaders and built to honor the exploits of a local Turfan general, Emin Khoja, hence the name "Emin". [cite web
title=Emin Minaret (Su Gong Ta)
accessdate=2007-10-02 ] The Emin Minaret is located along the ancient Silk Route (near the ancient Uyghur capital of
Gaochang). Nearby is the site of the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.
aridlandscape of southern Xinjiang has long been connected to both East Asiaand West Asiaby historical trade routes such as the Silk Route and the land around these crossroads became the location for most of the Uyghur Islamic structures in Xinjiang. The area has long served as a conduit for cultural exchange between different ethnic and religious groups. The Emin Minaret, like other Uyghur mosques and minarets, reflects this in its combination of traditional Islamic features and local Uyghur building traditions.
The Emin Minaret was constructed by local craftsmen using local materials. The structure itself is made of
woodand brick. It is an elegant, circular, tapered Islamic dome, with a diameter over 40 meters (144 feet) at its base and tapering to 2.8 meters at the top. The exterior is of sun-dried yellow bricks that narrow in shape as the tower rises. The richly textured bricks are carved into intricate, repetitive, geometricand floral mosaicpatterns, such as stylized flowers and rhombuses. This mixture of Chinese and Islamic features is seen only in minarets in China. The unique geometric patterns are characteristic of Islamic architecture and have no counterparts in the architecture of China other than in Muslim structures. Positioned in the tower are several long, narrow windows at different heights and facing different directions that provide light and ventilation.cite book
title=Chinese Architecture -- The Qing Dynasty
edition= English Ed.
publisher=Yale University Press
pages= pp 335–338
id= ISBN 0-300-09559-7 ] The minaret has no stories. Inside, the spiraling internal support serves as a winding 72-step staircase to the top.
The Emin Minaret is on the northeast corner of the Uyghur Mosque, a rectangular structure with an
iwanor mihrab, a pointed-arch niche enclosed on three sides but open to a large covered courtyard on the fourth. The mosque is divided into an inner hall for use in colder months and larger outer halls for warmer months. The outer halls are built with elegant, tall, thin, wooden pillars and beams supporting its exposed timber frame, and are open and spacious, while the inner hall is small and enclosed. Unlike Chinese structures, there are no images.
The towering architectural shape of a minaret, always taller than it is wide, is a clear sign of the presence of Islam as are the abstract, geometric decorative elements. Although the minaret has served many functions over time, in Islam its primary function has always been as the main lookout around which to draw members of the community. [cite web
title=The Minaret, Symbol of a Civilization
accessdate=2007-10-01 ] The ground floor of a minaret is always square while the higher parts may be of varying shapes, including round, square, or octagonal. [cite web
title=Minaret - Encyclopedia of the Orient
accessdate=2007-10-01 ] The minaret is the most distinctive feature of any mosque and this is no different in the case of the Emin Minaret. [cite web
title=Minaret Types / The Mosque (Masjid) / History of the Mosque / Islamic Architecture /
* [http://www.china.org.cn/english/en-xjjz/index_1.htm Islamic Architecture in Xinjiang]
* [http://archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.jsp?site_id=5033 Amin Mosque - Emin Minaret]
* [http://english.ccnt.com.cn/?catog=architecture&file=080300&page=3&ads=service_001 The Turban Emin Minaret]
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