1336 AD

14th-century Minbar of Seif ed-Dine Taynal Mosque

The history of the construction of the Mimbar

The minbar of the Seif al-Din Taynal Mosque: This minbar was built during the Mamluk era. It is a wooden minbar built by the carpenter Muhammad al-Safadi in 1336 AD. It depends on the decoration and the antiquity of its age from the age of the mosque. It is made of tar and cedar wood.

The importance of restoring the Minbar of Taynal Mosque

The importance of restoring and maintaining the minbar in Taynal Mosque are:

  • To preserve this ancient minbar of the Mamluk style in Islamic art from damage.
  • The minbar is a decorative and archaeological masterpiece, and its restoration is a restoration of heritage.
  • The treatment and restoration of the minbar highlights the professionalism of specialists in returning this minbar to its original condition thanks to modern techniques in the process of restoration and treatment.

Monitoring signs of damage to the Minbar

Through the preliminary examination of the current status of the platform, many manifestations of damage can be monitored, which are the products of multiple damage factors that affected the platform during different periods of time, including the factors of human damage. Here we review the most important manifestations:

  • Adding new paints to the Minbar
  • Fractures, wear and tear in wood
  • Insect infestations
  • Loss of some wooden parts

Adding new paints to the Minbar

First: Interference with previous renovations of the Minbar, represented by the addition of new paints to the wooden structures in the two blades, the door of the Moqaddam and the muqarnas above it, which resulted in the blurring of the features of the layers of the original paint of the Minbar.

Second: Painting the Al-Jawsaq Dome with a layer of the new lacquer (green color) inside and out.

Third: A previous intervention took place with works to complete some of the wooden fillings that make up the formations of the star dishes.

Fractures, wear and tear in wood

There were many manifestations of damage to the various parts of the pulpit, between the deterioration of the old layers of paint, the loss of some fillings and the appearance of separations, including:

It lost some of the wood fillings and corroded other parts.

Monitoring fractures on the internal wooden lists.

The presence of separations in the places of assembly of the wooden lists, as well as between the wooden panels, especially the part behind the imam’s session.

Insect Infestations

Monitor the impact of insect infestations inferred from the tunnels left by insects.

Loss of some wooden parts

Part of the formation of the fillings forming the star dishes was lost in the left feather from the minbar, as it is clear that this part was intentionally removed in order to remove the wires of the acoustic system of the mosque.

Repair and maintenance steps

In view of the multiplicity of interventions that the pulpit was subjected to during the previous renovations and restorations, which resulted in multiple manifestations of damage, as mentioned, the proposed action plan is based on a scientific basis aimed at returning all the technical and functional elements of the pulpit to its historical origins and removing all manifestations of the previous intervention. Repair and maintenance as follows:

Scientific registration work before the start of the restoration

First: The work of scientific registration before starting the restoration, which includes doing the following:

  • Photographic documentation in a scientific way to monitor the condition of the platform before restoration, during the implementation stages of the work plan, and after the completion of the work.
  • Engineering lifting of the pulpit and signing the damages on the engineering drawings to make maps of the various damages.
  • Microscopic examination of the sequence of paint layers and layers of gilding to reveal any remnants of the original color layers, as well as the manifestations of damage that existed on those elements or the wooden stand.

Implementation of detectors to remove layers of paint

Second: Executing the detectors, which includes doing the following:

The step of implementing the detectors depends on using a mixture of organic solvents with different concentrations to remove the layers of paint one by one until the wood is brown.

Through these detectors, the original paint layers can be traced, which is useful in determining the nature of the original paint color of the minbar.

Carrying out the removal of old worn out paints

Third: Implementing the removal of old, worn out paints or those newly added in a distorted way:

Operational steps to remove the new paints and make color reagents:

  • In the first place, it should be noted that the chemical cleaning operations of wooden surfaces mainly aim to remove the manifestations of infringement represented by the newly developed additives and paints, especially the layers of lacquers added at later periods on top of the original paint layers.
  • The removal mechanism depends on breaking the bond between the layers of the new paint and the layers of the original paint, if any, or breaking the bond of the layers of the new paint directly to the surface of the wood without negatively affecting the treated wooden element.
  • Hence, we find that the removal mechanism is based on the use of materials that achieve this goal, or at least it is sufficient to use detergents or solutions that affect the layers of the newly developed paint in a faster way than their effect on the wood material itself, so that the layers of the newly developed paint are removed before the solvent reaches the original color or even wood surface.
  • This method is also useful in making color detectors to verify the presence of the original color or not. The process of removing newer paints that prove to be not of the original or completely dilapidated can also be done using a solution and special paper, followed by the use of scalpels and brushes for mechanical removal, or in other cases, the layers of new paints are removed until reaching the first layer of paint, using solvents. The organic matter is then removed layer by layer and with great care to preserve the original paint layers.

Removing layers of neo-varnish (Flute)

This step aims to remove the layers of the newly developed varnish, whose heavy addition led to blurring the features of the decorative units inlaid with mother of pearl, bone and ivory. The removal process depends on the use of a number of organic solvents, whether in the form of mixtures or individually.
Processing and sterilization stages.

Processing and sterilization stages

Sterilization and biological treatments

Due to the widespread spread of biological infections, especially insect infestations, the treatment process depends on the use of a number of compounds with the ability to eliminate any active infestations. A substance is also used to achieve future protection for the pulpit wood from any future infections resulting from the change in the surrounding weather conditions, especially the high rates relative humidity. Biological treatments are applied by spraying or painting in two stages between the first stage and the next for a period of not less than five days.

Treating insect infestations

Special materials of different concentrations can be used to complete the strengthening process for weak wood parts and residual color layers with the addition of a fungicide and insecticide to the compound to prevent future biological injuries to the reinforced parts. The application is carried out using a brush to ensure that the wood absorbs the reinforcing material.

Wood reinforcement

It became clear through the repeated examination of the wooden parts of the Mihrab, the effect of biological damage processes on the structure of the wood, as the presence of holes and tunnels for insects was monitored, which weakened the strength of the wood, and thus it was necessary to intervene to strengthen those weak parts.

Stages of restoration

Strengthening and wood finishing works

The strengthening stage comes to increase the durability of the wooden structure, especially the parts that have lost, fractures and separations, or those parts that have been incorrectly subjected to previous restoration and renovation.

As it became clear the mishandling of those parts in the previous consolidation operations, which directly affected the external and internal appearance of the formation of the pulpit from the back.

The process of completing and replacing the missing parts was carried out by specialized engineers from the Awqaf Department.

The reinforcement process was based on removing the randomly added parts and replacing them with slats and wooden planks of musky wood.

One of the missing parts was completed on the right side of the upper part of the mihrab.

The dome made of gypsum was also replaced with a wooden dome homogeneous with the shape of the pulpit, and it was installed before the restoration process by specialized engineers from the Endowment Department.

Digging and bridging work

  • Seal the gap in the center of the wood panel with wood glue.
  • Add a layer of putty on the damaged wooden letters to make them smooth.

Repaint and add insulation layers

After examining the results of the detectors’ work, previous studies, and historical comparisons with pulpits of the same era, the nature and components of the original paint are determined, and then the paint is painted with a quality of paint that is exactly the same as the original paint, whether in terms of composition and components or color and surface appearance, then the surface is cleaned and any excesses are removed and finishing is done according to the principles Archaeological and historical principles of restoration and according to the instructions of the consultant of careful restoration works.

It is clear from the comparison with pulpits of the same era that were restored in Cairo that the original paint was represented by the use of camelka with the possibility of using natural dyes to control the degree of color.

The remains of gilding are also preserved if they are proven to be authentic layers of gilding, and the missing ones are completed using gold leaf.

The final form of the Minbar

After completing the restoration and maintenance work of the Taynal Mosque minbar and adding the insulation layers, the minbar is ready for use. This minbar is an ancient piece of art and is an outstanding artistic value in Islamic art in the city of Tripoli.