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Aysin Yoltar YILDIRIM

Julius Harry Löytved-Hardegg: A German consul in Konya in the early 20th century

Paper presented at the International Conference on Turkish Art, Budapest, September 7, 2007


            In the early 20th century strong interest in the archaeology and art of the Near East resulted in the collecting of artifacts and the establishment of relevant departments in European and American museums. The establishment of the Ottoman Imperial Museum could be understood as a response to these developments since one of its main functions was as a repository to protect objects under the threat of foreign collecting. The story of a German consul in Konya allows us to have a glimpse of that era of collecting and the Ottoman response.

            Many accounts of the discovery of Seljuk carpets in Konya in the early 20th century mention the German consul Löytved as the discoverer[1] of these carpets. Beyond this reference Löytved’s identity remained virtually unknown. Yet Löytved appears to have been an important figure in the history of Konya and Islamic art. Records gathered from museums, consular and archival records, and recent fruitful correspondence with his grandson[2] reveal the details of Löytved’s life, interests, publications, time in Konya, and relationship with the removal of artifacts from Konya.

            At the end of the 19th century the population of Konya was about 50,000.[3] However it had become an important political center due to the building of a railroad to Konya. The first railroad from Ankara to Konya was built in 1896. Two years later a new decision was made to connect this line to the Persian Gulf line. The new line which came to be called the Baghdad Railway Enterprise started from Konya in 1903 and continued to Karaman. Due to these new political and economical developments several foreigners of different nationalities were living in Konya at the time. There were Russian, British, French, and German consulates, each consisting of a consular officer and a translator.[4]

            Löytved (Julius Harry Löytved-Hardegg) arrived to Konya in June of 1904 as an observer of German consular interests. He was born as a Dane in 1874 in Beirut, and received his first education in the German elementary school there. At age 12 he became Prussian and went to Germany where he completed his studies at the gymnasium in Gütersloh. He then studied theology and law (abitur) in Tübingen and Berlin, and continued to study Oriental languages in the Seminary for Oriental Languages in Berlin where he received his doctorate diploma with a specialization in the Turkish language in 1898. A year later he was appointed as a dragoman at the German Embassy in Istanbul. After four years at the German Embassy in Istanbul he was appointed to Konya as an observer of consular interests. From December of 1904 onwards he also observed the interests of Austria-Hungary, and from July 1905 onwards of Italy. In 1907 he became the vice consul in Konya.[5] Löytved was accompanied by his wife Grace during his tenure in Konya where their son Rudolf was born in 1905.[6]

            Gertrude Bell, who is a famous figure in the history of the Near East, passed through Konya in May of 1905 and 1907. Her diaries, letters, and photographs provide much information about Löytved and Konya.[7] From Bell we learn that she had a close relationship with Löytved and his wife. Bell daily lunched or dined with the Löytveds who had a house in the vicinity of the Seljuk kiosk. The house had a balcony which overlooked the ruined citadel and two mountain peaks.

            While in Konya, Bell had an interest in touring the city and photographing its monuments. She also spent time visiting the surroundings of Konya. During her short excursions Löytved occasionally joined her. Apparently Löytved had a good eye since he found unnoticed inscriptions.[8] Bell also mentions in one instance that she and Löytved went to the site of the great church of St. George which was an immense cruciform. Its stones had been taken away and only two bits of fine classical mouldings were left. Löytved had come there during these diggings and found Hellenistic potsherds, glass fragments and Islamic period ceramics. Bell mentions that Löytved also got two sculpture heads from this site.[9]

            According to Gertrude Bell Löytved was in Konya at the wish of the German Emperor and had nothing to do. He was thus spending time studying the Konya province.[10] Löytved was apparently working on a book on the history of the Seljuks but never published it.[11] His conversation with Bell in 1907 suggests that he was writing the history of Karaman from 1222.[12]

            Sometimes Löytved, Bell and the British consul all had dinner at the Swiss lady Fräulein Gerber’s hotel. Bell details her conversations with Löytved in great depth. One evening in 1905 after dinner, Löytved briefs Bell about German railroad construction in the Ottoman realm. Bell notes during this conversation that Löytved feels that the real Germans are not much involved. He complains that the line is not even German in name. He says French is spoken on it, the officials consist of a few Germans and the present director is a French Swiss. Löytved complains that the Germans dare not risk anything and the leading German firms hesitate to sell machinery there whereas the British are eager in this respect and have already sent their agents. Although Löytved does not like Abdülhamid II in general, he admires him for his reforms and praises his skill in building the railroads without creating a debt for the country. Löytved also says that German religious colonialists would not become successful in Konya since they would be attacked by the locals. He notes that this was only possible in Syria fifty years ago when things were different. Löytved must know of this quite well since his maternal grandfather, Georg David Hardegg, was one of the founders of the German Templar colony established in Haifa in 1868.[13]

            Löytved’s father, Peter Julius Löytved, was born in 1836 in Denmark, met Georg David Hardegg of the Templars in Beirut in 1868, and married his daughter Sophie Hardegg a year later. Although he began his career in Beirut as a building contractor, he became a surveyor of the British Syrian Mission in 1871 and later became the Danish vice-consul in Beirut in 1875.[14] He had the civil engineer A. Stuckly draw a map of Beirut in 1876 and dedicated it to the Ottoman sultan Abdülhamid II. He was an avid collector of artifacts of Near Eastern, Classical and Islamic origin.[15] The Danish National Museum acquired important collections from him.[16] Peter Löytved continued his diplomatic career in Beirut as the Danish consul until 1898. In many respects Julius Harry Löytved-Hardegg followed closely his father’s path. He chose a diplomatic career as a consul and showed a keen interest in collecting antiquities. His time in Konya (and later in Haifa, and Damascus) must have allowed him easy access to acquire them.

            In 1905 the Swedish prince William visited Konya. The famous scholar and dealer of Islamic art, Friedrich R. Martin,[17] who was at the time working also as a dragoman at the Swedish embassy in Istanbul, accompanied the prince to Konya. Löytved showed them around in Konya and when they went to the Alaeddin mosque, Martin noticed the old Seljuk carpets for the first time there and pointed them out to Löytved.[18] In several publications Löytved is mistakenly written as if he was the one who pointed them out to Martin.[19] In fact Martin was the one to notice the carpets and asked for permission to reproduce them in watercolor in the first place. Martin was granted permission from the governor of Konya, Mehmet Cevat Bey, and the grand vizier Ferid Pasha for the photographs and watercolors of the carpets to be made. Löytved was charged by the prince with the supervision of this project. Interestingly, the photographs first appeared in 1907 in an article[20] not by Martin, but by the German scholar F. Sarre. Sarre was in charge of the Islamic department of the Berlin Museum, which had recently opened in 1904. This was annoying for Martin since he had the right of publication as the discoverer. At the same time it was also embarrassing for Sarre as he was suspected of having illicitly acquired someone else’s material. The truth was that while Löytved sent a set of watercolors and photos to Martin, he had secretly made copies and sent them to Sarre. A year later in 1908 Martin published his important book on carpets and included the photographs of the Konya carpets he had first discovered. In his book he complained about Löytved’s improper act. Also referring to Sarre’s inclusion of his discovery in an article earlier than his, Martin noted that Sarre had not noticed these carpets before he had even though Sarre had been to the Alaeddin mosque several times.[21] In 1911 the Seljuk carpets of Konya were transferred to Istanbul to the new Museum of Islamic Art (Evkaf-ı Islamiye) and today they make up an important collection of the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul (TIEM).

            In the meantime, one carpet from Konya was given by Löytved to the Berlin Museum’s Islamic department during Sarre’s curatorship (1905-1931).[22] Correspondence regarding the purchase of (a) Seljuk carpet(s) can be found in the letters sent by Bode, the director of the Berlin Museum, to Löytved: On 18 September 1905 Bode thanks Löytved for sending the images of the wooden doors, which he would be happy to purchase, and also expresses his interest for a remarkable carpet with a large inscribed border that Martin also talked about.[23] On 21 September 1905 Bode writes about a specific carpet that he prefers to wait for, but shows interest in similar early carpets, even in fragments. In the note to the letter, Bode writes that he sends 150 liras for Löytved’s use in Konya and promises more for the ‘N-carpet’. On 29 November 1905 Bode writes that he is interested in acquiring the old carpet with a large inscription which Martin also thinks promising.[24] However, by 11 July 1907 we understand that Löytved was still trying to buy the carpet with an inscribed border.[25] It is highly likely that the carpet which Löytved could not purchase by that date (and later) is the famous carpet from the Konya Alaeddin mosque now in TIEM (Inv. No 681).[26] Löytved must have bought another carpet that he gave to the Berlin Museum.[27]

            While in Konya Löytved wrote a book on the inscriptions of the Seljuk buildings.[28] Löytved apparently wrote the book with the help of Hamdi bey,[29] most likely the translator Ahmed Hamdi at the German consulate in Konya.[30] The book is illustrated with several photographs and drawings of Seljuk monuments including those of the Seljuk kiosk.

            Löytved was living in the vicinity of the kiosk and was aware of its dilapidated state especially in the last years. When Mehmed Cevat bey became a mayor of Konya in 1905, several people warned that the kiosk needed care and repairs. The mayor dismissed such warnings saying that he could build an entirely new one for just 200 gold liras.[31] J. Strzygowski, who also wrote on the Seljuk kiosk, thanks Löytved for intervening and getting the attention of the German embassy in Istanbul and the Imperial Museum on the fragile kiosk. He thinks that if it was not for Löytved the kiosk would have collapsed in 1905.[32] Unfortunately in 1907 the kiosk did collapse.[33]İ. H. Konyalı mentions that a Greek engineer named Rizo dug the lower section of the kiosk as if to conduct some repairs.[34] Consequently the iwan and the walls collapsed on the early morning of April 5, 1907[35] with a tremendous noise. İ. H. Konyalı adds that Löytved took its tiled inscription to Germany.

            The Berlin Museum acquired approximately 29 tile and mosaic tile pieces, and 19 stucco fragments from Löytved.[36] It appears that some of the tiles and the stucco pieces were from the Seljuk Kiosk in Konya. In 1936 Sarre, the former director of the Islamic Department of the Berlin Museum, published some of them in his book on the Seljuk kiosk in Konya.[37]

            Beyond the above-mentioned tile and stucco pieces, Löytved also sent a ceramic vase.[38] However the most intriguing piece Löytved is associated with is the mihrab from the Beyhekim mosque in Konya. Between 1900 and 1906 the tiled mihrab of the Beyhekim mosque was deliberately broken. Some pieces appeared in the art market in Europe and were purchased by museums in Paris and London. A large piece was bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1906, and between 1908 and 1909 the Berlin Museum purchased the main part of the mihrab through an art dealer in Istanbul. More pieces from Paris were purchased in 1909 by the Berlin Museum and in the end in 1928 141 pieces were brought together in Berlin.[39] Today, after a thorough reconstruction and restoration, the mihrab looks quite intact. According to the records of the Berlin Museum Löytved does not appear to be the donor of the pieces of the Beyhekim mihrab pieces but instead of one of its wooden doors (I. 661).[40] According to the records the door was given as a gift by Löytved in 1906. It is most likely that what Bode was writing about on 18 September 1905 to Löytved was concerning this wooden door: Bode thanks Löytved for sending the impressions of the wooden door panels which he would be happy to purchase.[41] Another letter from Bode dated 29 November 1905 talks most likely about the same door panels that Bode wishes to receive as a gift.[42] Interestingly we understand that the door panels were at that time decorating the Museum in K. (Konya ?). How could it have been possible for Löytved then to acquire these pieces from the museum in K.? Would they have been then purchased illegally (or stolen) from the museum in K.? Bode’s letter suggests that the wooden door panels of the Beyhekim mosque now in the Berlin Museum were acquired by Löytved (from the museum?) in Konya and given as a gift to the Berlin museum in 1906, as Bode wished.

            In the festschrift of Halil Edhem, Abdülkadir Erdoğan, who was the director of the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul and himself a scholar from Konya, claims that an underground theft organization was established in Konya under the control of a German consul.[43] Erdoğan does not give the name of the consul but adds that this group stole and sent to Germany the tiled mihrab from the Beyhekim mosque and two valuable manuscripts from the İplikçi mosque in Konya. Bode’s letters to Löytved and Löytved’s relationship with Sarre and the Berlin Museum indicate that Löytved was the German consul Erdoğan accused.

            A similar accusation comes from Halil Edhem who was the vice director of the Ottoman Imperial Museum from 1892 to 1910 and its director from 1910 to 1930. A copy of Löytved’s book on Seljuk inscriptions is presently in the library of the Turkish Historical Society in Ankara. According to its seal it once belonged to Halil Edhem. Halil Edhem penciled some notes about Löytved directly on the book: “Most of these inscriptions were read by Hamdi (?) zade Abdülkadir Efendi of Konya. There are some mistakes too. The author was the German consul there. He smuggled a quantity of things. He died while he was a consul in Damascus.” [44]

            There is a similar penciled note about Löytved in another book also owned by Halil Edhem. In this book by Strzygowski, Halil Edhem calls Löytved a big thief in German “großer Dieb”.

            It is interesting that on 22 May of 1907 (9 Mayıs 1323)[45] Löytved donated a tile piece to the Konya branch of the Ottoman Imperial Museum as well (Fig. 4). Another letter from the Imperial Museum mentions the receipt of this piece by its Konya branch. It is unfortunately not known today which of the tile pieces in the Konya Museum was given by Löytved.

            According to Abdülkadir Erdoğan when Halil Edhem heard of the smugglings from the Beyhekim mosque he immediately went to Konya and brought other objects that would be a target for the smugglers. This is how several pieces from Konya were brought to the Imperial Museum in Istanbul. Today most of these are housed in TIEM.

            After Konya, Löytved became a consul in Jerusalem and later had diplomatic positions in Jaffa and Haifa. Finally in 1915 he became the provisional director of the consulate in Damascus. In Damascus all the art dealers knew him well. Rare artworks were first offered to him for sale. His office was like a small museum of faience, porcelain, bronze, carpets and iridescent glass from old Syrian burials.[46] Löytved died of typhus[47] in Damascus on 7 May 1917 at the young age of 42. It seems that throughout his life he was always closely linked to artifacts, as his father was. In one view he was a respected collector of antiquities (some of which he gave or sold to the Berlin Museum) and the author of a scholarly book, or according to another view, he was a smuggler and head of a theft organization that illegally took numerous objects from Konya. However most importantly, as a response to the antiquity trade in Konya around 1905-1907, the Imperial Museum during the tenure of Halil Edhem removed many Islamic objects from Konya, and these make up of the earliest collection of Islamic objects of the Ottoman Imperial Museum.



[1] O. Aslanapa, Turkish Arts: Seljuk and Ottoman Carpets, Tiles and Miniatures, Istanbul 1961, p.15; G. Öney, Anadolu Selçuklu Mimari Süslemesi ve El Sanatları, Ankara 1988, p. 127. Aslanapa corrected Löytved’s role as the ‘discoverer’ in “Türk Sanatı Araştırmalarının Gelişmesi”, Uluslararası Sanat Tarihi Sempozyumu Prof. Gönül Öney’e Armağan 10-13 Ekim 2001, Bildiriler, İzmir 2002, pp. 49-50.

[2] I am thankful to Hans-Ulrich Harry Berger, a grandson of Löytved for contacting me about his grandfather (after the ICTA conference in Budapest) and providing me with invaluable information and photographs with an open mind and heart.

[3] G. Goodwin, “Konya”,  Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. V, Leiden 1986, p. 254.

[4] Konya Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1317, p. 48; Konya Vilayeti. Salnamesi, 1322, p. 62-63.

[5] Kindly provided by Herrn Sheidemann of Deutsches Auswärtigen Amt, Berlin. I am thankful to Prof. Dr. Adolf Hoffmann of the DAI in Istanbul for this contact.

[6] 17 July 1905, Familienarchiv von Familie Löytved-Hardegg, Bundesarchiv, Koblenz (hereafter FK).

[7] These are available online through the G. Bell project in University of Newcastle: www.gerty.ncl.ac.uk/ from where the following information and references from Bell are taken.

[8] Bell Letters 21 June 1907

[9] Bell Diaries 17/07/1907

[10] Bell Diaries 07/05/1905

[11] “Zunächst bleiben Sie hoffentlich noch recht lange in Conia, wo Sie ihre Geschichte der Seldschukenherrschaft noch zum Abschluß bringen müssen.”  Bode letter to Löytved dated 11. VII. 1907. FK. I am thankful to Hans-Ulrich Harry Berger for kindly providing typewritten copies of Bode’s letters.

[12] Bell Diaries 21/07/1907

[13] Bell Diaries 18/05/1905. See more on the colony in M. Yazbak, “Templars as Proto-Zionists? The German colony in late Ottoman Haifa”, Journal of Palestine Studies, 28/4 (1999), pp. 40-54.

[14] Peter Julius Løytved-Biographische Daten. Kindly provided by Hans-Ulrich Harry Berger.

[15] Marie-Louise Buhl, “Some Western-Asiatic Bronze Figurines and a Few Remarks on Julius Løytved as an Antiquarian” Acta Archeaologica, Copenhagen , vol. 48 (1977), pp. 139-218. Buhl confused the son Harry Löytved with his father and mistakenly attributed the Konia book to Peter Julius Löytved, p. 154 footnote 76.

[16] He gave 280 ancient objects, coins, 50 Islamic objects to the National Museum; three cases of stuffed animals to the Zoological Museum in Copenhagen; and busts from Palmyra to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Buhl 1977, p.154.

[17] D. Roxburgh, “Disorderly Contact? F.R. Martin and the Bahram Mirza Album”, Muqarnas, vol. 5 (1998), pp. 37-57.

[18] F.R. Martin, A History of Oriental Carpets Before 1800, Vienna 1908, p. 113, footnote 247.

[19] Also noted by Aslanapa 2002, pp. 49-50.

[20] F. Sarre, “Kunst und Kunsthandwerk”, Austrian Art Review, (0ctober 1907).

[21] K. Erdmann, Oriental Carpets, Los Angeles 1970, pp. 41-42.

[22] “During the twenty-six years (up to 1931) of Sarre's curatorship and following the Von Bode gift, thirteen carpets entered the inventory. Among the four donated carpets was the unique, large pattern 'Holbein’ carpet. One piece was brought back from Konya by Dr. Löytved; another was acquired by way of exchange. The remaining seven acquisitions were not spectacular purchases, nor did they offer any indications of a planned objective.” Part of an essay by Friedrich Spühler, the curator of carpets (1968-1985) at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin: www.ethnographica.com/berlin_oriental_carpets.htm

[23] “Herr Martin, der persönlich gerade auf ein paar Tage hier ist, sandte mir die Abklatsche der Holzthüre für deren Erwerb ich Ihnen sehr dankbar wäre. Ebenso für feine and gut erhalten seldschukische Antiquitäten und die merkwürdigen (?) Teppiche mit großer Inscriftenborte, von denen mir Herr Martin sagte und von denen Sie ja wie er sagte, gelegentlich wohl den einen oder andern bekommen zu können hoffen.” Letter by Bode to Löytved, Charlottenburg, Uhlandstr. 4, 18.IX.1905 (FK).

[24] “Der Teppich aus N. hat ja gar keine Eile. Lassen wir ruhig einige Zeit darüber Gras wachsen! Wenn Sie aber andere frühe Teppiche finden, so bin ich sehr dankbar wenn Sie mich darauf aufmerksam machen wollen. Auch für Fragmente von ganz frühen Teppichen besonders schöner oder interessanter Dessins, ware ich Ihnen dankbar

(P.S.) Sie haben ja wohl noch 150 Lire von mir zur Verfugung in Konia? Ich belasse sie bei Ihnen für gelegentliche Erwerbungen; reift der N-Teppich, so schicke ich neues Geld” Letter from Bode, Königlichen Museen, Berlin 21.9.1905 (FK).

[25] “Neugierig bin ich, ob Ihnen die Erwerbung eines der frühen Inschrifts-Teppiche gelingt.!” Letter from Bode to Löytved, Charlottenburg, den 11.VII. 1907 (FK).

[26] Erdmann 1970, fig. 25.

[27] See footnote 22.

[28] J. H. Löytved, Inschriften der seldschukischen Bauten, Berlin 1907. This large book (42x30cm) was published by Julius Springer Verlag as 150 copies with the support of Deutsche Bank and Diskonto-Gesellschaft.

[29] Der Neue Orient, vol. 1, 1-12 (1917), pp. 345-6.

[30] Konya Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1322, p. 63.

[31] Based on Strzygowski: Ş. Uzluk, Konya Köşkü, Ankara 1989, p. 95, note 6.

[32] J. Strzygowski-Graz, Der Kiosk von Konia, in Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Architectur, I (1907), p. 9.

[33] A photograph taken by Gertrude Bell in July 1907 a couple of months after the partial collapse of the kiosk shows a window arch from the Seljuk palace in the Swiss German lady Gerber’s hotel. It is possible that after the collapse of the kiosk in April of 1907 pieces were taken away one by one. Bell Photos, I_242.

[34] İ. H. Konyalı, Abideleri ve Kitabeleri ile Konya Tarihi, Konya 1964, p. 183.

[35] F. Sarre, Der Kiosk von Konia, Berlin 1936, p. 10.

[36] I am thankful to the former curator of the museum J. Kröger for kindly providing this information to me.

[37] Sarre 1936. The following images from Sarre’s book indicate the objects given by Löytved: Tiles shown on Abb. 15, Taf. 5 below, Taf. 6 upper right, upper left, lower left, Taf. 7 left (some of the present inventory numbers are I. 345-346, 563, 924-926, 929, 931-932, 934-937, 939-941, 943-944, 1367-1371, 1632-1634). Stucco pieces shown on Taf. 9 except for one piece, Taf. 10 middle three pieces, Taf. 11 lower right, Taf. 12, Taf. 15 upper right, Taf. 16 lower right, Taf. 18 all four pieces (some of the inventory numbers are I. 393-410).

[38] F. Sarre, Seldschukische Kleinkunst, Leipzig 1909, Taf. XX, p.45. (I. 927). I am thankful to Marilyn Jenkins-Madina of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for this information.

[39] V. Enderlein, “Der Mihrab der Bey Hekim Moschee in Konya” Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Forschungen und Berichte, 17 (1976), 39-40.

[40] The same records show that two carved panels (I. 662), probably mimbar doors were also given as a gift by Löytved in 1906. Kindly provided by J. Kröger of the Berlin Islamische Museum.

[41] See footnote 23.

[42] “Ob Sie wohl gelegentlich auch seldschukische Dinge auftreiben werden? Es wäre mir das sehr erwünscht, da ich darauf –im Anschluß an……-für unsere Sammlung einen besonderen Wert legen würde! Die schönen Stücke, die großen Tafeln vom Thor von K., die das Museum in K. schmücken sind mir s.Z. von einem Kollegen hier….; ich konnte sie geschenk bekommen!” Letter from Bode to Löytved, Charlottenburg, 29.XI.1905 (FK).

[43] A. Erdoğan, “Halil Edhem Eldem” Halil Edhem Hatıra Kitabı, vol. 2, Ankara 1948, p.34.

[44]Bu kitabelerin çoğunu Konya’da Hamdi (?) zade Abdülkadir Efendi okumuştur. Yanlışları da vardır. Müellif orada Alman konsolosu idi. Hayli şeyler aşırmıştır. Şam’ın konsolosu iken fevt olmuştur.”

[45] Istanbul Archaeological Museum Library Archive, Box 30, Dossier 1322-23, 42/951. I am thankful to the librarian Havva Koç for bringing this letter to my attention.

[46] Der Neue Orient, Vol. 1, 1-12 (1917), p. 345-6.

[47] Deutsche Levante-Zeitung, nr.10 (1917), p. 356.