90. Pilgrim Tokens from Mevlana’s Shrine

Not illustrated
Konya, Turkey, 19th century and earlier
Sizes: from 4 cm to 2 cm
Gold and silver

Like the pilgrims to Compostella, those who went to Jalaluddin Rumi’s tomb in Konya took away a token of their visit. In this case the token was shaped like the turban of Mevlana, rather than the coquille of Saint James. Many of them are engraved with an invocation, and still contain prayers written on scrolls of paper. In 1925 Attaturk prohibited all Mevlevi ceremonies, and closed down their tekkes, as well as those of all the other dervish orders in Turkey. When in 1953 the ‘whirling dervishes’ were once again allowed to perform in public, it was under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, and as Kudsi Erguner notes in Journeys of a Sufi Musician (2006), they were largely promoted as a tourist attraction.