astern Turkey beckons once again and we land in Trabzon ready to start our trek south following the borders. Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria all share Turkey’s eastern border and stretch out before us for the next fourteen days. The Black Sea laps at the city’s shore along the ribbon of new highway spanning the north coast of Turkey. Although Trabzon is familiar to me from previous visits sadly on this visit there is one site that we will not be visiting. The church of Aya Sophia of Trabzon has been recently converted from a museum to a mosque. This 13th c structure is a wonderful
Catherine Mortensen Custom Shopper & Tour Operator.
Archive for the ‘Musems’ Category:
fter some time spent in Istanbul and Western Turkey this spring I have plans to revisit the David Collection in Copenhagen, Denmark. I want another opportunity to study this extraordinary collection of Islamic Art. Housed in a recently renovated space in central Copenhagen the museum is located in two early 19th c buildings thoughtfully conceived with series of intimate spaces to showcase an extensive collection and variety of art of the Islamic world.
y sister came for her first visit to Turkey this spring. An early morning ferry ride across the Bosphorus, a tram ride up the hill to Sultanahmet and we were near the front of the line for tickets to the Topkapi Palace. To view the Harem of the palace it requires purchasing a separate ticket within the Palace grounds. At the main ticket office it indicated that the Palace opened at 9 a.m. and the Harem opened at 9:30 a.m. On passing into the inner courtyard we went directly to purchase our tickets for the Harem and to our surprise they waved us through into the Harem. What a unique experience! I had never been in those rooms without swarms of others and we had the place to ourselves with perhaps half a dozen others who were lucky enough to stumble upon an early entrance. The Topkapi Palace hosts collections that are vast and diverse – textiles, weapons, the treasury, and religious artifacts plus the kitchen complex with an extensive collection of porcelain, but for
ooking ahead to the fall of next year we have travel planned for Eastern Turkey October 4th -18th, 2013. We will start and end our trip in Istanbul with an internal flight to the city of Trabzon on the Black Sea in the northeast of Turkey close to the Georgian border. Then we will return to Istanbul from Gaziantep in the southeast corner of Turkey. Travel in eastern Turkey provides glimpses of landscape, culture and traditions that appear to have remained unchanged for centuries. The same travel includes insight into the monumental changes that are impacting the region. Highways, massive dams and sophisticated agricultural undertakings exist side by side with the very old. I personally love to tour the ancient sites of Eastern Turkey. I love the experience of not being with masses of people as we wander through monasteries, palaces, abandoned ruins of bygone cities or hike in the Taurus Mountains above a lakeside village. My imagination is lured back in time when on the Mesopotamian plain, when in Sanliurfa (birthplace of Abraham)
hopping for clients in Istanbul for carpets or textiles has meant that over the years many wonderful pieces from Central Asia have passed through my hands. I have a personal attraction to this art. The colours, designs and magnificent workmanship enthrall me and the more I see of this group of carpets and textiles the deeper my appreciation becomes. In our home some of my favorite rugs and textiles trace their roots back to Central Asia. This month I saw a documentary that furthered my understanding of Central Asia. The Desert of Forbidden Art by Tchavdar Georgiev and Amanda Pope is the story of Igor Savitsky, a man of passion and focus who during and after the Russian Revolution amassed a clandestine collection of over 40,000 pieces of avant garde Russian art. These works represent a group of Russian artists working in a style that was a fusion of European modernism overlaid with the influence of images of Central Asia. Some art historians have compared this fusion to the art of
arpets, textiles, embroideries; all things tactile be they Turkish or Central Asian, from this or that corner of the globe, all have held a level of fascination for me. In my previous post I wrote about the challenge of speaking in public. Dare I call it a phobia but whatever was at work in my psyche as an adult I have avoided situations where I have had to address an audience larger than a handfull of people. I have had encouragement from many people in my life to break beyond this self imposed limitation. One quote that remains in my mind was from my daughter Leah, my business partner, who said, “Mom, you are passionate and knowledgable about this area just let your passion show.” There was a definite ring of truth to her encouragement. So standing on the foundation of so many words of support, I broke through the barrier that has muzzled me publicly for years. My thanks to each of you who spoke words of encouragement to me and helped me to open my mouth
he New Calgary Rug and Textile Club hosted Stefano Ionescu for a lecture in the new Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary in the recently opened Taylor Family Digital Library Building. Ionescu is a resident of Rome, Italy and an independent scholar in the field of Anatolian carpets in Transylvanian churches. He presented an informative perspective on how these collections of Ottoman (Turkish) carpets dating from the 16th c onwards came to be a part of the Protestant churches décor in Romania. During the Reformation in the 16th c the churches had their traditional art removed. Frescoes, icons and other religious art was either plastered over or in the case of icons removed from the church sanctuaries. This resulted in places of worship with
KASHMIRI SHAWLS – A TEXTILE OF MAGNIFICENCE ow strong must one be to lift a carpet? How much strength to move a kilim? A hand loomed saddle cover? Or perhaps to hold the whisper light heft of a kashmiri shawl? Last week I had wonderful days in Los Angeles and San Francisco visiting with collectors, viewing museum collections, attending a dealers fair and hearing lectures on various related topics. The morning after my arrival in LA I attended a lecture delivered to the Textile Museum of America’s Southern California Associates by Dr David Reisbord on the subject of Kashmiri shawls. It was a time to learn and to be amazed by the technical complexities of this weaving tradition. Both men and women have worn these diaphanous and colorful shawls through the centuries with the oldest known pieces dating to the mid 17th c. A Tibetan ibex was the source for the incredibly fine wool used to weave these textiles. The ‘shatoush’ or the fleece from the underbelly of the animal was so fine