Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, Turkey

The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is just off the Hippodrome, a converted palace that is truly as elegant a museum as ever you might find.  It was a joy to walk through the halls of this beautiful building. The exhibits were laid out historically.  My guide, Mehmet Tetik (\tetik) helped make sense of the migration of the Turkish people, then the  developments once they moved from the steppes in the north to Istanbul.
The Kurds are a people without a country, now living as a million and a half in Turkey, but also in Syria and Iraq and Iran.  They were here before the Turks. The Turks were pushed out of their lands north east of the Black sea.
It was a rainy day with sleet.  Mehmet said it only snowed four times a year in Istanbul so this was one of those days.  His daughters school was closed and those who didn’t have to drive didn’t.  The Museum wasn’t busy as a result and even more enjoyable to walk about and look at the beautiful books, ceramics, rugs and other exhibits.


Mehmet told me that Raqquett was the town that ISIS had taken over. It is an ancient city with a deep spiritual past. It is a shame now that is is caught up in civil war.


The calligraphy and drawing in these ancient Korans was beautiful. I was reminded of the Celtic monastery scribes. Each Koran was hand created and carried it’s own personal and religious history down through the ages.


I’ve loved visiting the museums and art galleries of Istanbul because most everywhere there are English translations that make the experience more enjoyable for me.  Here and there one sees the influence of the far east.



Intricate mosque door with dragon door handle. Mehmet explained that representation was not accepted inside the mosque but could be found outside. Dragons were examples of far east influence.

Keys to the Ka’ba in Mecca.
Reliquaries with Hairs of Mohammed.
Prayer carpet from Mosque with individual places for each person to pray.
Illustration of non religious books.

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