In The Beginning Was The Word

Sixty years ago, in the middle of my newt, slow-worm and birds’ nesting period, I was ‘introduced’ to two amazing images that left indelible impressions and a passion that has lasted to this day.

alhambraThe first was of the classic view of the Lion Courtyard at la Alhambra and the second was of Arabic calligraphy. The impact of those images kindled a fire that smouldered over the years. I determined that one day I would spend time at the Alhambra and some ten years ago we had an emotional reunion. Here in Turkey, with its history and tradition of calligraphy, I have been able to enjoy and indulge my passion for the Arabic script with visits to exhibitions and some modest collecting.

J and I were in Istanbul recently to visit with friends and take in a couple of exhibitions, we added the Sakip Sabancı Müzesi in Emirgan to the list because of its fantastic collection of Arabic calligraphy and books. The museum is housed in and around the former family mansion and the rooms and beautiful gardens give a fascinating insight into the life and lifestyle of the Sabancıs.

The astonishing private collection of calligraphy and books is exhibited in an extension to the old house that brings you the very latest concepts in display – the Sabancı Museum is a very classy place indeed. There is also a classy entrance fee policy (in my opinion) which gives free admission to ‘wrinklies’ over 65 and there’s a classy restaurant to boot!

All-in-all this is a really worthwhile place to visit – here are a few full-frontal photos of my passion/obsession – maybe they will turn you on too!

beautiful example of the calligrapher’s art
‘Priceless’ in every sense
illuminated Qur’ân
iPad video showing the craftsman at work
‘Besmele-i Şerif’ by Nesrin Şatır (my collection)
by Tuğrakes Hakkı Bey (1873-1946) Fine Art repro from my collection
tuğra of Sultan Muhmud II by modern master İsmet Ketin on raw silk (my collection)
Berat or citation period of Abdulhamit II (my collection)
original by modern master İsmet Ketin signed and dated 1992 (my collection)
a naive tuğra of Şehzade Ahmed by young calligrapher Bahçet Dinger (my collection)

. . and finally the star of my collection – an original page of the Holy Qur’ân dated approx 1630-40.

a precious piece of history

Alan in Okçular

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