Artworks Exhibited in Topkapi Palace
Ottoman and European Silver Works
The silver works produced between sixteenth and nineteenth centuries ,met with the visitors in Topkapi Palace Museum ,was the significant part of the Ottoman Treasury since the richness was measured by gold and silver owned. There are approximately two thousand silver works in the collection exhibited in Topkapi Palace. These silver works are consist of the gifts of the European Ambassadors given on the occasion of visit to the Sultan and silver works given as gift during the Culus anniversaries and other silver works included into the treasury for various reasons.
Topkapi Palace Museum collection on display are works about two thousand pieces of silver. This is the beginning of the works of silver, because of their visits to the sultan, and for any reason, European diplomats Culus anniversaries, especially the relationship with the silverware as a gift, the treasure is silver involved for various reasons.
European Porcelains and Glass Wares
The European porcellains and glass ware collection exhibited in Topkapi Palace Museum should be definetily visited in order to have an idea on articles of glassware of that era. The whole collection is composed of European glass ware or the pieces manufactured in Europe. The glass works produced with the Bohemian glass processing technique discovered in the early seventeenth century ,constitute the major part of the European porcellanis and glass ware collection of Topkapi Palace. A visitor of Topkapi Museum will be considered unlucky if he/she doesn’t see the pitcher set created by Ludwig Moser ,one of the workers of Bohemian glass factory and the artist whose name referred to this techique, for Sultan Abdulhamit II. In this collection, the rare examples of French, British and Russian glass art met with the visitors.
Glass Ware and Porcelains of Istanbul
Approximately two thousand pieces unique works are exhibited in the Glassware and porcelain collection of Istanbul. The most important pieces of Istanbul collection are exhibited in Helvahane and Serbethane sections of Palace Cuisine. The adventure of glass production in the Ottoman Empire starts with Sultan Selim III’s decision of sending Mevlevi scholar Mehmet Dede to Venice of Italy in order to learn the basics art of glass. Mevlevi Mehmet Dede returns to Istanbul with he secrets of this art and after a short while he succeeds in manufacturing glassware specific to Ottoman. In the glass workshops situated in Beykoz,district of Istanbul, the production of crystal glass ,Cesmi-i bulbul and opaline glass types were realized.
Since the nineteenth century, when the glassware were mentioned ,it is called to mind the name of “Cesm-i Bulbul” glass ( means as the eye of nightingale ) manufatured in the workshops of Beykoz-Istanbul. In this glass art ,it is essential that the colored and whirling glass rods rise and they unit each other.
In the porcelain part of the collection, there are only Ottoman porcelains to be used in the Topkapi palace due to their high cost of production. The Ottoman porcelains are divided into two groups in terms of the reigning Sultans during the production period . The porcelains manufactured between the middle and second quarter of the nineteenth century in the reign of Sultan Abdulmecit referred as Eser-i Istanbul and manufactured in the Beykoz porcelain workshops. And the porcelains manufactured in the last quarter of the same century are referred as Yildiz porcelains. Yildiz porcelains were manufactured in the reign of Sultan Abdulhamit in the porcelain workshops situated in the garden of Yildiz Palace. The most important feature of the porcelain works bearing the stamp of Eser-i Istanbul is the floral design and the arabic stamps painted with the same dye. These porcelains could only be produced along the thirty years due to the high production cost.
The foundation purpose of Yildiz Tile Factory in the period of Sultan Abdulhamid was to cover the need of porcelain of Palace. In the course of time ,this factory was developed and started to produce the gifts to be sent to the foreign statesmen. Today, it is possible to see the art works referred as Yildiz Porcelain in various museums of Europe.
Has Room – Holy Relics Department
Has room was built by the order of Sultan Mehmet ,conqueror of Istanbul, in the so-called Enderun courtyard for his own use and this room was used by the subsequent Sultans in the second quarter of sixteenth century. The Has oda is a room where the subordinates present their submissions and prayers to the Sultan before ascending to throne during Culus ceremony . At the present time, Holy relics department in Has Oda is consist of Islamic work of arts sent between sixteenth century in which Sultan Selim reached the rank of caliphate and until the end of nineteenth century. The authority of Caliphate owned by Abbasids was trasfered to the Ottoman Sultans after the conquer of Egypt by Sultan Selim I. in 1517. As a natural consequence of this situation, the cardigan of Prophet Muhammad in the treasure of Mutawakkil the third,the last caliph of Abbasids was brought to Topkapi Palace in Istanbul under the auspices of Sultan Selim Khan. After this incident, the other sacred relics ,one after another ,have been sent to the Topkapi Palace. The holy relics traffic towards Ottoman Palace gained momentum ,because the attacks of Vehhabbi tribes in Egypt was intensified to the sacred places of Islam . In the period of the First World War ,the other holy relics in Medina was transferred to Holy Relics department in the Palace.
In the Holy Relic department of Topkapi Palace there are several items with high spritual value ,such as …footprint of Prophet Muhammad, the container in which the broken tooth of Prophet Muhammad is kept , during the Uhud Battle, Prophet Muhammad’s beard (sakal-i serif) , Prophet Moses’s wand, Prophet Joseph’s robe and the sword of Prophet David.
In the period of Fatih Sultan Mehmet the conquerer of Istanbul , Hagia Eirene Church (Hagia Irene Church) , in the courtyard of Topkapi Palace was used as a warehouse for weapons and ammunition. Hagia Eirene Church used for this purpose until the end of the nineteenth century, was converted into museum referred as “Museum of ancient weapons and Antiquites “ ( Mecmai Eslihai Atika and Mecmai Asari Atika in Ottoman language) by the ettempts of Fethi Mehmet Pasha ,marshal of armory department. This museum is the first known museum in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace Museum with the collection of weapons containing approximately fifty-two thousand pieces and with the 1300 years of historical background, has the possession of the most significant weapon collection in the world. The whole of the collection consist of the rare pieces inspired by the various war cultures on three continents where the Ottoman Empire was ruling .The most important section in this department is the saltanate weapons section where the weapons manufactured by the order of Sultan is being exhibited and this should be certainly visited. The weapons ,armor and other artifacts and components obtained as spoils of war bear witness to the history of Ottoman Empire.
The Treasure House
In the tradition of the Ottoman Sultans the treasure was considered as ancestry heirloom and it was constanly increasing asset until the period of pause. The Sultans were used to watch this treasure , locked chests and behind the closed doors and protected by strict security measures, with certain ceremonies. This tradition was broken in the second quarter of the ninetenth century. The certain part of the treasure was began to be exhibited in public places during the periods of Sultan Abdulmecit, Sultan Abdulaziz and Sultan Abdulhamit the second. Today, the Imperial Treasury section is the visitors accepted place in Topkapi Palace Museum . The most significant items in the treasury are the gifts given on the occasion of the important days such as birthdays, circumcison and enthronement ceremonies of Sultans and Princes. In addition, the artworks made by local and foreign artists in order to receive order , take considerable place in tresuary. Some artworks sent by the Sultan of the relevant period to the foreign statesmen but could not be reached for various reasons ,take place in this section. The emerald-embroidered dagger sent by Sultan Mahmut I. to Mahmud Shah can be mentioned beetween these works.
Copper and Tombac Works
The copper works used for dessert cooking for Palace’s servants in the “Helvahane” section are worthwhile to see in terms of labour used in production. The copper pots were used in the Palace’s kitchen in order to prepare the other food stuff to be consumed.The copper and tombac works used to cook daily for five thousand people ,are rare types in the world in terms of quality.
Chinese and Japanese Porcelains
The porcelain collection including more than then thousand Chinese origin porcelain can be considered the biggest collection in the world except the China . Today, this collection is worthwhile to see because the property of their embroderies can not be found even in china and they have been waiting for their visitors.
Portraits of the Sultans
The thirty-six paintings and engravings of the Ottoman Sultans who reigned since from the establishment year of 1299 until the twentieth century makes up an unique collection. The portraits of the Sultans prior to the Conquerer of Istanbul Fatih Sultan Mehmet, was not made when they were alive,thus their portraits were made entirely on the basis of the notes kept in the history. Almost all of the Sultans including Fatih sultan Mehmet let the court artists of Ahl-i Hiref Nakkashanesi to make their portraits and engravings. In this collection the works of the western painters take place besides the court artists. Almost all of these artworks has been ordered by the Sultans of the relevant era.
Sultan’s Garments section is a place where the fabric meets with art and consist of the garments made between fifteenth and twentieth century. Almost all of the patterns were designed and knitted by the miniaturists of Ahl-i Hiref. The garments were mainly withgold and silver embroidery until the period of Sultan Ahmet III. ,after that period lighter and cheaper fabrics were preferred. The headgears of the public referred as crown,guilted turban etc, was paid attention by the sultans. The headgears was complementary of the garments and was varied depending on sofa meeting,ceremonies and reception of foreign ambassadors. The most and frequently preferred headgears were called as Selimi, Horasani, Katibi and mucevveze . In the period of Sultan Mahmut the second,a new perspective occurred and the culture of fez was tried to be established. The wearing of fez announced obligatory in the regular army of that period called as “Asakiri Mansuri Muhammediye”. Thus, the usage of fez became widespread and the other headgeras were invalidated.
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