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Jewel: Enamelled and Jewelled Objects from the Sadberk Hanım Museum Collection

December 3, 2015 – September 25, 2016

Sadberk Hanım Museum, Büyükdere Piyasa Cad 27–29, Büyükdere, Sarıyer, Istanbul


Now extended through the summer, this exhibition, featured prominently in the latest Cornucopia. It celebrates the 35th anniversary of Sadberk Hanım Museum with an array of enamelled and jewelled objects in the Turkish-Islamic section of the museum that dazzles as much with its finesse as with its glittering glamour. This is one of the most gorgeous small exhibitions Istanbul has ever staged and there is a well-researched, beautifully written book of the show for those poor souls who can’t make it to Istanbul this summer.

Artefacts reflect the Ottomans’ highly refined taste for objects set with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and other precious stones, and exquisitely crafted enamelled artefacts. But this isn’t chunky showy nouveau riche stuff. There is wit and whim at every turn, in belt buckles, writing boxes, pen cases, spoons, coffee cup holders, mastic jars, sherbet cups, pocket watches, fans, fly whisks, tobacco pipes, snuff boxes, brooches, medals and slippers.

Apart from the surviving jewelled objects themselves, archive documents, the writings of Ottoman authors and foreign travellers, contemporary paintings and miniatures demonstrate the extensive use of precious metals and gems to adorn items ranging from book bindings to costume in Ottoman culture. The jewelled and enamelled objects in the Sadberk Hanım Museum collection tend to follow court tastes; most of them were evidently used and worn by people in or close to court circles.


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