Jewellery and textiles of Central Asia

A rare exhibition at London’s Asia House

By Roger Williams | May 6, 2016

Turkestan Journey, the current, free exhibition at Asia House, recalls a time a hundred years or more ago when women of Central Asia were adorned with an armoury of jewellery. The 60 pieces in a dozen glass cases are part of a thousand items collected over the past 20 years...
Posted in Exhibitions, History, Textiles

Turkish homes, memorable scents and novel topographies

Four extraordinary exhibitions in Beyoğlu

By Emma Harper | April 26, 2016

Over the next few months Istanbul’s galleries and museums are pulling out all the stops before the summer exodus. The following exhibitions in Beyoğlu are particularly exciting, and, as a bonus, they can be visited during the course of one day. Once you’ve had your Turkish coffee and some sustaining börek,...
Posted in Architecture, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, History

Calling young and old alike to apply for the 10th Ancient & Modern Research Prize

Applications due October 31, 2016

By Emma Harper | April 2, 2016

Have an idea for a research project related to things Turkish or textiles? Now is the time to put pen to paper and apply for the Ancient & Modern Prize, an award of £1,000 given to a candidate aged under 26 or over 60. Applications are open until October 31,...
Posted in Archaeology, Architecture, Culinary Arts, Design, History, Islamic Art, Literature, Textiles

Queen Elizabeth and the Islamic World

A new book sheds light on a time of unexpected alliances

By Roger Williams | March 27, 2016

This unattributed portrait of Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud, Moroccan Ambassador to the Court of Elizabeth I in London, was painted in 1600. Excommunicated by the Pope and at war with Catholic Spain, the Tudor queen had made alliances with the Muslim world and was selling arms to Morocco. The story...
Posted in Books, History, Literature, News

Summer study in Istanbul: 2016 edition

Koç University offers language programmes and courses on the urban environment

By Emma Harper | March 20, 2016

Once summer rolls around, the make-up of Istanbul’s population shifts ever so slightly. While many residents decamp to summer houses and small villages to escape the heat and humidity, the city receives an influx of (mainly foreign) students who enrol in the various summer courses on offer. This year Koç...
Posted in Archaeology, History

Past, present, future

A trio of contemporary art exhibitions in Istanbul examine Turkey throughout time

By Emma Harper | March 17, 2016

Delving into Turkey’s past, present and future is on the docket this month as we explore three exhibitions in Istanbul – truth be told, we like our art with a dash of history. First stop is The Empire Project in Cihangir to see Burhan Kum’s solo show Unofficial (ending April 23)....
Posted in Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, History

The story behind the scaffolding

An architectural history of the Narmanlı Han, now under restoration

By Emma Harper | March 2, 2016

Keeping track of Istanbul’s ever-changing cityscape is a full-time job, especially as skyscrapers and mixed-use developments have mushroomed in the past decade. Accompanying the construction boom are questions of how the city’s past should factor into its future growth – what role does historical preservation play in a city obsessed...
Posted in Architecture, History, News

Letters to the Editor: Sir Edward Barton (c.1533–1597)

The honorable demise of Queen Elizabeth’s envoy

By Scholar Squirrel | January 22, 2016

In splendidly illustrating the disappearing beauties and remaining monuments of ‘Istanbul Unwrapped,’ the two most recent issues of Cornucopia’s timely and moving series have recalled how Edward Barton, Queen Elizabeth I’s second ambassador to the Porte, came to be buried on Heybeliada in 1598. A photograph of Barton’s tombstone, relocated...
Posted in History, Letters to the Editor

The eye-opening evolution of the nude in Turkish art

‘Bare, Naked, Nude’ at the Pera Museum

By Emma Harper | January 7, 2016

The reclining woman’s light pink dress is disappearing before my eyes – the thick material of the ankle-length, long-sleeved dress becomes ever more pellucid until it is only an outline framing the woman’s naked figure. In this video installation, the first artist to greet you as you enter the Bare,...
Posted in Exhibitions, History, Museums

Byzantine boon

By Emma Harper | December 8, 2015

You could say that a Byzantine Studies Research Center at Boğaziçi University has been a long time in the making. Alexander Van Millingen (1814–195), one of the first professors at Robert College, was a renowned scholar of Byzantine Constantinople and well known for his 1899 book Byzantine Constantinople: The Walls...
Posted in Archaeology, History, News

The real Black Russian

Letters to the Editor

By Cornucopia | December 4, 2015

The author Vladimir Alexandrov writes: I read with interest Thomas Roueché’s piece ‘Dancing Until Daybreak’ about Jazz-Age Istanbul in issue 51 of Cornucopia and am pleased that he cited my book, The Black Russian (and also reviewed it in issue 53).  However, I don’t think that the black man in...
Posted in Books, History, Letters to the Editor

A journey through Anatolia’s forgotten empire

John Garstang and the 20th-century discovery of the Hittites

By Emma Harper | December 1, 2015

‘This is the notebook used by J.G. on his last trip in Turkey in 1951. I was wondering whether to throw it away, but it occurred to me that you might conceivably find some use for it in the Institute, so here it is. If you think it is no...
Posted in Archaeology, Exhibitions, History, Photography

Turkish photography at IFSAK

By Emma Harper | September 21, 2015

The Istanbul Photography and Cinema Amateurs Association (İstanbul Fotoğraf ve Sinema Amatörleri Derneği – IFSAK) has mined its archives to organise a group exhibition featuring some of the most important names in Turkish photography. Housed in the front rooms of an elegant apartment in one of the stately older buildings...
Posted in Exhibitions, History, Photography

Inside story: Bodrum

A journey through Turkish homes

By Lynn Gilbert | September 14, 2015

In this blog series, the photographer Lynn Gilbert takes us on a journey through Turkish homes. Bodrum, located in southwestern Turkey, is a beautiful, charming seaside resort. But it is also a place full of history. Going back to ancient times, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – an ancient Greek city...
Posted in Architecture, Design, History, Photography, Travel

Turkey gets Aussie-fied

By Victoria Khroundina | August 31, 2015

From next month until December, events continue as part of the ‘Australia in Turkey 2015’ festival. The biggest celebration of Australian culture in Turkey to date, it aims to enhance social and cultural understanding between the two countries. That it’s being celebrated in the same year as the centenary of...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Culinary Arts, Design, Exhibitions, Film, History, Modern Art, Music and Performing Arts, News

Inside story: Çamlıhemşin part 2

A journey through Turkish homes

By Lynn Gilbert | August 28, 2015

In this blog series, the photographer Lynn Gilbert takes us on a journey through Turkish homes. Huge kitchens like the one above are found in old stone houses built high in the mountains in remote areas of’ Çamlıhemşin in the early 20th century. Amonst them were many successful bakers, one...
Posted in Architecture, Design, History, Photography, Travel

How to navigate this year’s massive Istanbul Biennial

By Victoria Khroundina | August 25, 2015

It’s almost time for another edition of the Istanbul Biennial – and the 14th instalment promises to be bigger, bolder and braver than ever. There will be works by 80 artists, hailing from every continent, displayed in over 30 venues on both the European and Anatolian sides of the city....
Posted in Contemporary Art, Design, Exhibitions, History, Modern Art, Museums, Photography

Ephesus: a visual diary

By Victoria Khroundina | July 31, 2015

‘Turkey’s greatest classical sight can come as a shock, even to a die-hard art historian,’ writes Roger Williams in the introduction to the Cornucopia guide entry on Ephesus. Well, I’m not an historian, but even to a layman (albeit a curious one), the sight is fascinating. After living in Turkey...
Posted in History, Travel

Capturing the Empire

By Victoria Khroundina | July 21, 2015

Beautifully arranged across the foyer and main gallery of the Research Centre for Anatolian Civilisations (RCAC) is the exhibition Camera Ottomana, tracing photography and modernity in the Ottoman Empire from 1840 to 1914. The RCAC excels at these historical photography exhibitions. They are compact but informative, well arranged and lit,...
Posted in Exhibitions, History, Photography

Telling Turkey’s history through women’s stories

The ‘Kadınlar: goddesses – harem – power’ exhibition

By Victoria Khroundina | July 16, 2015

Women’s stories take centre stage in a fascinating show currently on at the TwentseWelle in Enschede, Netherlands. This city, close to the German border, is home to thousands of Turkish migrants, so a Turkish-themed exhibition seemed a welcome idea for the museum. Kadınlar: goddesses – harem – power takes viewers on...
Posted in Exhibitions, History, Islamic Art, Museums, Textiles
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