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The Josephine Powell Collection at the Vehbi Koç House

A special exhibition for ICOC 2024

June 6, 2024 – June 30, 2024

Vehbi Koç Büyükdere House, Büyükdere Mahallesi, No:107, Piyasa Cd., 34453 Sarıyer

The much-lamented American photographer and collector Josephine Powell was perhaps the last great explorers of Anatolia. In 2007, she donated the remarkable collection of kilims and weaving tools to the Vehbi Koç Foundation. In 2018, the collection was exhibited at the Vehbi Koç House at Büyükdere on the upper Bosphorus.

Josephine Powell was the first foreigner to be permitted to travel throughout Turkey after the establishment of the Turkish Republic. She visited Anatolia many times, joined nomadic camps, visited carpet and kilim shops, and took countless photographs. A part of her extensive collection of photographs is housed at ANAMED, Koç University's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Beyoğlu,. More than 28,000 slides have been archiveed in the Suna Kıraç Library. Many have been digitized and made accessible to the public.

This new exhibition is opening as part of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC) (June 6-9) and will display kilims from the collection, tools used in kilim weaving, storage bags, and a weaving loom.

Kilims are an important part of the settled and nomadic life of the Turks, used in floor coverings, sacks, saddlebags, tents, cradle covers, wall hangings, camel covers, funeral weavings, dowry covers and much more besides. Anatolian kilims have bewitched and bemused researchers and collectors for centuries with their timeless motifs, such as the hands-on-hips (elibelinde), symbol, mihrabs, trees of life, hooks, ram's horns (koç boynuzu), hexagons, and rhombuses.

The Anatolian kilims and weavings in the collection were previously introduced in a two-volume catalogue prepared for an exhibition staged in conjunction with the 2007 conference at the Ottoman Mint (Darphane). As a result of the dye analyses made on the red and blue colours, the red colour is mostly from madder, a little from cochineal. The blue colour is obtained from indigo, it became clear that the majority of the kilims in the collection were woven before 1870. T

The new Josephine Powell kilim and weaving tools exhibition takes us to the heart of the nomadic lifestyle. The history of kilims is a nororiously imprecise art. So it will fascinating to eavesdrop on the world's greatest experts.

Like the nearby Sadberk Hanım, responsible the show, the Vehbi Koç Büyükdere House is closed Wednesdays, but otherwise open to visitors daily from 10:00 to 17:00. Entrance is free of charge.

Here are two of the fine kilims the show.

Thius West Anatolia Kilim is thought have been wovennear Aydın. It measures 280 x 167cm

And is a kind flatweave known as sili, woven in western Anatolia in the Balıkesir-Yağcıbedir region.(165 x 94 cm)

Special thanks to the curator Havva Furat Ay for kindly providing information of exhibition.

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