About Antiquities: Politics of Archaeology in the Ottoman by Zeynep Çelik

By Zeynep Çelik

Antiquities were pawns in empire-building and international rivalries; energy struggles; assertions of nationwide and cultural identities; and cross-cultural exchanges, cooperation, abuses, and misunderstandings—all with the underlying section of monetary achieve. certainly, “who owns antiquity?” is a contentious query in lots of of today’s foreign conflicts.

About Antiquities bargains an interdisciplinary examine of the connection among archaeology and empire-building round the flip of the 20 th century. beginning at Istanbul and concentrating on antiquities from the Ottoman territories, Zeynep Çelik examines the preferred discourse surrounding claims to the earlier in London, Paris, Berlin, and big apple. She compares and contrasts the reports of 2 museums—Istanbul’s Imperial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—that aspired to emulate eu collections and achieve the status and tool of possessing the fabric fragments of historical background. Going past associations, Çelik additionally unravels the complex interactions between individuals—Westerners, Ottoman choice makers and officers, and native laborers—and their competing stakes in antiquities from such mythical websites as Ephesus, Pergamon, and Babylon.

Recovering views which were misplaced in histories of archaeology, fairly these of the excavation employees whose voices have by no means been heard, About Antiquities presents vital ancient context for present controversies surrounding nation-building and the possession of the past.

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The museum had started in 1846 as a collection of weapons and antiquities housed in the former church of Hagia Eirene within the walls of the Palace of Topkapı. In 1869, the year of the first antiquities legislation, the Collection of Antiquities was renamed the Imperial Museum (Müze-­i Hümayun), and the Grand Vizier Ali Pasha Beginnings: The Nineteenth-Century Museum ◆ 33 Figure 1. 8 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, view from Fifth Avenue, ca. 1900– 1910. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs) appointed Edward Goold, a teacher at the Imperial High School (Galatasaray), as its first director.

Public transportation, another key development in city planning at the time, worked hand in hand with museums, expanding their accessibility to large groups of people. All main European museums were prominently situated in city centers and surrounded by open spaces, be they squares or parks. The Louvre Museum, lodged in its enormous palace, was created as a result of the French Revolution. Opened in 1793 as the centralized art collection of the French nation, it was built of the royal art collections and those appropriated from the various palaces, churches, and monasteries after the revolution.

13 The new ferry stop at Gülhane Park. (Servet-­i Fünun 47, no. 76 Electric trams replaced the horse-­drawn ones in 1912, also during this active period under Cemil Pasha. The main tram line that connected the Galata Bridge to the heart of the historic peninsula had a stop at the entrance to Gülhane Park before reaching Hagia Sophia Square. From this stop to the Imperial Museum was a short walk up the hill, on a narrow, leafy street. The museum was hence easily accessible by the main mass transportation line, as well as being within walking distance from several busy centers of the city—among them, the Galata Bridge; the Eminönü ferry stop and quays; the central markets; Hagia Sophia Square and its new extension, Sultan Ahmed Park; and Divanyolu, the historic main avenue of the old city.

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