A street scene with handmade items in Ankara, Turkey.
Hand-woven Anatolian and Central Asian carpets and wall hangings, displayed on the outer wall of a huge repurposed caravanserai in Göreme, Turkey.
The multiplication of antique dealers seems like a relatively new development in Ankara. Until recently, I think most people around here would probably have identified with the sentiments of Orhan Pamuk’s narrator in The Museum of Innocence:
“The Ashamed collect purely for the sake of collecting. Like the Proud, they begin … in pursuit of an answer, a consolation, even a palliative for a pain, a resolution of difficulty, or simply out of a dark compulsion. But living in societies where collecting is not a reputable act that contributes to learning or knowledge, the Ashamed regard their compulsion as an embarrassment that must be hidden. Because in the lands of the Ashamed, collections point not to a bit of useful information but rather to a wound the ashamed collector bears.”
This is not to say that most people in Turkey are ashamed or wounded, more than those in other parts of the world. I think people in different cultures carry their wounds in different places. But tolerance towards the idea of collecting for collecting’s sake speaks of tolerance for a luxury mindset: the idea that it’s okay to have many things you don’t need. In Ankara, it’s not hard to walk into little hidden shops that blur the lines between thrift store, junk shop and overflowing attic storage space. But as Turkey’s economic situation continues to improve, we see more and more sidewalk scenes like this one downtown: upscale antique stores with upscale prices, collecting pieces of handwork and history from an old Eastern culture and marketing them to well-heeled clientele on what seems a new, and Western, model.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/8, 1/100 sec. Thanks to Shadowhouse for the overlaid textures.
The weaving of kilim (flat-woven) and halı (pile) carpets is a centuries-old tradition throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, and Anatolian Turkey is no different. This picture is from the Anatolian Carpet Weaving Workshop in Göreme, a functioning workshop which is at the same time something more of tourist attraction. Still, this exact same scene can be found played out in villages across the country even now. I have Turkish friends who have run across this image and said, “Oh yes, we used to do that back when I was in the village.”
This website offers good information on the types of roots, nuts and berries that are used to make the natural dyes. Ten or twenty years ago artificial dyes had begun to overtake the natural methods, but fortunately people noticed that the plant dyes were higher quality and longer lasting, so the traditional ways have made a comeback.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/4, 1/80 sec.