May 30 Art & History (Day 246)

Today I hunted down the Arts & History Museum which has been housed various places in Izmir until just last year when a new complex was opened in the renovated old Tobacco warehouses north of Kulturpark. This may be the tobacco warehouses where Linda mentioned she went to school back in the 60’s. The new complex, “the İzmir Kültür Sanat Fabrikası (the Izmir Culture and Arts Factory) which includes the Archaeology and Ethnography Museum, the İzmir Painting and Sculpture Museum, the Atatürk Special Library, the Alsancak Public Library and the Turkic World Music Special Library, as well as cultural and art workshops, an open-air cinema, exhibition areas and a spacious green area, opened its doors to visitors in April 2023.” When I arrived at about 10:30am the campus was filled with young people, students I surmised, there for the workshops on art, music and dance. I headed in to the Archaeology and Ethnography Museum, which was almost empty of people, and was overwhelmed with the artifacts and history presented.

The first exhibit I saw is this one on the strategic position of Izmir in the ancient world, a crossroads of trade across the European waterways and linking Asia with Europe. The many clay vessels (found from shipwrecks it looks like) transported olive oil, wine and other commodities throughout the area.

Much smaller, delicate glass bottles transported fine oils, perfumes and cosmetics!

The hall of sculpture consisted of several rooms. These heads show the variety of poses and facial features and the skill of the carvers.

This statue stood out for it’s more primitive design, besides missing the head and arms! It is a statue of Artemis Ephesia, and exemplifies the differences between the European (Artemis, the Archer Goddess, depicted as a young athletic woman) and the Asian or Anatolian (Artemis Ephesia, the Mother Goddess, depicted with a dress adorned with animals & breast/testicle reliefs).

“In Greek mythology, Artemis is the daughter of Leto and Zeus and the sister of Apollo. Artemis appears in two different forms. One of them is the “Archer Goddess” Artemis, which reflects the Greek interpretation, and the other is Artemis Ephesia, the goddess of abundance and fertility, whose origins go back to the Mother Goddess of Anatolia, Cybele, and finally take shape in Ephesus. The Archer Goddess is depicted with her short dress (Khiton), quiver, and bow. Artemis Ephesia, on the other hand, is depicted with her archaic stance that goes back to the depths of history, her layered crown, her deep gaze, her dress adorned with animals, the breast/testicle reliefs overflowing from her chest, and her arms reaching forward as if embracing a person. Artemis is both a girl, a woman, and a mother.”

Fine jewelry on display. There are also lifesized models of the workshops where many types of artifacts were manufactured such as oil lamps, clay figurines, clay vessels, jewelry, sculptures, etc.

Another exhibit displayed the textile arts, with embroidery and rug weaving prominent.

The Museum had displays from the neolithic time to the War of Independence of 1922 but I didn’t see anything displaying information about the Ottoman Empire (approximately 1400’s to WW1) except this;

“The Conquest of Constantinople”, by who, as if we don’t know. Why don’t they display that history?

After my museum experience I walked to the waterfront and back to the tram station, returned to ‘our’ neighborhood, did some shopping and took the elevator up the hill and walked the 15 minutes to the apartment. Robert was nursing a sore knee from all the stairs and hill climbing!

Up at the top of the elevator a wedding party was positioning to get photos with the backdrop of the bay!

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