Collector promoting art of prayer beads
KIRIKKALE - Anatolia News Agency
Mehmet Erkoç has been collecting prayer beads for 35 years. His aim is to revive this art, which is almost forgotten, he says. AA photoA researcher and writer living in the central province of Kırıkkale has opened prayer bead exhibitions in many parts of the world to introduce people to the art of these religious symbols with his own widening prayer bead collection, which includes some 100-year-old prayer beads.
Mehmet Erkoç has been researching and collecting prayer beads, known as tespih in Turkey, for 35 years. Since he began his collection he has visited many European and Asian countries to put on small exhibitions. “My purpose is to revive the art of prayer beads again,” he said.
The prayer beads culture existed since the beginning of Islam, Erkoç said. “Besides being made in Europe and Asia, prayer beads are made of many forestry materials in Turkey. But these prayer beads and the art of the prayer bead has almost been forgotten today,” Erkoç said.
Throughout history prayer beads have been made of many different materials, some more precious than others. According to Erkoç, some are made of Erzurum’s jet and Eskişehir’s meerschaum, while there are also some made from different types of juniper, olive, rose and locust trees. “In other countries prayer beads are made of materials like kingwood, balm, sandalwood, skittle, palm, ebony as sea turtle shell, buffalo horn, rhino horns, walrus teeth, mammoth teeth, et cetera.”