Topkapı Palace’s inventory becomes digital with new works
Ömer Erbil – ISTANBUL
A commission of experts from the National Palaces Administration has been carrying out meticulous works to make the inventory of artifacts of the world-famous Topkapı Palace go digital in Istanbul.
The commission, tasked to take photographs of the artifacts’ inventory, include Ottoman-speaking specialists, officials from the museum and experts from the National Palaces Administration.
Some 100 people, separated into 12 groups, are taking the stock of 59 different collections. The team includes eight experts.
The inventory works are expected to continue for three more months, according to Prof. Ahmet Çapoğlu, the deputy chair of restoration works at the National Palaces Administration.
“First, the artifact is being compared to [the previous records] at the registry. Then, it is being digitally photographed and re-registered,” Çapoğlu told daily Hürriyet.
“There are no photographs on the old inventory records, only descriptions of the artifacts,” he said.
Çapoğlu said that the historical pieces include those in the Ottoman language, which was registered at the inventory in 1924. He said that there are also inventory records, taken from 1954 to 1960, which are also subjected to re-registration.
“There are no missing artifacts. The inventory records are in accord,” he said.
For the historical books, every single page is being controlled to see if there are any missing pages and to check if the width and length of the pieces fit the previous registration’s description.
According to the palace’s inventory, 147,000 artifacts were registered. Nevertheless, up until this point, some 150,000 historical pieces have been added to the inventory.
When asked if the palace holds unregistered items, Çapoğlu said there is none, yet differences regarding counting exists with the previous records.
“The weapons, porcelain works [and] the treasury is being counted one by one. [For instance], there are 10 arrows put in one quiver. They are registered in the inventory under a single number. Now, we are giving registration numbers to every single arrow and photographing them,” he said.
Çapoğlu also said that he expects the number of items registered in the inventory to rise to 180,000 due to this method.
“We cannot say that there are unregistered artifacts. I was present when the porcelains were being counted. For example, a single inventory was taken for a set of porcelain. But we are taking the inventory of all plates, bowls and caps one by one,” he said.
“Thus, the number of inventories [taken] increase,” he added.