World’s pearls to be exhibited in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyThe Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts host the “Pearls, Jewels from the Sea” exhibition featuring more than 100 pieces.
A highlight of the Qatar-Turkey 2015 Year of Culture initiative, the exhibition, the pieces of which were collected and curated during the last 10 years, was already shown in Brazil, the U.K. and Japan, and gained great success.
The Qatar Turkey 2015 Year of Culture, which is being held under the patronage of Qatar Museums’ Chairperson Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, is a year-long cultural exchange program dedicated to connecting people in Qatar and Turkey through culture, community and sport.
The exhibition celebrates a wide array of stunning objects of historical interest to both countries.
The collection consists of pearls as well as shells, tiaras, lockets, brooches and necklaces, mostly from the Gulf region.
Curator Hubert Bari, who is also the contributor of the 2013 book “Pearls,” said when talking about Gulf countries, people immediately think “gas and oil.”
“Nobody remembers people had glories in the past with another commodity. It was pearls.
“During more than 5,000 years in Qatar and Bahrain as well, thousands of people dove for pearls and an entire economy was based on this.
Pearls are a crucial part of Qatar’s heritage and an important feature of much Ottoman jewelry. Most pearls from the Gulf were sold to Constantinople, which would later become Istanbul, for the sultans. Topkapı Place was full of Gulf pearls in the past,” he said.
“Bringing pearls to Istanbul as part of the Qatar Turkey 2015 Year of Culture feels like a natural way to celebrate the warm friendship and spirit of collaboration and partnership that exists between these two countries,” Bari added.
Also speaking at the opening, the Qatar Museums Director Sefa Sağlam said, “We’re proud of the long, shared history of cultural and diplomatic relations between Qatar and Turkey and excited by the opportunity to build upon this. Pearls are real highlight of what has been a hugely successful Year of Culture program to date, helping to promote cultural exchange and deepening understanding between our countries’ cultural institutions, educators, government bodies, businesses and people.”
The most ancient piece of the exhibition is a bracelet that dates back to the 3rd century, while the most contemporary one is a necklace called “Frozen,” designed by German-Vietnamese artist Sam Tho Duong in 2011.
Some of the highlights of the display are pearl earrings designed by Bvlgari and used by British-American Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor as well as a Byzantine necklace that dates back to the 7th century.
The exhibition, co-organized by the Turkish Culture Ministry and Qatar Museums, will continue through Jan. 10, 2016.