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The Museum of Palace Collections
DOLMABAHÇE MUSEUM OF PALACE COLLECTIONS HAS ASSEMBLED THE HISTORIC OBJECTS USED IN LATE OTTOMAN PALACES.
Included in the museum are artifacts from the Dolmabahçe, Beylerbeyi and Yıldız Palaces and the Aynalıkavak, Küçüksu, Ihlamur and Maslak pavilions as well as products of the Yıldız Porcelain and Hereke Carpet Factories. The items that make up the collections cover a period from the early 19th through the first quarter of the 20th century.
TOYS OF THE SULTAN
The educational materials and toys used until she was ten years old by Dürrüşehvâr Sultan, the beloved daughter of the last caliph, Abdulmejid Efendi, give an idea about the everyday life and education of palace children. Some of these toys, which remind us that kids are kids everywhere even though those in the Ottoman state palace were given serious training and learned the rules of protocol, were imported from Europe at the time.
Palace furniture was part and parcel of palace life, as it is everywhere. The surviving examples of furniture in the palace collections are an indicator of the lifestyle in the Ottoman palaces and the preferences of the residents. These items of furniture, which differ in their style and place of production, are being exhibited in their original settings thanks to photographs and other documents. A few pieces of wooden furniture in the museum were selected from the palace storage area.
WRITING SETS AND THE ART OF CALLIGRAPHY
Some of the Ottoman sultans and a sizable number of palace notables were enamored of the traditional art of calligraphy. The objects displayed at the museum include such writing set items as inkpots, pen-nibbers, pencil sharpeners, scissors, paper weights, paper and portfolios. At the same time, seals, various Ottoman crests, tiled panels, pitchers of ZamZam sacred well water, censers, and rose water flasks are among the other items that played a central role in Ottoman social and official life that are on display.
The lifestyle and aesthetic tastes of the late Ottoman Empire are reflected in these rich collections culled from the palaces, pavilions and mansions of the period. Among them the porcelain collection is without a doubt one of the most important. And the porcelain decorative objects that arrived at the palace by purchase or as gifts from the European and Far Eastern countries with which the Ottoman palaces had close cultural, economic and political relations in the 19th and early 20th centuries made up a large part of the palace collections. In addition, choice examples of the products of the Yıldız Porcelain Factory, founded in the Ottoman period and still in operation today, can also be seen.
Tablecloths, prayer mats, sorbet doily sets, hand towels, women’s garments, and Quran covers are some of the many examples of embroidery that enrich the palace textile collections. Among them embroidery produced by the late Ottoman bazaar masters, harem residents and girls’ vocational schools stand out.
Examples from the crystal gold-plated silver settings used at official banquets given for high-ranking guests of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century are also presented. These settings are also interesting for showing how place settings became more diversified as dining etiquette changed. With their gold gilding and decorative crests and refinement of cutting and incising technique, the crystal sets produced by Baccarat in France and the Moser factories of Bohemia were a constant symbol of elegance at Ottoman palace banquets.