October 25, 2011 - Today's Zaman
The Yıldız Palace in İstanbul is currently home to a rare collection of 19th-century portraits of Native American tribes in an exhibition that went on display on Monday at the historic palace in İstanbul's Beşiktaş district.
Titled "Native Americans: Memory of an Ottoman Connection," the exhibition is a joint effort between the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) and the İstanbul Handicrafts Center.
Running for only five days, until Saturday, at the palace's Çit Mansion, the exhibition showcases a 50-piece selection of photographs from a 200-piece collection from the palace's archives. The original collection, dating back to the 19th century, is made up of photographs that depict members of 31 Native American tribes. The unique collection was sent in the 1880s to İstanbul as a gift to Sultan Abdülhamid II, the then ruler of the Ottoman Empire, by the Washington-based Smithsonian Institution to promote the international exchange of cultural knowledge. Preserved in the Yıldız Palace archives, the collection is being displayed for the first time in a public exhibition.
The exhibition's opening night was attended by a delegation of Native American representatives, who are visiting Turkey for a TCA-supported forum on infrastructure development and educational exchanges hosted by İstanbul Technical University (İTÜ).