Moving Toward the Museum

Wendy M. K. Shaw

in Possessors and Possessed

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780520233355
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928565 | DOI:
Moving Toward the Museum

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This chapter focuses on the collection of antique spolia in Ottoman museums. It suggests that the roots of collection in the Ottoman Empire can only be understood in light of pre-Turkic and pan-Mediterranean practices of the reuse and display of valuable works of art, and that only against this hyperbolically extended backdrop does the extent of the ideological shift embodied by the relatively sudden formation of the Ottoman museum become apparent. The chapter argues that the incorporation of spolia into the walls of various types of structures also served one of the functions of the modern museum, which is to display objects to a viewing public so that they may understand the messages implied.

Keywords: antique spolia; Ottoman museums; Ottoman Empire; works of art; museum collection

Chapter.  5353 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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