Professor Stan Shelmidine and His World

Artifacts from the Collection

Stan kept a few journals of his travels that survive for us today. In one, he mentions purchasing items at a Turkish Bazaar. We do not have records of where he purchased the items you see here, but we can assume that these were collected by him from a similar market setting. The numerous vessels are reminiscent of Turkish craftsmanship.

Two small cups and a tall pourer  Three glass jars in a holding tray; the center one has a minaret-shaped lid  A tea pot and cream pourer  A cup with foreign characters, a tall vessel, and a gilded tray

Islamic Tile Art

The art of Islamic mosques is comprised of many colors and motifs, some of the most prominent of which are represented by the ceramic tiles in Stan's collection (pictured below). One can find a range of styles, some going back to Greco-Roman roots where plants like the acanthus often became an integral part of tapestries and sculpture alike, an especially common example is their use at the tops of more elaborate columns. In Islamic art, these forms could be representations of a fertile garden of paradise, or they could simply reflect the beauty of the world in which we live. Though we do not know the exact origin of these tiles, we can draw from the use of blues and greens as well as their plant-like decorations that they are closely related to many of the tiles that decorate Islamic structures of the Middle East, such as the Blue Mosque and many others that Stan would have visited during his time abroad. It is difficult to find Islamic structures not decorated extensively by these beautiful decorative forms that reflect the natural world.

A floral pattern Islamic tile   Islamic tile with a floral pattern

The Qalamdan Divit is a long brass case with a small ink jar attached on the endThe Qalamdan Divit

This brass pen and ink case, known in Turkish as a “Qalamdan Divit” is a uniquely Ottoman version of cases designed to hold ink and the various reed pens, or qalam used to write calligraphy.  Not only does this piece speak to the ubiquitous nature of calligraphy in Islamic culture, it also serves as a perfect example of the everyday objects Stan encountered in his travels in Turkey in the 1930’s.

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