Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Too often as I stroll through a market and like something, I do not buy it right away – thinking that I will pick it up on the way back. This allows for the possibility that I will find something better ahead or get a better price. This procrastination also saves me from lugging a weight around while I do some more enjoy some more window shopping.
But in the Grand Bazar – the ‘I’ll come here on my way back’ is an impossible event. Especially since they forgot to fit a working compass into my brain and my sense of direction is almost always misleading.
The lanes and by-lanes – although very structured – are so numerous and so filled with eye candy that even after actively noting my position & coordinates with respect to the shops around, it was easy to get distracted and completely forget every detail, just a few minutes later. Carpets, lamps, spices, embroideries, ceramics, turkish sweets – all things ethnic, traditional and representing the culture of Turkey surrounded me in this market.
So even if I did have that compass AND a cartographer walking with me, I am sure that the 61 streets and 3000 shops would have challenged even her!
It was the perfect first-day adventure to expose one to the available arts & crafts of Turkey. It trains the eye in the breadth of available crafts and the depth available in each craft category [sort of … though not entirely].
Further a few price discussions with different dealers allow one to get acquainted with the band of prices that the same product may be offered for.This gives us an idea of how much to negotiate but it still does not tell us how much lower it can finally be obtained for! Anyhow that mystery keeps things a bit interesting.
Although the Grand Bazar of Istanbul is listed No.1 among world’s most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 annual visitors [Wikipedia] I left empty handed. Too much to see, too many of the same item, too much choice.
But it was a great experience. A cultural walk with a very traditional atmosphere. [thankfully there were no Nike / Mc Donalds / Prada stores to ruin the atmosphere of the bazar!!!]
I can only imagine how exotic this place must have been when it was newly constructed in 1460 – or a hundred years later in 1560 – or a hundred years later in 1660 …. or a hundred years later in 1760 ….. or a hundred years later in 1860 or even as late as 1960. 😀 😀
If only one of the nice old Anatolian double-knotted carpets could fly us across the seas of centuries and allow us to see all that!