I saw a blue door. Eyes followed to see a blue wall, a blue house. It reminds me a little of those books, with Roger Red Hat and Billy Blue Hat in their red and blue houses. In the balcony some vines and leaves trail a little, windows shut with nets peeping through. I’m intrigued.
I knock on the door to see who lives there. It’s a small hotel, and they want to know if I have a reservation. I don’t, so I leave again, not before looking at their white and blue wallpaper and their plain carpet.
Once of the landmarks we visited while in Turkey was the Basicila Cistern, which is one of the biggest ancient storage units underground the city of Istanbul which was designed to hold water. It was surprisingly busy going in, but once we got in, we could see a huge underground cavern which would have plenty of space to hold visitors.
It was quite dim in the cistern, so I wasn’t able to take clear pictures with my camera and had to use my mobile camera, but the view was pretty spectacular and there was a very eerie, mysterious atmosphere to the place.
The most striking part of the cistern and its pillars were two Medusa heads which were carved into the bottom of two pillars – one was upside down, and one was placed on its side, apparently, deliberately so. There’s a lot of ideas why this was done, but no one really knows for certain. I noticed a lot of Medusa motifs around this city; restaurants, shops, artwork and symbols in a lot of discreet places, which I thought was an interesting link to Greek mythology, and probably points to the diverse history of traders and inhabitants of Istanbul over the last few centuries.
It was fun to see another side to Istanbul, the quiet, atmospheric and mysterious caverns which gave tourists a chance to wander around and enjoy some peace. There was also an opportunity to dress up in traditional Turkish costumes and take photographs in a photo booth on the side, which looked fun, although we didn’t do this because it was busy and I was a little embarassed!
Isn’t it amazing how much of a relic these things are these days? Twenty years ago, VHS and music cassettes were a normal craze; where winding up cassette tapes with pencils and the magic of recording TV shows on black video tapes were our versions of the iPads and mobiles of today. Oh, except we had funkier, bigger hair and questionable bumbags.
I saw these in a local shop a few days ago, and had to take a sneaky shot (the shop-owner didn’t realise I’m just trying to be “ironic” and also probably doesn’t read my blog, so I had to be sneaky about it). It made me smile because we used to stalk this shop every weekend when I was a child to rent out the latest video to watch, and which was a big event in our house because it meant we got to pick something WE wanted to watch. Even though there wasn’t much to pick from, the films weren’t very new and we usually had to pick from Rambo, E.T. or Hellraiser (or something of the same calibre), it was still a thrilling evening for us to pay £1 (or £2 for the weekend!) to borrow a video tape.
These days the shop seems to just display them for fun (plus the layers of dust kind of shows that it’s been a while since anyone knew what to do with them), and they’re all Bollywood and Tollywood tapes, which are kind of redundant now that the big world of The Internet has shown us how to watch these.
Still, they’re a nice reminder of the simpler things in our childhood, and the terrible films we used to watch.
I love the Arabic language, the beauty of its curving letters and the detailed strokes of each letter which joins together to make beautiful passages as well as beautiful art. This is an old text from the 16th Century, depicting an ayat (verses from the Holy Quran) which was painstakingly written out by scribes during this time. I love the beautiful neatness of this piece of writing, the sloping, long letters highlighted with gold paint and the beautiful calligraphy – it’s not often you get to see some old texts like these.
I wanted to take a close-up of this picture but wasn’t able to because this piece exhibited behind glass, but perhaps I’ll get to see something similar to this again, and try to get a better picture!
Part of this week’s Weekly Challenge: Letters.
I went to a Chinese exhibition a while ago, which focused on the China and it’s Dynasties (otherwise known as Zhōngguó or The Middle Kingdom), with varying clothes, artefacts and antiques from different eras. I loved the beauty of this period, the delicate, detailed art and the elegance in all of the artifacts, from the clothes to the engraved furniture, and even in the detailed warm masks and the beautifully quirky tea-pots!
I won’t say much more, as the pictures below can do most of the talking – but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition, China has always been a country which I’ve been fascinated with and it’s always nice to see things that I’ve read in books come to life in the museums!
I love looking at random, quirky pieces of art from other cultures, and Indian art is one which has always fascinated me, particularly because of the overlaps it has with my own culture. This is a antique, wood sculpture (or perhaps toys, they remind me of puppets in a way) of a scene from history – I’m thinking a meeting between powerful Indian figures and British delegates (I see a top hat on the table!), but it’s likely that I could be wrong!
Even so, I like the earthy, warm colours here, and the quirky styles of these little men – they remind me a little of some of the folk stories I read as a child, and immediately make you feel as if they’re part of a puppet show that have just frozen for a little while, and will start moving again when you look away : )