The signatures of last Ottoman Calligraphy artists; Necmettin Okyay, Haci Nuri Korman of Besiktas, Macit Ayral and Ismail Hakki Altunbezer were present among the artworks lost in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University... While it was a rumour or an urban legend that the calligraphy artworks of the last Ottoman epoch calligraphers were lost/unfound, the Aksiyon Magazin, brought up the subject to the agenda of art society in its issue of November 2002. In the article signed by Hasim Soylemez, on the copy of the journal dated 18 November 2002, it was reported about the artworks lost in MSU "100 calligraphy artworks of calligraphy masters such as Necmettin Okyay, Nur Korman of Besiktas, Macit Ayral, Ismail Hakki Altunbezer were lost/stolen from the center of the university, rectorate building depot. Despite it passed more than 3 years, nothing is known about the sequel of the artworks. University’s that scandal, has also become a tangled puzzle more than a scandal. Everyone is talking all at once. What one mentioned didn’t accord to what another said. Simple questions still remain unanswered such as: "Have the artworks been stolen or casted away? How many artworks of calligraphers were there as part of the university?". The most interesting part of it is that the ‘lost calligraphies’ were used as an substantial material during the rector elections. 153 pieces of calligraphy were being preserved in a steel safe, under cover of Prof. Dr. Kerim Silivri who occupied as the vice rector once. Upon the warnings of calligrapher Prof. Dr. Ugur Derman, Prof. Dr. Ilhami Turan, the Chief of Traditional Turkish Art Department of that time, has suggested the idea of preserving the artworks in a corporate place after ornomentation. This project was carried into execution at once. Since 1992, every student to graduate from the Ornomention Art Major Department were given the thesis to ornament a calligraphy. As there were not too many students graduating that department each year, only 53 calligraphy artwork could have been taken under preservation after ornamentation at the end of 7 years. If the pieces weren’t lost, this tradition would carry on until the ornamentation of the last artwork, yet the the expectation didn’t realize. The calligraphies which were preserved are on display in State Art And Sculpture Museum. But until the ‘lost of calligraphy collection’, the pieces weren’t registered, upon classification and photo. Consequently, it will be very hard to
determine 100 lost pieces or tell an exact truth about the belonging to the collection in case they were seen somewhere.".
CALLIGRAPHY PLAQUES WERE FOUND IN THE BASE OF MSGSU
Years have passed since the article of Soylemez. Getting lost while being kept locked in the cupboard inside the chamber of deceased Kerim Silivrili, the pieces were found among the rubbishes upon entering the base of Mimar Sinan University Findikli Campus during the earthquake strengthening studies. The delightful calligraphy writings lost 14 years before were waiting the base of Sanayi-i Nefise School! The signatures of last masters of Ottoman calligraphy art; Necmettin Okyay, Haci Nuri Korman of Besiktas, Macit Ayral and Ismail Hakki Altunbezer were present in 96 pieces. The National Education Minister of that time Hasan Ali Yucel, buys a piece from the calligraphy masters every month who become older age pensioners through a benevolent prosecution. The piece costs are determined equivalent to one month of working price according to the era’s living standards. By means of the prosecution applied until 1960, the pieces belonging to aforementioned calligraphers are given to MSGSU. The pieces kept in the cupboard inside the chamber of Prof. Dr. Kerim Silivrili, sink without a trace with the reorganizations carried out in the chamber upon his retirement. Prelector Kerim who can’t carry this responsibility, becomes paralyzed and leads a life requiring care until his death in 2007. We chatted with the artists about the importance of the calligraphy artworks in the sense of our calligraphy history which were discovered in the previous days.
WRITINGS OF OUR MASTERS ARE PROPERTY OF OUR NATION
The Lord of Calligraphers Hasan Celebi At this time our masters recieved some kind of a salary by lettering a writing in a month. Later on, we heard that the pieces got lost. We regretted. These plaques didn’t appear for a long while. First of all, I want to express my contention upon the findings of these artworks which belong to my mentors. These are properties of our nation. Our masters have created these pieces under very heavy conditions. It is a good incident that the eye-straining works of our masters have been found after so many times passed. New generations will find the opportunity to write a writing in due form, patterning the newly found pieces.
THE PIECES MUST BE TRUSTED TO PLACES WHERE THEIR VALUE WILL BE KNOWN
Prof. Dr. Avni Morgul (Calligrapher) Bogazici University Academic
The lost of pieces in a university is an extremely thought-provoking case. It is the sign of how indifferent our education establishments which must adopt the artworks trusted to them, that the artworks belonging to our ancestors got lost somehow. If their value won’t be known, the artworks must be given to places where their value is known such as; Culture Ministry; the Foundation Calligraphy Artworks Museum or Islamic Artworks Museum. I would like to see the artworks as well. The pieces which were found must be displayed opening to visits.
THE PIECES MUST BE PUBLISHED AS ALBUMS
Asst. Prof. Dr. Suleyman Berk (Calligrapher), Yalova University Turkish Islamic Arts History Department Head, The first news about the abovementioned writings were published with the headline "Big mistake in Mimar Sinan” in November 2002 Aksiyon journal by Hasim Soylemez. The MSU Rector the epoch, hadn’t given any statement maybe by the effect of the conjuncture... Lecturers of the School of Calligraphers whose retirement times came couldn’t retire as they weren’t civil servants. For a moment, pensioner calligraphy masters were being paid salary in return of writing. Once I researched these writings in the archives of State Fine Arts Academy. I reached some of their photos. Couldn’t find the trace of a few. Until that time, neither lost ones nor other calligraphy artworks were registered to inventory. Other calligraphies were registered upon that sinister incident... The artworks of last era calligraphers which serves as a bridge between Ottoman and Republican Turkey, were very important in the point of our calligraphy history. Because these calligraphers were pupils of Sir Muhsinzade Abdullah, Sir Sami, Sir Hulusi; Kamil Akdik. Calligraphy is learned from the master by the system of exercise... The examine of anterior masters’ pieces is as important as exercise. As far as we see from the photos, these pieces were protected duly. The pieces must be opened to visits and published as an album.
CALLIGRAPHY ARTS MUST BE ORNOMANTED BY EXPERT SQUADS
Asst. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Hakki Ertan (Marbling Artist) Batman University Faculty of Science and Letters Sociology Department Head
''Greetings to Nun and "Kalem”
I wanted to repay with greetings to such a beautiful news in so annoying and stressful days. My God granted us with the pieces exercised during the first era of Republican Turkey of these select values inheriting from the latest epoch of Ottoman. I would like to express that I was happy like kids upon this news, while lost hope of their fates. Our master and elder brother Ugur Derman’s detections relieved us far better. The display after the necessary transactions of calligraphies as soon as possible, which belonged to Master Necmettin Okyay, Haci Nuri Korman of Besiktas, Macit Ayral and Ismail Hakkı Altunbezer whom we know beautiful writing samples better than each other in Celi Sulus, Talik ve Divani writings, would make everybody happy foremost the art lovers. My humble hope and expectation is that, these pieces should be displayed continuously in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts Faculty or Calligraphy Museum upon ornamentation by an expert squad. Esteeming the necessary value, it is an obligation for us to present these precious productions to next generations for adopting our history and culture. I thank Allah as we don’t have to visit historical artifact hunter colonist states museums to see these pieces.
PROF. UGUR DERMAN’S EFFORTS ARE ESSENTIAL IN FINDING THE PIECES
Sami Tokgoz (Collector)
Certain writings have been felt regretful about by calligraphy lovers. The findings of these writings even though accidentally, made all the members of the community happy. These rare pieces which were found, are entrusted to history by our master who serves as a brigde between our past and future Hezarfen Necmettin Okyay Master, Nuri Efendi Master of Besiktas, Ismail Hakki Altunbezer Master, Macid Ayral Master and Halim Efendi Master. These artworks have been the means for us to remember with gratitude the responsible individuals of the era who showed appreciation in gathering these pieces. Fakir, I have always thought for years when I saw the writings of those masters "If this writing, is one of those lost ones?”. I tender my deep joy of finding these pieces which closed a dark era and opened a bright future on behalf of our calligraphy, to all our prelectors with all of my being, who contributed to it, especially I express my gratitude towards Prof. Ugur Derman.
KERIM SILIVRILI IS A CHARITABLE PERSON
Muhammed Mag (Calligraphy and Ornamentation artist)
Who make self-sacrifice? He is the one who has an ideal soul, believing that the ideal and absolute beauties have a metaphysical meaning. Our masters, whose artworks were found, used to be honorable individuals, behaving devotedly in all respects. Deceased Kerim Silivrili, was a charitable person as far as we learned from sources and our elders, in the cupboard inside his chamber the pieces of masters had lost. The coming of pieces into light is an awarding of the Almighty of the sincere studies. It is a reward to the sincere individuals living today by Allah who preserved the service carried out sincerely. Kerim Silivrili Master is aware of that responsibility as well and he caught the spiritual love of art which we feel the upmost lack today in the art communion. Thus our own arts reached up to us without pollution. The eyes of our ageless masters were close to external world. In other words, the eyes, the hearts, the individuals writing the letters were opened through inner world not exterior world. Let’s give the last word to Kusteri Master… As the light of my fate procures in the curtains of bright Look what figures appear in the curtain of avoidance To the men of feeling for comprehension Sheikh Kusteri preached. The sight of description on the curtains of light... If there were no curtains before the universe, No one could see that the decoration of the creature on the curtain. Who is the designer meditate And see all the dreams on the curtain of world
OUR MASTERS WON’T TURN OVER IN THEIR GRAVE
Ismet Gulnihal (Calligrapher)
It wasn’t an understandable circumstance that the pieces of masters would lose from a university which raises calligraphy, ornamentation, marbling, miniature craft... Our biggest relief is that the pieces were found without too much wear… From now on our masters would relieve in their graves. Won’t turn over in their grave.