Sunday, January 25, 2009

Turkish Mirror

Click to enlarge


In the Turkish culture, mirrors were traditionally turned towards the wall when not in use. I've heard several reasons for this custom - I was told by friends during my time in Turkey that this was to avoid even the appearance of praying to graven images, though the Turkish culture website I just googled says the custom arose to discourage vanity. Since the mirrors were back to the wall over time they began to decorate the reverse side, and then that developed into a tradition all its own, with many families displaying collections of three, four, even five different mirrors in a grouping on the wall. Once the storeowner reassured me that they were shellaqued and would never need polishing, I even bought the one you see above as this week's Monochrome Monday offering to display in my own home.

And nope, even eight years later it's still never needed a polishing.

30 comments:

Dina ... UK said...

Makes a lovely wall decoration,
thanks for the information about the tradition....

This Eclectic Life said...

Lovely! In the southern states of the U.S., mirrors got turned to the wall when someone died to prevent their spirit from being trapped (or from trapping others!).
An award awaits you at my house. Go here

"Sunshine" said...

Very interesting. Lovely shot, as well.

Catherine said...

I knew that human representation weren't allowed in Mosque but I didn't realize before that concerned also everyday life. Very interesting post.
Nice illustration for Monochrome too.

Aileni said...

I never heard of this though the Turks I knew when I served in Cyprus would hardly have informed me of the custom.
Nice post - I have learned something.

starnitesky said...

Very interesting, looks good in mono.

Maddy said...

They do that in Ireland when there's a death in the family too, so it must be quite a common issue with different cultural perspectives.
Cheers

Kay said...

Very neat! I saw a whole bunch of old (old as in ancient) mirrors while we were in Tokyo… and they had the same thing with the backs being decorated. I don’t know if they hung them up or not though.

(By the way, I have been gone and then busy and am just now playing catch up but I love the new look for you blog. Very chic!)

Babooshka said...

That was really interesting. I had no idea. Don't you just love blogging.

uncleawang said...

Whatever it is..transform image to mono ..it's look cool.
Have a nice day.

~Just Me Miranda~ said...

Interesting picture. Today I had a really lazy day, I should have turned my mirrors around. lol.

Dora said...

Hmmm...that looks so interesting! And it has a nice design too. :)

Have a fun week.

Terri said...

I really like it! And your new blog layout too!

Robin said...

Dig it...and I think the mirror thing is an amalgram of customs (as most are) "Graven Images" started that one I think! Keifer Sutherland only keeps a mirror in his bathroom for shaving, started that about 20 years ago because he didn't like looking at himself? Autophobia maybe?

Nice pics and Robin, my Robin, we have the EXACT same KitchenAide Mixer! I so love mine, just wish my kitchen was as clean and my Island as pristine!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

What a lovely tradition! This mirror back is stunning!

June said...

How interesting! Thanks for sharing this tidbit...

Carver said...

That's a beautiful turkish mirror.

Mojo said...

Hmm... perhaps I should look into this custom. Especially first thing in the morning when I even scare myself!

I've learned something not just from the post, but from the comments! I live in the Southern US -- born and raised -- and I never heard of turning the mirror to the wall when someone dies.

Cool post and photo and I love the new look! I'd always wondered where you got your title too... it's been a very informative visit!

michael bird said...

Very interesting - love the stories with the photos. Well done on this one.

Daryl said...

Wonderful factoid, interesting monochrome ... and I had no idea shellac keeps silver from tarnishing ..

What a clean kitchen!!!!!!!

Carol Anne said...

absolutely beautiful I think I need to find a turkish mirror. I love this one

Dragonstar said...

That is so beautiful! I'd never heard of that idea, but I think it's a good one. Very good photo, too.

Flea said...

That is very cooL! And how do you do a sticky post?

Robin said...

I just set the date for a few days forward ;-).

Management Consultant said...

Your blog give a lot of new dimension, thanks

moma4faith said...

Very nice, how big is it?

Robin said...

Maybe 10 or 12 inches wide?

vincibene said...

Beautiful picture and mirror and an interesting story.

Janet said...

My favorite side of the mirror :-) And those are gorgeous!

Jennifer/moma4faith said...

For some reason, I was thinking smaller, like more of a compact mirror size. It must be a beautiful piece and get a lot of comments from guests.