September 26, 2012

Eyüp, Istanbul. June, 2007

I’ve written here before about my fascination with cemeteries. Everywhere I go -- Istanbul to Cuba, Paris to Mexico to New Orleans -- I wind up in a graveyard. Here’s one I forgot about until I recently came across this photo. In the holiest of Istanbul’s neighborhoods, this simple plot is jam-packed with memorials. And because Islamic art eschews any sort of representation of the natural (or supernatural) world (never in mosques, sometimes in tapestries or memorials), there are no realistic bas-reliefs of flowers, no angels. Instead, beautiful calligraphy, suggestive decorations (fantasies on shells, feathers) and elaborate geometric designs more than suffice.

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