Sabancı Üniversitesi Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi (Emirgan, İstanbul, Türkiye)
Braziers were vessels in which charcoal was burnt in order to heat a room or food. They mainly existed in warmer countries where inside heating, fireplaces, were not part of the architecture. Typically made of bronze, brass (being a mixture between copper and zinc) or silver, the material was important to hold the heat for a while. In the case of this brazier, it is made of silver, which in its pure state cannot be worked into shape as it would break because of its soft nature. As such, it is often mixed with copper, in various percentages, to give a form and make it stronger.
While its function did not change, a brazier’s shape changed over centuries from culture to culture: it could be just above the ground or like the French neoclassical Athénienne, which were tripod stands with a bowl on top used for various purposes including as a brazier. In the Turkish tradition, a typical brazier included four parts: the tray on the bottom to hold sparks of fire, the base and body (gövde in Turkish), the fire bowl for the charcoal, and the cover on top. The brazier, which is in the collection of the museum, known as the mansion brazier, meant for larger houses, does not have a cover. While not all parts were necessary, this could also be an indication of its making period as the first half of the nineteenth century saw covered stoves replace open braziers. The upper part of this decorative object was covered with glass embedded on the opening of the fire bowl adapting its function over time by turning it into a table.
The main body of the silver object is standing on a larger tray covered by a mirror, echoing the shape and decoration of the top of the brazier. Indeed, the same sequence of flowers ornaments the border of both trays: a larger flower framed on the sides by smaller ones and on the bottom by their leaves creating a secondary frame underneath the bed of flowers. From time to time a flower crosses over to the interior, enhancing the dented form of the round trays.
The lower body of the brazier is covered by identical decoration repeated on four sides. It indicates that whether in a garden or in a room, the artisan who created the silver object meant for it not to be placed in a corner but rather in a central position where his work could be admired from all sides. The iconography is a tribute to Apollo as god of archery, music, the Sun and light: a quiver with arrows is crossing a torch in front of a lyre joined on four sides with a wreath. In front of each lyre, from the larger parts of the brazier, a wreath of sunflowers is hanging like a crown. This flower is often associated with Apollo because of the myth concerning him and the water nymph Clytie. She was in love with him, but he left her for Leucothoe, her sister. As Clytie was jealous, she reported their affair to her father who punished her by burying her alive. As her death did not win Apollo’s affection back, Clytie let herself go for days looking at the Sun, at Apollo’s chariot. On the ninth day, she transformed into a sunflower.
Collection:Dekoratif Eserler Koleksiyonu
Dimensions:110 x 60 cm
Medium:Silver, gilt, mirror
Location:Sabancı Üniversitesi Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi (Emirgan, İstanbul, Türkiye)
Credit:Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum
Dekoratif Eserler Koleksiyonu
Silver, gilt, mirror
Date / Term