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Minsky's reliquary and so on



I was pleased to read in R. Minsky's explanatory note that I came close
with my remarks on his reliquary-binding to the intent and inspirational
mover behind this art work. He must be a generous person (all real
artists are!) but he didn't need to explain the mental process of his
work, actually: the piece speaks for itself. It's not derivative, on the
contrary, it is airy and beautiful, by that I mean the initial idea (in
Plato's sense) is conveyed through forms he chose quite clearly the way
he felt. At least, this is how I see it. Personally, the 'horror vacui'
kind of decoration is not my cup of tea.
Perhaps one day I shall send Minsky a collection of interlace drawings
of my father Şevket Peya who was an illuminator in Istanbul. No doubt,
these patterns are a challenge to the eye, to the hand, to the mind..,
one can not but appreciate those binder-masters of the past who achieved
peaks of refinement in this type of cover decoration. Years ago I saw a
french interpretation 'entrelac' in the Selçuk style (somewhat enlarged
interlace predating Ottoman-Turkish ones) on the covers of a modern
poetry book executed by a French binder. I don't remember his name but
over a bright blue leather surface, those precise white lines going over
and under, across.. pheew! stuck with me for ever.

When it comes to cultural destruction in Afghanistan, including breaking
the heads of the great Buddha statues in Bamiyan, I am appalled just
like millions of people who carry a head over their shoulders. Jake
Benson pointed out to the children who suffer and die because of abuse,
lack of food in the city of Herat. The same city of Herat,the hub-hub of
the art bookbinding in the 15th c.(see Timur and the Princely Vision,
exh.catalogue by Thomas W.Lentz and Glenn D.Lowry,1989)! Those samples
dating from the period are simply breathtaking. The covers at times
would take six months or a year to be completed, by working
painstainkingly to build the decoration with tiny little tools..
It is wrong to inflict pain, to humiliate, break further the hearts of
defenceless people. In an old documentary I heard the psychologist Karl
Jung saying (his textual words): "To think that the past does not have a
bearing in our every day life, is a disease". What can I say? Some
people in Afghanistan might try to destroy the past and chop the heads
of peaceful Buddha statues, but they surely display their own particular
disease of mindlessness. And they call themselves 'Students' (=Taliban)!
Students, to my modest mind, are open to learning why things are the way
they are and in the process come to understand self and its limitations
in this transitory world!
                             Rezan


--
Rezan Peya Gökçen,
rgokcen@uoguelph.ca
http://ugalumni.uoguelph.ca/~rgokcen/Turkish_Bookarts

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