Vedat Nedim Tör Museum
Introducing Vedat Nedim Tör
An exceptional Turkish intellectual and art lover, Vedat Nedim Tör directed Yapı Kredi’s culture and arts activities from the very beginning, from the founding of the bank through to his retirement in 1977. By the time Tör passed away in 1985, Yapı Kredi had pioneered several fields such as large-scale competitions, research and compilation of folk art, and numerous publications, all under his direction.
He was a playwright, one of the founders of "Kargo" magazine, and the initiator of countless national and international competitions, exhibitions and events such as the ‘Local Produce Week’, the ‘Industry and Agriculture Congress’ and the ‘Radio Announcers’ Course’. Tör published the "Sanat Dünyamız" magazine when he served as Yapı Kredi’s arts consultant. He made a point of collecting examples of handicrafts threatened with extinction or were in decline.
Established in 1992, the Yapı Kredi Vedat Nedim Tör Museum named in tribute to this great man possesses a vast collection of coins, medals, embroideries, fabrics, "tombak" -gilded metalware, prayer beads, clocks and shadow puppets. Yapı Kredi’s ethnographic and numismatic collections date back to the 1950s. The coin collection alone comprises 55,000 pieces, and is amongst the richest in the world in chronological continuity. It serves as a priceless resource for many local and foreign researchers into archaeology, history and arts.
The culture and arts projects hosted by the Yapı Kredi Vedat Nedim Tör Museum have reverberated throughout the land, and at times, well beyond the borders. A strong network of cooperation with official bodies, private museums, collectors and universities has enabled the museum to host four major exhibitions a year as well as publish scholarly catalogues. Consultation and expertise services are offered to researchers and collectors. Entrance is free.
The Coin Collection
The 55,000-piece collection covering a vast swathe of time, starting with 6th century bc coins all the way through to the present is the core of the museum. The collection was prompted in the 1950s by a desire to prevent the loss of this wealth by random dispersal throughout the world, well before the emergence of an appreciation of ‘cultural assets’. Acquired from the most authoritative and meticulous numismatists and antique dealers in the land, the coin collection has become the most quoted resource for experts around the globe.
The Islamic collection focuses on Umayyad, Abbasid, Mameluke, Ilkhanate, Seljuk and Ottoman coins. The Umayyad coin in the rare items section minted in ah 77/ad 696 by Caliph Abd-al-Malik for his radical reform of Islamic coinage is one of only two known examples in the world. The collection also has a sizeable section on Greek city-states, Roman- and Byzantine Empire coins. In addition to the coins of the Republic of Turkey, the modern section displays coins of many modern European, Asian, American and African countries. Another key section displays Ottoman medals and decorations.
Everyday objects such as embroideries, Turkish fabrics, gilded metalware and prayer beads command a significant position in the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum. Acquisition of these artefacts began in the 1950s and continued uninterrupted to form the extensive collection the museum has today. The embroidery collection displaying the finest of Turkish handicrafts, for instance, comprises of 520 pieces, and 190 pieces woven in small Turkish workshops and factories take pride of place in the section on 18th and 19th century fabrics.
Nomadic kilims and carpetbags, socks and woven fabrics, needle-lace and crocheted pouches and fabrics complete the collection, with a section dedicated to fifty extremely rare tombak -gilded metalware- items.
The prayer beads in the 101-piece collection are made of many organic and inorganic materials: sweet gum tree resin, rosewood, ivory, coral, amber, gold, emeralds, and pearls.
Another museum collection is Karagöz shadow puppets compiled by Ragıp Tuğtekin (1892-1973), one of the most fascinating shadow puppeteers of the early 20th century. Handwritten and -made by the master himself, descriptions and bound caskets for the figures accompany the puppets. Two priceless manuscripts on shadow puppet technique and plays that complete this collection are preserved at the Sermet Çifter Library.
Special Atatürk Section
Amongst the most valuable items in the museum are a number of documents and personal items belonging to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Letters he wrote to his mother and sister, his watch, and a musical cigarette box -a gift from the King of Jordan- are priceless in sentimental value alone.