Marib Antiquities in the Ottoman Yearbook of Yemen from 1880-81: Archaeological Artifacts Sent from Yemen to Istanbul During Ismail Hakkı Pasha’s GovernorshipHüseyin Gürsel Bilmiş
The circular sent to the provinces in 1840 pertaining to identifying the asar-ı atika [artifacts] in the Ottoman lands and ordering the valuable ones to be delivered to Istanbul was the basis of the attempt to protect and record ancient artifacts. Ottoman yearbooks (salname) are the most important works containing data about the public works the empire carried out in the provinces. These works show how administrators had tried to identify and gather the ancient artifacts in their regions. The Ottoman yearbook for Yemeni Province dated 1880-1881 has an exceptional place among the yearbooks containing rarely seen information and visuals on archaeological artifacts. This study brings to light the first data on the collection of asar-ı atika in Yemen that are included in this yearbook under the heading of Marib Antiques, alongside drawings of the works. The study mainly revolves around the contents in the Marib Antiques section, which include the artifacts the Yemen Governor İsmail Hakkı Pasha had collected from the region in the example of the Sana and Marib regions, and provides simple descriptions of the features of the artifacts, archival documents about the transfer of artifacts from Yemen to Istanbul, and archival documents about the first determinations the Müze-i Hümayun [Imperial Museum] Administrative Director Kadri Bey and the translator Mortmann made regarding these artifacts. The subject matter is compelling due to some of the mentioned artifacts being found in the Collection of Ancient Orient Artifacts at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
1880-81 Tarihli Yemen Salnamesinde Marib Antikaları: İsmail Hakkı Paşa’nın Valiliği Döneminde Yemen’den İstanbul’a Gönderilen Arkeolojik EserlerHüseyin Gürsel Bilmiş
1840 yılında eyaletlere gönderilen ve Osmanlı topraklarındaki “asar-ı atika”nın tespiti ile kıymetli olanlarının İstanbul’a ulaştırılması emrini içeren bir genelge, eski eserleri koruma ve kayıt altına alma girişiminin temelidir. Devletin vilayetlerde yürütülen kamu işlerine ait verilerini içeren en önemli eserler, yıllıklardır. Salname adı verilen bu eserlerde, idarecilerin bulundukları bölgelerdeki eski eserleri tespit etmeye ve bunları toplamaya çalıştıkları görülmektedir. Arkeolojik eserlere ilişkin bilgi ve görsellerin nadir görüldüğü salnameler arasında 1880-1881 tarihli Yemen Vilayeti Salnamesi müstesna bir yere sahiptir. Çalışmada Yemen özelinde “asar-ı atika” toplanmasına ait ilk verilerin, bu salnamede “Marib Antikaları” başlığı altında eser görselleri ile birlikte yer aldığı tespit edilmiştir. Çalışmanın ana eksenini, Sana ile Marib bölgeleri örneğinde Yemen Valisi İsmail Hakkı Paşa tarafından bölgeden toplanan eserler, eser özelliklerinin yer aldığı ve makalede sadeleştirilerek verilen “Marib Antikaları” bölümü içeriği, eserlerin Yemen’den İstanbul’a gönderilmesi hakkındaki arşiv belgeleri ile Müze-i Hümayun İdari Müdürü Kadri Bey ve Mütercim Mortmann’ın bu eserler üzerinde yaptıkları ilk tespitleri içeren arşiv belgeleri verileri oluşturmaktadır. Bahsedilen eserlerin bazılarının bugün İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi Eski Şark Eserleri Koleksiyonunda bulunuyor olması konuyu daha da ilgi çekici kılmaktadır.
The Himyarites were an Arab dynasty that ruled one of the most powerful pre-Islamic kingdoms during two separate periods between 115 BC and 525 BC in South Arabia and Yemen and had housed what are known as the Marib Antiques. This region had developed a vibrant economy along the Roman-Byzantine and Sino-Indian trade routes and was open to interacting with different cultures. The artifacts from this region, some of which are currently in the Museum of Ancient Oriental Works, part of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, are from the Himyar period and are examples of the art that had emerged as a result of these interactions. Drawings of these artifacts are also included in the Ottoman yearbook for Yemen dating from 1298 AH.
The Ottoman Empire sent a circular to its Provinces in 1840 that involved identifying asar-ı atika [artifacts] in Ottoman lands and ordered the valuable ones to be delivered to Istanbul. This circular formed the basis of the Empire’s attempt to protect and record ancient artifacts. While permits had been granted more shadily in the initial stages of the Müze-i Hümayun’s [Imperial Museum] establishment, excavation permits started being granted to European archeology authorities, researchers, and archaeologists in a more controlled manner during time of Osman Hamdi Bey. At the same time, practices were initiated to appoint an officer to represent the state at excavation sites, with specific regulations being passed that placed these and similar arrangements on preserving unearthed artifacts and preventing them from being taken abroad. However, Philip Anton Dethier and Osman Hamdi Bey’s time as administrators of the Imperial Museum saw an acceleration in the artifacts that had been unearthed as a result of the archaeological studies carried out in the Ottoman geography being transferred to the museum, even from areas far from the capital.
The Ottoman yearbooks (salname) are the most important works containing data about the public works the empire carried out in its provinces. The Ottoman yearbooks showed how administrators had tried to identify and collect the ancient artifacts in their regions. The Ottoman yearbook of Yemen Province from 1880-1881 has an exceptional place among the yearbooks that have information about and depictions of rarely seen archaeological artifacts. This Ottoman yearbook of Yemen Province is considered an important resource that can serve to exemplify the operational process of transferring artifacts from the Ottoman borders in the Yemen region to the capital in the 1880s. This yearbook includes both drawings of the artifacts and a brief history of the region under the title of Marib Antiquities, which refers to the period of the advanced Himyar civilization in the region, as well as a list of the artifacts İsmail Hakkı Pasha had acquired from this region and their characteristics. This section of the Ottoman yearbook states that the artifacts obtained from the San'a region at that time have Himyar inscriptions, statues, coins, and small stone artifacts similar to seals and that many similar artifacts remained obtainable from this region, with the author of the yearbook emphasizing the archaeological wealth of this region. In short, this Ottoman yearbook of Yemen is important among other yearbooks issued during that period as a rare example containing data on the asar-ı atika drawings, with some of the works observed in this yearbook still able to be seen in the Museum of Ancient Oriental Works.
This study examines the asar-ı atika that had been sent to the Imperial Museum during the administrations of Ahmet Eyüp Pasha and İsmail Hakkı Pasha, in particular those artifacts that came from Yemen’s Sana and Marib regions. Although no details have yet been encountered about the contents of the artifacts that Ahmet Eyüp Pasha had had sent to the capital in 1874, the yearbook reveals some of the information about the artifacts İsmail Hakkı Pasha had sent to Istanbul during his governorship and states how these administrators had collected the ancient artifacts, some of which had been obtained by being purchased. The study mainly revolves around the contents of the section on Marib Antiques, which pertains to the sample of artifacts Yemen Governor İsmail Hakkı Pasha had collected from the San'a and Marib regions, and presents simplified descriptions of the artifacts’ features, archival documents about the transfer of artifacts from Yemen to Istanbul, and the archival documents that contain the first determinations the Imperial Museum’s Administrative Director Kadri Bey and the translator Mortmann made regarding these artifacts.