Cairo exhibit revists Ottoman era

Tourists in Egypt’s capital Cairo are taking a trip back in time to the historical Ottoman era.

An exhibition at Egypt’s Manial Palace and Museum dubbed ‘The Feather of the Head’ is highlighting Ottoman fashion and lifestyle using portraits and fashion pieces used during the reign.

More than 100 portraits are on display portraying the empire’s lifestyle and fashion painted by Flemish-French artist Jean Baptiste Vanmour during the years 1699-1737.

“I consider this collection to be very important. I t is considered to be a real treasure and part of the belongings of the Mohamed Aly museum and I honestly believe we should shed more light on these portraits,” said the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Amin.

Given the ardency of cultural development and growth during the Ottoman Empire’s heyday, it’s no surprise that certain elements of its history continue to inspire artists, chefs, and designers to this day.

“This shows us more about the society, its most important facets, the denominations, the craft, the religion, the royal palace and all the jobs inside, as well as the importance of women in Turkish society. I would like to tell you that large parts of this collection serve as the origin of French fashion houses, as a result they opened in France and they made some of the most famous fashion houses in France,” said Walaa Eldeen Badawy, the head of the museum.

Turkish soap operas and historical dramas are popular throughout the Middle East and some visitors say the exhibit brings that understanding to a new level.

This is what one of the visitors said:

“Yes the series do show some stuff but the portraits are much better and are very clear. I personally love the clothing as well during that era. If I could go back I would really love to have lived during that period.”

The Ottoman era covers 600 years and collapsed when it joined the losing side in World War One.

The exhibition is part of a continuous effort by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities to revive heritage located in Egyptian museums.

It will end on October 28.