Welcome to the collections’ blog of the Museum Centre of Turku! The blog’s background image shows how objects were displayed in room 84 of Turku Castle, back when the museum was still young. Against the backdrop of this black-and-white photo from 1909, this blog will tackle a number of colourful themes. Col-lection Cuckoos! will address current topics and events through collection objects. It will start off with up-dates on the project ‘A Thousand and One Interpretations on Collection Objects’.
Stories of Objects Part 4: Identities, statuses and heritages / 身份、地位与继承 / 身份、地位與繼承
Clothing may signify adulthood, nationality, or
status, wealth, or whether one is married. Traditional outfits or national
costumes may be important visible displays of identity. They can also connect
the wearer to their ancestry or community.
On the other hand, identities are created as
individuals. Personal experiences and achievements may be sources of
empowerment. Various memorabilia or utilitarian objects may serve as mementos
of these experiences.
A three-year-old Kurdish boy’s outfit is made up of a
top, trousers, cloth belt, vest made of camel’s wool, and kalash shoes as seen
in the next image. The costume is similar to that of adult men’s, and it is
worn by Kurdish people in Iran and Iraq. They differ slightly from one another
in different regions. Originally the outfit has been worn by shepherds, and the
wide shoulder extensions of the warm vest served to intimidate and make the
wearer look bigger. Today the outfit is also sometimes worn in cities but
without the woolen vest.
shoes are part of a three-year-old Kurdish boy’s outfit. The shoes are
comfortable and very durable. Men have worn them also during war as they are
neither too hot nor cold, and they are good for the back.
Women may make kalash shoes by hand. According to the
informant, the soles are made of leather, wood and sheep’s intestine. Narrow
strips of wood from a walnut tree are glued together in layers with pieces of
leather and left to dry under a weight for several days. When the sole is
finished, the rest of the shoe is crocheted out of thread.
The ribbon of this Vietnamese women’s hat can be
changed according to the colour of the rest of the outfit. In the countryside
people wear it on the rice fields, and high school girls wear it together with
their school uniform. It shields from both rain and the sun. The hat is made by
hand from individually fixed plant leaves. The thinner and lighter the hat is,
the more valuable it is. Looking at the hat against light, patterns can be
distinguished on the inside, revealing its place of manufacture. This hat
depicts a famous pagoda, and it has been made in northern Vietnam.
A bunch of
keys may look like an everyday object, but to me its ten parts are of great
In addition to keys, the keyring contains various
keychains and USB memory sticks. The owner has saved her schoolwork and a
number of other important files on them. Each keychain reminds her of some kind
of an achievement, such as for taking part in conferences. Some of the
keychains have been received as gifts from friends and serve as something to
remember them by. The most important keychain is the one with the Albanian flag
and an image of the national hero Gjergj Kastirot Skenderbeu. To its owner, the
keychain signifies being proud of her Albanian roots despite having encountered
relatives had to leave their properties and their land, and they still chose to
take this piece of dinnerware with them because it was part of their culture,
their refinement and their society. I find that striking.
This bowl made out of milk glass is decorated with
ornaments such as dragons and seashells. It used to belong to the present
owner’s great-grandmother, and it is currently in Greece. It was used at tea or
coffee time as a dish for serving jam that had large pieces of fruit in it. Her
great-grandmother’s family originally came from Smyrna, now part of coastal
Turkey. They were part of a wealthy Greek community. In 1922 Smyrna was
destroyed and all of its inhabitants had to leave for Greece. Her family
suffered from poverty and had to move constantly before finding a place to
settle down. The bowl travelled with them. At some point is has cracked but it
had been glued back together.
This stamp is meant for signing Chinese calligraphy
paintings, and it belongs to a German student. She worked as a volunteer at a
Taiwanese school, teaching English. For their classes, Taiwanese students had
to come up with English names for themselves. Therefore, she wished to adopt a
Chinese name. This was surprisingly difficult, and in the end her students came
up with the name for her. It was partially based on her surname, but the name
also means ‘bright’ and the ‘first sunlight in the morning’.
In Taiwan the owner of the stamp had the opportunity
to learn Chinese calligraphy – an art form which she had admired for a long
time. The stamp bears her Chinese name, and it was given to her by a teacher
she was working with at the time.
The owner of these earrings belongs to a family of
gold merchants. They have manufactured jewellery for many generations. Their
family is known for their jewellery across Iraq.
koufiyye scarf belongs to my brother, and it is from Palestine. I have not been
to Palestine myself, but my grandfather has told me a lot of stories about his
To its owner, the scarf is a symbol of her
grandfather’s heritage and Palestinian roots. People have identified themselves
as Palestinians by wearing them during war, and elderly men still often wear
koufiyye scarves. They have become iconic pieces of clothing as the former
president Jasser Arafat was often seen wearing one. The pattern on the scarf
has been utilised also in other clothing, even hotpants.
Every girl dreams of wearing saree once she reaches
the age of eighteen. Wearing a saree means different things to different
people. It is fashion for some, tradition for others. I associate it with my
mother and her beliefs. It reminds me of my culture even if I am living seven
oceans away from my home country.
is a traditional Indian outfit for women and it is still worn today. It
measures about 8 yards in length, and it is draped onto the wearer in different
ways in different parts India.Sarees
come in various colours and fabrics. A newly married woman wears a red saree.
White, on the other hand, is a colour for mourning.