Mosaic of a Gypsy Girl

Mosaic of a Gypsy Girl


Plundered 'Gypsy Girl' mosaics back in Turkey after decades in U.S.

Visitors take pictures of the missing pieces of the historic "Gypsy Girl" mosaic on display in an exhibition at their origin in Gaziantep, Turkey, December 8, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas.

GAZIANTEP, Turkey (Reuters) - Missing fragments from one of Turkey’s most striking ancient treasures, the haunting, wide-eyed “Gypsy Girl” mosaic, have returned home more than half a century after they were plundered and smuggled to the United States.

On Saturday, the returned pieces went on display alongside the nearly 2,000-year-old mosaic of the girl, whose piercing gaze and disheveled hair have become a symbol of Turkey’s southeastern city of Gaziantep.

Turkish archaeologists discovered the mosaic 20 years ago during an excavation of the old city of Zeugma, founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals, near the modern city of Gaziantep.

They also realized that several accompanying pieces had already been looted.

Those pieces had been smuggled out of the country in the 1960s and bought by Bowling Green State University in Ohio in the United States, which displayed them until 2012 when their true provenance was established and Turkey asked for their return.

The university initially asked Turkey to buy them back, a request which Ankara rejected, according to Sedat Gulluoglu, Turkey’s tourism ministry attache in the United States.

After more than five years of talks, an agreement was signed for their return. “The university has signed off on a very important and significant cooperation by returning these pieces to our country as goodwill,” Gulluoglu said by email.

He added that Turkey would provide the university with exact replicas of the mosaics to display.

The old city of Zeugma, on the Euphrates river, flourished under Greek and then Roman rule before it was destroyed in war in the 3rd century AD. The 15 square meter (160 square foot)Gypsy Girl mosaic is the most prominent symbol of that history.

On Saturday, the pieces were put on exhibit at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep in a ceremony to celebrate their return, before which a song composed to celebrate the homecoming of the mosaic pieces was played by a harp artist.

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, who lifted a cover to unveil the mosaic as visitors poured in to see the artwork, told Reuters the returned pieces would greatly contribute to tourism in Turkey and Gaziantep.

“It is a very important day for Turkey. A six-year process has been completed and our pieces have returned where they were born,” Ersoy said.

Gaziantep mayor Fatma Sahin said putting the full mosaic back together was a national triumph.

“It returned to Gaziantep, to its nation,” Sahin told Reuters. “The Gypsy Girl has been reunited with her family.”


1. Learn Your Real Name

First off, you’re not a Gypsy, that’s actually a derogatory term. It would be like me going around calling myself a greaseball because I’m Italian. The people most of us think of as Gypsies are actually the Romani or Roma. If you are someone who associates with the Romani and speaks their language your a Romany Rye.If you don’t fit either of these categories, or you’re a Romani who gave up his traditional ways, you’re a Gadjo.You don’t want to be a Gadjo because who wants to be considered impure. More on that later.


Smuggled out

Each mosaic has a fascinating story. For example, archaeologists discovered fragments of the Gypsy Girl mosaic decades ago while excavating the remains of the Zeugma city. Sadly, however, several pieces had already been looted by thieves and smuggled out of Turkey. They found their way to the U.S. and were bought by Bowling Green State University in Ohio, U.SA. Turkey asked for their return in 2012, and after five years of talks, the university returned them as a goodwill gesture thus giving the story a happy ending.

Historians say that Zeugma's ancient art has been scattered around the world. The official archaeological excavations at the site began around the late 1980s where Roman mosaics and inscriptions had been found. However, by then, illegal excavations, looting and smuggling out of many pieces had already happened. This not only resulted in loss of precious treasures but also damaged the remaining mosaics.

The museum complex consists of three units. The main building exhibits the mosaics that have been found at the ancient city of Zeugma. In the second building we find a display of a unique collection of Late Antiquity church mosaics originating from the vicinity of Gaziantep. The third building houses the executive offices and conference rooms. The museum is open now for online viewing as part of the initiative by Turkey and countries around the world to open their museums for free online viewing.


Stunning Mosaics Uncovered in Ancient City of Zeugma

The ancient city of Zeugma, also known as Seleukia-on-the-Euphrates, is located in modern Gaziantep province, where the Euphrates river rounds its furthest bend to the west and begins to flow south into the Syrian desert.

It was founded in 300 BC by Seleucus I Nicator – one of the generals of Alexander the Great – who named the city after himself.

In 64 BC the city was conquered by the Roman Empire and with this shift the name of the city was changed into Zeugma.

Across the Taurus Mountains from Anatolia and across the Euphrates from Mesopotamia, the city was forever between large cultural forces, but never completely part of any one. The population of the city at its peak was about 80,000 inhabitants.

The nine Muses. Image credit: Ankara University.

The city is well known for its architecture, which spans centuries and gives a glimpse into Hellenistic and Roman civilization on the Euphrates frontier.

Zeugma mosaics have long been recognized for their exquisite detail and beauty. One of the most famous is the Gypsy Girl.

This year, the team led by Prof Kutalmis Görkay of Ankara University unearthed three remarkably intact glass mosaics at the site.

Ocean and his sister Tethys. Image credit: Ankara University.

The finds are estimated to be 2,200 years old. The first depicts the nine Muses – the goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts. Muse Calliope is in the center of the mosaic.

The second mosaic depicts Ocean – the divine personification of the sea – and his sister Tethys. The third, smaller in size mosaic, depicts a young man.

According to the team, all mosaics are constructed of colored glass and served as floors of a building that archaeologists have dubbed the House of Muses.


Mosaic of a Gypsy Girl - History

Gaziantep Arkeoloji Müzesi

Dünyanın ikinci büyük mozaik müzesi olan Gaziantep Arkeoloji Müzesi`nde sergilenen Zeugma mozaikleri arasında, Gaziantep'in Nizip ilçesinde, Fırat Nehri kıyısında bulunan Zeugma antik kentinden 1998 yılında çıkarılan ve kazılarda etrafı bulunmadığı için mitolojik öyküsü bilinmeyen, "Çingene Kızı" ismi verilen mozaik, gerçekten çok muhteşem görünüyor.

Çingene Kızı, mitoloji sözlüklerinde yer almayan bir kavram. Başlığı ve alnının kısa olması sebebiyle ilk bulunduğunda "Çingene Kızı" olarak adlandırılmıştır. Saçlarının ikiye ayrılması, gözleri ve burun yapısıyla da bu figürün "Büyük İskender" olduğunu ifade eden birçok arkeoloğun yanı sıra, Yer Tanrısı "Gaia" olduguna dair iddialar da vardır ama başının yanındaki asma filizleri nedeniyle Dionysos'un müridesi "Menad" olduğu düşünülmektedir. Her kim olursa olsun, insanın yüreğine dolan hüzünlü gözleriyle masumiyetin, Zeugma'nın simgesi olmuştur.

Mozaik, müzede cam bir bölme içinde sergileniyor ve hangi yandan bakarsanız bakın gözleri 360 derece etrafına bakabildiğinden o da adeta size dönüp bakıyor.

***
The Gypsy Girl (Menad) Mosaic

This mosaic was found in dining room of the house of Gypsy Girl (Menad). The figure became the symbol of Zeugma because of the mysterious look she had in her eyes. When it could not be identified it got named “Gypsy” because of the women's resemblance with gypsies. But some sources draw attention to the wine in the mosaic and claim that it is Menad .


Mysterious case of the 'Gypsy girl’ mosaic

Missing pieces of famous Roman-era "Gypsy girl&rdquo mosaic are set to be back its original place in Turkey's southeast in the following days.

According to information compiled by Anadolu Agency, pieces of the mosaic were found in the ancient city of Zeugma in Turkey&rsquos Gaziantep province in 1998 when an ancient column, which had fallen down, was lifted.

However, the rest of the mosaic pieces which were not under the column had been found by some people while making unauthorized excavations in 1960s and those parts were smuggled abroad.

Years later, it was found that the mosaics were being exhibited by Bowling Green State University in the U.S., and the university had bought the mosaics for $35,000.

A research conducted by Stephanie Hooper in 2012 revealed that the mosaics were originally from the Turkish ancient city or Zeugma.

Then, a report prepared in the same year by Zeugma excavation team head Prof. Kutalmis Gorkay proved that the mosaic pieces in the U.S. were the stolen parts of "Gypsy girl", and Turkey officially requested the return of them.

After five and a half years of negotiations with the university, Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry and Bowling Green State University signed a protocol in May this year regarding the return of the mosaic pieces.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced on Oct. 31 that the mosaic pieces will be brought to Gaziantep from Chicago on Nov. 26.

The pieces will be exhibit temporarily at a platform in Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep. Later, they will be restored to their original place and will be opened for visitors.


Mysterious case of the 'Gypsy girl’ mosaic

Missing pieces of famous Roman-era "Gypsy girlmosaic are set to be back its original place in Turkey's southeast in the following days.

According to information compiled by Anadolu Agency, pieces of the mosaic were found in the ancient city of Zeugma in Turkey’s Gaziantep province in 1998 when an ancient column, which had fallen down, was lifted.

However, the rest of the mosaic pieces which were not under the column had been found by some people while making unauthorized excavations in 1960s and those parts were smuggled abroad.

Years later, it was found that the mosaics were being exhibited by Bowling Green State University in the U.S., and the university had bought the mosaics for $35,000.

A research conducted by Stephanie Hooper in 2012 revealed that the mosaics were originally from the Turkish ancient city or Zeugma.

Then, a report prepared in the same year by Zeugma excavation team head Prof. Kutalmis Gorkay proved that the mosaic pieces in the U.S. were the stolen parts of "Gypsy girl", and Turkey officially requested the return of them.

After five and a half years of negotiations with the university, Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry and Bowling Green State University signed a protocol in May this year regarding the return of the mosaic pieces.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced on Oct. 31 that the mosaic pieces will be brought to Gaziantep from Chicago on Nov. 26.

The pieces will be exhibit temporarily at a platform in Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep. Later, they will be restored to their original place and will be opened for visitors.


Mosaic of a Gypsy Girl - History

Gaziantep Arkeoloji Müzesi / Gaziantep Museum / Gaziantep / TURKEY

Dünyanın ikinci büyük mozaik müzesi olan Gaziantep Arkeoloji Müzesi`nde sergilenen Zeugma mozaikleri arasında, Gaziantep'in Nizip ilçesinde, Fırat Nehri kıyısında bulunan Zeugma antik kentinden 1998 yılında çıkarılan ve kazılarda etrafı bulunmadığı için mitolojik öyküsü bilinmeyen, "Çingene Kızı" ismi verilen mozaik, gerçekten çok muhteşem görünüyor.

Çingene Kızı, mitoloji sözlüklerinde yer almayan bir kavram. Başlığı ve alnının kısa olması sebebiyle ilk bulunduğunda "Çingene Kızı" olarak adlandırılmıştır. Saçlarının ikiye ayrılması, gözleri ve burun yapısıyla da bu figürün "Büyük İskender" olduğunu ifade eden birçok arkeoloğun yanı sıra, Yer Tanrısı "Gaia" olduguna dair iddialar da vardır ama başının yanındaki asma filizleri nedeniyle Dionysos'un müridesi "Menad" olduğu düşünülmektedir. Her kim olursa olsun, insanın yüreğine dolan hüzünlü gözleriyle masumiyetin, Zeugma'nın simgesi olmuştur.

Mozaik, müzede cam bir bölme içinde sergileniyor ve hangi yandan bakarsanız bakın gözleri 360 derece etrafına bakabildiğinden o da adeta size dönüp bakıyor.

***
The Gypsy Girl (Menad) Mosaic

This mosaic was found in dining room of the house of Gypsy Girl (Menad). The figure became the symbol of Zeugma because of the mysterious look she had in her eyes. When it could not be identified it got named “Gypsy” because of the women's resemblance with gypsies. But some sources draw attention to the wine in the mosaic and claim that it is GAIA the Goddess of the Earth.


A Cultural Experience with Zeugma Mosaic Museum

Located in Gaziantep, Zeugma Mosaic Museum is of great importance in terms of art and ancient history. Invaluable mosaics are exhibited in the Zeugma Mosaic Museum, which also holds the title of being the world's largest mosaic museum. Standing out with the largeness of the museum building, Zeugma Mosaic Museum attracts many foreign tourists to the region every year. Another important feature of Zeugma Mosaic Museum is that it is home to the artifacts unearthed from Zeugma Ancient City, one of the most important archaeological discoveries of our age. This is why this invaluable museum has to be better promoted to the tourists and the annual number of visitors has to be increased.

The Gypsy Girl

The most popular artifact in the museum is the mosaic unearthed during the excavations in the Ancient City of Zeugma in 1998 and called "Gypsy Girl" due to the hair braids and prominent cheekbones. The reason why this mosaic called Gypsy Girl stands out this much is that Gypsy Girl, which has become the symbol of the museum and the city, draws a great deal of attention with her eyes which give the impression like she is watching you wherever you stand.

The Gypsy Girl is exhibited in a special room, and you need to pass through different ways to get to this section. It meets with the visitors in a dark room after passing through a dark labyrinth-like corridor. A special lighting system is used for the Gypsy Girl, which is exhibited separately from other mosaics. This method makes the famous mosaic to get a much more mysterious look and impresses the visitors.

The River God

Zeugma Mosaic Museum is home to artifacts dating back to the Roman period, which include sculptures, columns and fountains. We can say that the artifacts dating back to this period, when art reached its peak, are the key elements of Zeugma Mosaic Museum. Since the region where the museum is located is Mesopotamia, the center of civilization in the past, there are too many historical artifacts in the vicinity. Zeugma Mosaic Museum is one of the most important archaeological museums not only in our country but also in the world through these features.

Pool Mosaics

Some of the artifacts in the Zeugma Mosaic Museum consist of 500,000 pieces. Even the fact that Zeugma Mosaic Museum is home to such artifacts consisting of half a million pieces shows how important it is for global archeology tourism. These unique mosaics in the Zeugma Mosaic Museum reflect the life of that period. On the other hand, seeing that these artifacts, which require so much effort and care, were made centuries ago evokes admiration.

How To Get To Zeugma Mosaic Museum

Being one of the must-visit stops for those who want to visit Antep, Zeugma Mosaic Museum is located in the city center. You can get to the museum by only a half-an-hour journey from the airport. If you prefer to come from the central bus station, you can get to Zeugma Mosaic Museum within a short time by local minibuses and buses. The museum is located in Mithatpasa Neighborhood in the district of Sehitkamil.


Watch the video: Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Gaziantep - Turkey