Izmir’s Arkas Art Center, a private museum housed in the building of Izmir’s Honorary French Consulate, displays the internationally-renowned collection of coins and historical objects of Izmir businessman Muharrem Kayhan.
There is a smallish woman dressed in a cloak draped across her right shoulder, sitting in a massive chair. The fact that she has her hands resting on her thighs and her feet in a footstool, as well as the elaborate pleats in her clothing, indicate that she is a sacred person or holds a sacred office. She seems to be intentionally mutilated: the head is missing and the hands have been partially torn off.
The statue is one of the most interesting items that make up the “Testimonies of the Anatolian Antiquity,” a collection of 300 historical objects and 500 coins brought together in Izmir’s Arkas Art Center. The collection is part of approximately 2,000 coins and 1,315 historical objects belonging to Izmir-born businessman Muharrem Kayhan. The “Seated Woman” is believed to be from the archaic period in Miletus and Yenikoy, made around 540 B.C. According to Jean-Luc Measo, the curator of the exhibition, it is one of the statues that decorated the sacred way from Miletus to the Temple of Apollo at Didyma.
The statue was an anniversary gift from Kayhan’s wife, Berna. Other items, such as coins, terracotta, bronze, marble and glass objects, are the result of his passion, his slow and deliberate acquisition both in Turkey and abroad since the mid-1980s. The display also includes 45 coins from the collection of his brother, Hilmi.