About the Collection
The Sakıp Sabancı Museum Archaeological Artifacts Collection consists of twenty-two stone artifacts on display in the museum’s gardens. The majority of the collection is made up of marble column capitals dating to Late Antiquity. The forms and decorative elements of the Ionic, Corinthian, and composite capitals provide insight into the stonemasonry of the period, and various traces on the artifacts also provide significant information regarding their secondary uses. Within the group of column capitals, four composite capitals are thought to date to the nineteenth century and are especially significant as they show how motifs from Antiquity and Late Antiquity were reinterpreted in the Neoclassical period. Another column capital dating to the late antique period, bears traces indicating that it was reworked by nineteenth-century stonemasons. Of the other pieces in the collection, two featuring scenes from Ancient Greek and Roman mythology are especially striking. One is an altar showing the goddess Cybele, and the other is a column drum depicting the war between the giants and the gods of Mount Olympus (the gigantomachy). The latest dated example in the collection belonging to the Middle Ages, is an architrave, often used atop the barriers known as templon or iconostasis that separated the nave from the sanctuary in Byzantine churches. The arched decoration of the architrave, which dates back to the eleventh century, is characteristic of Asia Minor, and it constitutes a special example of the expression of religious symbols in interior architectural decoration.