Posted in Culture

Carpets and Cultures

(The Carpet Merchant, by Osman Hamdi Bey)

This picture really made me laugh (in a quiet, museum-like manner, obviously!) when I came across it at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin this week!

Osman Hamdi Bey depicts so well the moment two cultures collide.  The sheer foreign-ness of the other party leads to not curiosity and communication, but to this “freeze frame” moment of watching the others as if on television.

Brilliantly captured!  I wonder what happens next?  Will the little girl break the ice?  Will one of them pluck up the courage and start to interact?  Or will the wall remain, with maybe a carpet sold but the two worlds never really meeting?

I would love to know what the servant on the left is thinking.  At least I assume he is a local man, who is a servant to the foreign family.  He could maybe help bridge the gap, but his role probably makes that impossible.

So many ways this could go!


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