Breaking the Balance
Reinterpreting a Balance Scale

Johannes Vermeer, Terazi Tutan Kadın, yak. 1664

How does a museum collection speak louder? Having been a part various exhibitions at times, the museum objects rest at the storage room, waiting for their future while the past accumulates behind them. They reveal narratives.

Suna & İnan Kıraç Foundation Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection is home to large and small weights and balances. Having been displayed behind the glass, we all have seen that balance before. Once we’ve left the museum door behind, the image of the object lays endlessly beyond the mind. A balance, indeed, is quite a storyteller. It conveys messages on justice, economy, art and harmony.

Johannes Vermeer, Terazi Tutan Kadın, yak. 1664

Johannes Vermeer,Woman Holding a Balance, c. 1664

The Dutch artist of the 17th century, Johannes Vermeer brings together the daily function of a balance with a deeper poetic discourse in his painting “Woman Holding a Balance”. The young woman in the blue jacket with fur trim delicately holds a balance. The balance is at equilibrium and both of the scale-pans are empty. While her left hand rests on the table, the woman’s gaze is fixated upon the balance in her right hand.

A balance with empty scale-pans weights, too. The scene of “Last Judgement” hang on the back wall invites the viewer to a very personal experience. A balance weights the earthly sins on one hand while weighing the virtuous choices of the faithful on the other.

Terazi, Osmanlı Dönemi, 19. yüzyıl

Balance, Ottoman Period, 19th century

A painting or a balance never runs out of things to say: the meaning multiplies at a second gaze. Here, Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection exhibition invites the viewers to take a second look at the objects, to look more closely and to become a part of their narrative!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *