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Le vieil homme et les tombes.Références ancestrales et mémoire lignagère dans un cimetière de famille ottoman*

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The article addresses Grand Vizier Halil Hamid Pasha (1736-1785) and a number of descendants’ gravestones located in the historical Karacaahmet cemetery in Istanbul. It is based on the study of documents and photographs that relate to a renovation project conducted in the 1970s by Celal Bükey (1895-1981), both a descendant of Halil Hamid Pasha and the administrator of the Pious Foundation instituted by the Grand Vizier in 1783 and supervised by the family ever since. The article aims to analyze the extent to which this project responds to and is an expression of a growing interest in imperial museography and funerary epigraphy in Modern Turkey in the last decades. This article also sheds light on the personal research pursued by an old man searching with nostalgia for his Ottoman past. Beyond nostalgia, Celal Bükey has at least two other reasons for restoring the epigraphic gallery of his Ottoman ancestors: one is related to his desire to reshape the prestige of his family’s legendary past and to contribute to the articulation of a dynastic consciousness that spans the Ottoman period and is extended thereafter under the Republican Turkish regime; the other is an attempt to create an opportunity for a renewed dialogue between the living and the dead — a contemporary expression of a once vivid Islamic funerary culture previously cultivated by a self-perceived indivisible community of Ottoman believers.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Nice — Sophia Antipolis


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