CM: The present picture is part of Les Costumes Populaires de la Turquie, an album of photographs by the famous photographer Pascal Sebah, on the occasion of the universal exposition in Viena in 1873. The album was entitled "Ouvrage publié sous le patronage de la Commission impériale ottomane pour l'Exposition universelle de Vienne" and was authored in French by Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910) and Victor Marie de Launay (b. 1922/3). Sebah's photographs represent the costumes of the different regions and ethnic or religious groups of the Ottoman Empire.
After the death of the great Sufi mystic Mevlana Jeladdin Rumi (1207-l273), his son Sultan Veled founded the Sufi Order of Mevlevi Dervishes based on his father's teachings. This order became known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes. The ritual ceremony of the Mevlevi Dervishes seen still today was performed in tekkes (lodges) since that time until the banning of tekke in 1925. The ceremony symbolizes divine love and the mystical ecstasy of the intoxicating journey into union with divinity, a state of absolute, mystical maturity and sobriety. The Mevlevi Dervishes feel the thrill of encountering the sublime and have the pleasure of removing the hindering veils as they enter the presence of God. Thus this ceremony and whirling dance called 'sema', full of mystical symbolism and precisely set movements is designed to awaken contemplation on the love of God.
[Megakles Rogakos 12/2004]
ÖZENDES, ENGIN From Sébah & Joaillier to Foto Sabah: Orientalism in Photography 1999 Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul