Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection

Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection is comprised of almost ten thousand objects dating from prehistory to those used in present day Anatolia.

Anatolian region has always been playing a significant role among the merchants as a result of its strong connection to Mesopotamia. In the early second millennium BC with the flourishment of a dozen city-states in central Anatolia, commercial activities gained momentum in the region. Located on the northeast part of Kayseri today, Kültepe served as the point of contact between Assyria and the rest of central Anatolia. The earliest weights from the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection feature the commercial activities of this very era. Cylindrical hematite weights as well as the Babylonian weights in the shape of a stylized duck are among the finest examples.

Comprising a significant percentage of the collection, the city-state weights of the Classical era and the steelyard weights with depictions featuring busts of gods and goddesses under the rule of Roman Empire in Anatolia shed light on the socio-political perception and the justice system of their time. Throughout the following centuries the Anatolian culture of weights and measures witnessed a dual weighting system of the Byzantine Empire based on commercial and coin weights as well as the Anatolian Seljuk’s system of the silver-based dirham. Coexistence of such various weighting systems maintained until the expansion of the Ottoman State from the 14th century onwards.

Formed by Suna and İnan Kıraç as early as the 1980s, the collection provides a rich selection of the material culture of the various civilizations existed in Anatolia. The open-storage located at the centre of the exhibition floor invites visitors to perceive the collection with an alternative way of seeing besides its chronological structure.

Being home to objects used for measuring weight, length, and volume in every field, from land measurement to commerce, architecture to jewellery making, shipping to pharmacy, the collection aims to look at the rich material culture of Anatolia from an historical point of view.

For detailed information about our collections, please take a look at our digitalized publications!