07 July 2010

Snail cream and other curios from Turkey

The slime of land snails has long attracted attention as a potential panacea for a variety of illnesses as well as to counter the unwanted side effects old age. This sign I saw on a pharmacy window in Istanbul a few weeks ago announces the arrival of "snail cream", which was touted undoubtedly for rejuvenating one's skin.

Here are a couple other curiosities I spotted on Turkish streets or stores. This one, from Izmir, is advertising "hoddogs" for only 1.5 Turkish Liras.

In Turkey it's unusual for bookstores to have science or natural history sections and popular or serious books on the rich fauna and flora of the country are almost unheard of. It was, therefore, rather surprising to spot this tome on the insects of Surinam displayed prominently in an Istanbul bookstore.

Hopefully, similar books of more local interest will follow suit.


Christopher Taylor said...

I did a major double-take when I saw the title of that book. A bit of googling reveals that a reprinting has been issued of Merian's influential 1705 book.


Henk Mienis e-mailed this comment:

"The find of The Book on Surinam Insects in Turkey is not so strange as it looks. The "Taschen" company in Germany is well-known for its lavishly illustrated books in many fields. They are also involved with the republication of classic zoological and botanical masterpieces. One of them is the Insects of Suriname by Maria Sibylla Merian.
In the same series excellent reproductions have been published of the classical conchological books authored by Dezallier d'Argenville (for only Euro 29.99) and Albertus Seba (for Euro 150.00). The latter seems expensive however if you look at its size then you can understand that you get several kilograms of well executed reproductions of the original plates and text followed by a modern interpretation. All bookshops (worldwide) dealing with "Taschen"-books are also offering these beautiful reproduction although often they have only a single book in stock. At least of the book by d'Argenville there is also a much smaller, abridged (plates only) "pocket edition" available for a few Euro's."