All the items in the Baghdasarian-Melkissetian collection belonged to Lena Baghdasarian-Melkissetian’s grandmother, Lioni Nalbantian (born Patanian) as part of her dowry. She was married in Ayntab to Simon Nalbantian who was a farrier. They immigrated from Ayntab to Aleppo in the beginning of the 20th century (before the Genocide) and later, in 1972, they moved to Lebanon.
The collection is currently in the possession of Lena Baghdasarian-Melkissetian in Lebanon.
The collection includes:
- A black robe from Ayntab emboidered in the Urfa-style.
- A red nightgown from Ayntab.
- Golden thread embroidered pillowcase from Ayntab.
- A bath set, including a water bowl, a bucket and a soap dish. These are the works of Avedis Kalemkerian, who was a famous silversmith in Ayntab. The items carry the silversmith’s initials.
This soap dish from Ayntab is part of a bath set every woman would normally own. Besides serving as a soap dish, it would also be used to carry the comb and other small items to be taken to the bath. Master silversmith Avedis Kalemkerian's initials can be seen above the lock.
When going to the bath, this small bucket was used in order to carry a special kind of mud to the bath, which would be used instead of shampoo for cleaning hair. Master silversmith Avedis Kalemkerian's initials can be seen on the bucket.
This open front black robe was part of Lioni Nalbantian's (born Patanian) dowry. It is made of silk. The embroidery depicting flowers on the front and a huge collage of birds and flowers on the back side, is said to be inspired by the Urfa style of embroidery.
The collection also includes a bible (Armenian written in Turkish letters) published in 1913, which belonged to Khatchadour Hovagimian. Khatchadour was Lena Baghdasarian-Melkissetian’s mother-in-law’s father, who was born in Ayntab. The Hovagimian family also immigrated to Aleppo and later passed to Lebanon in the 1960’s.
The writing on the cover of this Bible and the whole Bible is in Turkish written in Armenian letters, the handwritten title reads: Kitab-ı mukaddes (Holy Book), Istanbol, 1913.