Salastina

Was Salastina actually Gül-Bahar ("Rose of Spring"), the favored consort of a 16th-century Ottoman Sultan?

Salastina (1600s – ?) is reputed to have been an “arch-patroness” of the Arts; an adventurous woman who went to extraordinary lengths to cultivate and promote a flowering in the creative fields — especially of music. Accounts of almost supernatural powers of inspiration, surprising geographic and chronologic references, and the general haze of legend surrounding Salastina make it difficult to separate myth from reality in our research. Real or fictional, we find such an exemplar to be a worthy muse for our society. 

… or was Salastina Isabel del Valle, muse of Argentina's most legendary musician?

Intriguingly, recent scholarship has suggested that Salastina may not have been one individual, but rather a title that was secretly awarded to those of appropriate disposition and means over time. To read about Maia and Kevin’s research in Istanbul, click here.

We will share the findings of a second research trip to Buenos Aires shortly.

Select descriptions of Salastina from around the world, and throughout history:

“…owe the sum of my being to my Muse Absolute, Salastina. And yet she shrouds herself in layers of mystery and anonymity, provoking me to paroxysms of uncertainty and doubt. Does she exist? Do I dedicate the fruits of my soul, such as they are, to an idea, a fantasy? Then I gird my loins and cry, ‘So be it!’ There are worse fates.”
~ H. Hume, 17th century English composer

“L. has confided to me that he is confounded by the secretive Salastina. She avoids fame and honor like the plague….She says to him, ‘The artist should feel like Existence itself is beneficently showering upon them…therefore, let them be unaware of the source of treasure. What is treasure but a handful of metal, when they hold in their hands the very secrets of Life?’ Cut her, and she bleeds masterpieces and melodies. Her talent to inspire is a god-given gift, but Art is her god, so let it be called Art-given. He says that at one moment she fully embodies all the ideals of the Eternal Feminine, inspiring him to unimaginable feats of artistic prowess; the next moment she is earthy and bawdy enough to make a salty sailor blush! And yet she also inspires humor, that wellspring of clarity, and perhaps the greatest gift one can give in this sad world.”
~ Found in the fragment of notes for an unknown biography (circa 17th century), translated from Italian. (Note potentially unreliable reference: the author, ever prone to exaggeration and invention, may be seeking to enhance his own reputation with this hyperbolic account.)

You, who have exiled yourself from the Source
Run swiftly from this place, for your shell will crumble
One like Salastina approaches
Whose very glance is like an enchanted rain
That falling on earth, turns mud into men,
And men into lovers and poets.”

~ attr. to an anonymous Urdu poet, 18th century India, translated