Ottoman Empire Art

16th century to 19th century

This well-made Ottoman blade has many aspects of significance upon it. There is a bit of floral decor along with the Arabic writing in gold, all made very skillfully. The inscription on the back of the blade is the “Throne Verse”. This verse is very holy and is often used in prayer. The back of the blade also has the incantation “baduh”. The second face of the blade is decorated with the six-pointed star. This star is made of six out of the ninety-nine names of God, “Allah” being at the center.
Silk fabric with metal thread ornamented with floral motifs.
Literature calls early Ottoman carpets “adorned with infinite geometric arabesques” usually in the German painter Hans Holbein the Younger’s paintings Holbein carpets. This carpet is a true rarity, as it is unique in its completeness. Its design gives off a balanced effect.
This is a section of a wall tile with a basic decoration. When repeated, these tiles can cover a whole wall.
Bahā˒ al-Dīn, a revered scholar and a saintly man, is said to have made several miracles in Konya, Turkey. Once, the the sultan ordered him to give a sermon in the cemetery. This sermon was so moving, that it is said that the dead came out of their graves. This miniature is part of a sixteenth-century manuscript account of the life and miracles of the Persian poet and mystic known as Rūmī. Bahā˒ al-Dīn was Rūmī’s father.
In the early 1300s, Chinese porcelain came to the Near East, and was extremely popular. In the beginning of the 16th century, the potters in Iznik, Turkey tried to emulate these ceramics. The grape-and-vine pattern as shown in this dish was the most popular of all designs for over a hundred years.
The “golden age” in the history of Ottoman art and architecture was during the sixteenth century. This time was particularly focused on metalwork. Even several Ottoman sultans were trained goldsmiths! This silver bowl is one excellent example of the elegance of the sixteenth century art. The artist of this bowl was able to develop separate schemes on the inner and outer surfaces, an impressive feat. The medallion in the center was made separately and then added to the bowl, probably by the owner after it was bought.
There lines Arabic upon this ceramic wall tile speak about the pilgrimage to Mecca. First it talks about the importance to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, and then talks about the many holy structures inside it.
This is a map of the islands of Semendrek (today known as Samothraki) and Imroz (today known as Imbros) in the Aegean Sea. It was done by Piri Reis, an Ottoman admiral, geographer, and cartographer.
The young man in this portrait is in front of a dark background wearing a kaftan, a cotton or silk ankle-length garment with long sleeves that is common throughout east of the Mediterranean Sea, of a floral design with a fur collar. His is wearing a large turban which is decorated with gems and chains hanging from it. He is also wearing an earring with a gem on it. This painting is the traditional late 17th century style of portraits. Until 1988, it was part of the Blacque family along with another painting of the same series.
This piece of writing was a berat, a formal authorization granting a privilege or conferring a dignity issued by a sovereign in the Near East (definition from, from the sultan Abdulhamid I for the appointment of the Metropolitan Chaldia Dionysios.
A zarf is a cup-shaped stand used in the East to hold cups that do not have handles, specifically for coffee. The European noblemen and women probably bought these zarfs as souvenirs.
This is object is a handwritten scroll in an expensive silver case. The language is that of Sephardic Jews, meaning Jews that are of Spanish or Portuguese origin.
Maiandros is the Greek name of the Meander, a river in Asia Minor. This word has became to describe endlessly winding ornamental bands. These bands have been known ever since 10,000 BCE, and spread all over Europe and Asia Minor.
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