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Updated: 27 April 2015
Drawing on paper with calligraphy: gives the 'tughra' of Suleyman the Magnificent with a line of divani script written in the sefine (boat) form. Drawn in blue and gold ink on paper.
- Found/Acquired: Turkey
- Height: 65 centimetres (framed)
- Width: 85 centimetres (framed)
Inscription Contentمظفر داْما
Inscription Translation'the one who is always victorious'
Inscription Commentinscription also includes names and titles of Sultan Suleyman
A tughra is an imperial Ottoman monogram and was intended to validate official documents. Having originated in the reign of Sultan Bayazid II (d. 1512), tughras became increasingly ornate during the 16th century, incorporating decorative motifs found in book illumination. They were first adopted on documents but later also coins, seals and other inscriptions. Different theories have been advanced to explain its shape. One romantic suggestion is that it represented the form of a fabulous bird, the 'tughri', the totem of the Oghuz tribe from whom the Ottomans were descended.
Each sultan generally chose the precise form of his 'tughra' on the day of his accession from specimens prepared for him in advance. This magnificent example was made for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. It bears his name, Suleyman Shah, and that of his father, Selim, and the phrase 'the one who is always victorious' (common to all tughras). It was once at the head of a document that no longer survives and it was created using blue and gold inks on paper.
2015 - 16 12 Jun - 10 Jan, San Francisco, Asian Art Museum and Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, 'Pearls on a String' -- PROMISED
2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2010-2011 8 Sep-14 Jan, London, BM, Gallery 90, A History of the World
2004 7 Jan-7 Apr, Kuala Lumpur, Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, 'Mightier than the Sword'
2003 22 Mar-25 May, University of Melbourne, Ian Potter Museum of Art, 'Mightier than the Sword'
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Object reference number: RFM807
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