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TURKS: A Journey of 1000 Years, 600-1600

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Published on Sep 15, 2013

TURKS: A Journey of 1000 Years, 600-1600
FILIZ CAGMAN, NAZAN OLCER Book Number: 73104 Product format: Hardback

The Royal Academy "Turks" exhibition in 2005 took many art-lovers by surprise, with its rich displays of painting, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, manuscripts and armour. Turkey is a key state in east European politics and culture, and this huge and sumptuous book accompanying the exhibition opens up the country's impressive heritage. Its gateway position on the Silk Road led to a change from Buddhism to Islam in the 10th century, with an accompanying transformation of the visual arts. Seljuk influence introduced animal motifs, many of them expressive of shamanistic beliefs, and the art of tiling as a decorative architectural feature is also associated with the Iranian Seljuks. A major named artist is the 14th century Muhammad Siyal Qalam, whose darkly pigmented demons, priests and dervishes are easily recognisable with their bulging eyes and contorted postures. When the Timurid and Turkmen dynasties replaced the Mongols, they developed a new level of detail in manuscript work and calligraphy. Elaborate war masks, a helmet, mail-coat and other armour from Anatolia and Uzbekistan reflect the centrality of warfare. The art of the Ottoman court is richly jewelled, although Islamic doctrine frowned on ostentation, and the architectural revolution of Suleyman I the Magnificent was dominated by the master-builder Sinan, whose mosques embodied practicality, dignity and grandeur. A portrait of Suleyman by the Venetian School of Titian indicates his importance throughout the Mediterranean, and his kaftans are unbelievably beautiful. 392pp, notes, bibliography, 370 colour reproductions. Royal Academy of Arts first edition, 2005.
Published price: £50
Bibliophile price: £30.00

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