Anonymous: Tughra of Sultan Süleiman the Magnificent (1555–60)

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA)

A piece of calligraphy made by unknown 16th century Ottoman artists. This type of calligraphy is known as a 'tughra' - a calligraphic monogram of a sultan that was affixed to all official documents and correspondence to guarantee its authenticity. The tughra is a very complex piece which contains the name of the reigning sultan, his father's name, his title, and the phrase "the eternally victorious." This one measures 60x45cm and is from the Ottoman sultan Suleiman I 'the Magnificent' (reign 1520-1566) and reads "Suleyman Shah Ibn Selim Shah Han Al-Muzaffer Daima" (= Suleiman, king, son of Selim Khan, Han victorious forever"). As the tughra was very complex, it was produced by several artists who each would do their own part of the tughra: cobalt & gold blue lines with flowerbeds of lotus and pomegranate, tulips, roses and hyacinths. Calligraphy from 1555-1560.

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