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Tughra of Suleyman the Magnificent
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Тhis calligraphic device is known as a tughra and was the official monogram or signature of the Ottoman sultans. It was developed during the fourteenth century on documents, from which its use spread to seals and coins. The tughra was designed at the beginning of a new sultan's reign by the court calligrapher. It is thought to represent the fabulous bird, the tughri, the totem of the Oghuz tribe from whom the Ottomans were descended.

During the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries the Ottomans dominated southeast Europe and the Aegean. The sultans' close identification with their Islamic faith led, after 1517, to their being also entitled the Caliph of Islam. The empire reached its peak under Suleyman I, the Magnificent (reigned 1520-66). He ruled an area extending as far as Persia in the east and Austria in the west. His system of laws regulating land tenure earned him the title of Lawgiver and he was also a great patron of the arts.

Tughra of Suleyman the Magnificent

From Turkey, AD 1520-66
Ht 34.2 cm
L. 61 cm

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