Chapter Two: Art and Empire—The Ottoman Court

Tile with floral and cloud-band design

Tile with floral and cloud-band design. About 1578. Turkey, Iznik

After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

  • identify the visual qualities and functions of objects produced under Ottoman patronage
  • understand the role of the Ottoman court workshops in generating a unified dynastic visual language, seen across a range of media, that spread throughout the empire

At its height, the Ottoman empire (1299–1923) stretched across three continents and ruled over a linguistically, religiously, ethnically, and culturally diverse population.

Osman Gazi (reigned 1299–1324)—known in Italy as Ottomano, hence the English term Ottoman—was a Turkish tribal leader and the founder of the Ottoman dynasty.

Two different but distinctly Ottoman styles emerged in the court workshop.

Read in-depth information about featured works of art related to this unit.

A list of resources for additional reading, with grade levels indicated

A list of sources used to compile the information in this unit

Unit Five: Chapter Two Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan: Art and Empire—
The Ottoman Court

Students will be able to recognize ways a tughra functioned as a symbol of power and authority within a culturally diverse and geographically expansive empire.

Tughra (official signature) of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (reigned 1520–66)

The lesson plan related to Art and Empire—The Ottoman Court features a sixteenth-century Tughra from Turkey.