TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Why are the flowers so prevalent in these designs?
Author  :  Daniel Deschuyteneer
Date  :  06-09-2000 on 08:17 a.m.
daniel.d@infonie.be Dear all, In his Salon introduction, citing Zimmerman, R. John asked why the flowers are so prevalent in these designs Nevber Gürsu (pages 60-61) says that the naturalistic flower motifs which were employed in various pattern in Turkish decorative art from the middle of the 16th century onwards arose from the Turkish love of flowers. The Ottoman palace formed a complex in which gardens and architecture were intimately involved. The colorful display of flowers in the palace gardens must have formed a source of inspiration for the court artists. Flowers in the naturalistic style are generally represented in the colour, configuration and in the form which they are to be found in nature. Here are pictures showing naturalistic flower composition in wall tiles from the Topkapi Saray Museum. And here is a closeup A naturalistic flower composition employed especially in ogival medallions and ogival systems constitutes one of the forms most frequently encountered in fabrics. This style was applied to a wide variety of Ottoman products such as fabrics, ceramics, tiles. Some fabrics with ogival patterns and naturalistic flowers are already illustrated in this Salon. These were arranged on a ground in staggered rows in accordance with the principle of infinity. According to N. Gürsu, the ogival medallion pattern made its first appearance in the wall-tile designs in the Rustem Pasha Mosque, which was completed in 1560 and is not to be found in Ottoman fabrics before the second quarter of the 16th century. This ogival pattern may have been imported from the arts of the Mamelukes in Egypt. It influenced first of all the designs employed in Italian silk fabrics, and subsequently, those employed in Ottoman. The ogival medallion pattern is essentially a rather monotonous design but combined with the inner naturalistic patterns it is fascinating. Here are closeups from ogival medallion in in wall tiles from the Topkapi Saray Museum Thanks, Daniel

Subject  :  RE:Why are the flowers so prevalent in these designs?
Author  :  R. John Howe
Date  :  06-10-2000 on 08:44 a.m.
Dear folks - The Ghereh article (Issue 18, Winter 1999-99) that Daniel has drawn attention to in the cintamani thread in this salon may provide another indication about why flower designs are so frequent in Ottoman textiles. This short article quotes Walter Denny as saying "floral designs had no particular gender connotations among the Ottomans, and were used extensively in masculine court costume. It is not uncommon to see formal dynastic portraits of Sultans holding a single flower." In other words while John Wayne would not be caught dead in a flowered dress, that was not a problem for the often war-like Ottoman Sultans. Regards, R. John Howe

Subject  :  RE:Why are the flowers so prevalent in these designs?
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  06-10-2000 on 10:57 a.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear People, I doubt that there is a culture on the planet in which flowers are not important iconographic elements. They are the most colorful items in the environment, have obvious relationships to fertility, are "reborn" annually, and some even turn into edibles. I don't think it's remarkable that they are so prominent in Ottoman textiles. I think it would be remarkable if they were absent from some large corpus of artistic work. Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:Why are the flowers so prevalent in these designs?
Author  :  Patrick Weiler
Date  :  06-10-2000 on 11:11 a.m.
jpweil00@gte.net We may indulge in rug-mania, but in the 1630's, Tulip Mania struck Northern Europe. Fortunes were invested and lost in tulip bulbs. The trade was linked with Turkey. I suspect that tulip bulbs could have been smuggled inside Turkish Carpets, which were then discarded to remain to this day in small garden out-buildings. Patrick Weiler

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