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Ottoman Sultans as Calligraphers (18th &19th C)

Lecture by Dr Bora Keskiner

December 6, 2018
Thursday at 7pm
Free admission but registration required on Eventbrite

Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centre, 10 Maple Street, W1T 5HA, London, UK

During the 18th and 19th centuries many Ottoman sultans practised calligraphy and some of them became masters of this art. This talk will be about selected works by these calligrapher sultans including Mustafa II, Ahmed III, Mustafa III, Mahmud II, Abdülmecid. As the classical Ottoman “warrior sultan” image disappeared in the 17th century, these 18th and 19th-century monarchs tried to strengthen their status with the “calligrapher/omniscient sultan” image which originated from the 15th century Timurid court. During the reigns of these sultans, the Ottoman Empire inevitably turned its face to Europe and calligraphy appears to be the only art that has remained safe from Western influence.

Bora Keskiner completed his PhD thesis “Sultan Ahmed III as a Calligrapher and Patron of Calligraphy” at SOAS, the University of London in 2012. He published scholarly articles on the history of Ottoman calligraphy. Currently, he is working on the catalogue of the Shah Tahmasp Album in the Istanbul University Library, together with Dr Lale Uluç.

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