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Turkish Blue Tiles
The culture of the Ottoman Empire evolved over several centuries as the ruling administration of the Turks absorbed, adapted and modified the cultures of conquered lands and their peoples. There was a strong influence from the customs and languages of Islamic societies, notably Arabic, while Persian culture had a significant contribution through the heavily Persianized regime of the Seljuq Turks, the Ottomans' predecessors. Throughout its history, the Ottoman Empire had substantial subject populations of Byzantine Greek, Armenian, Jews and Assyrians, who were allowed a certain amount of autonomy under the confessional millet system of Ottoman government, and whose distinctive cultures enriched that of the Ottoman state.

As the early Ottoman Turks drove the Byzantine administration from Anatoliamarker, later pursuing them into Europe, it was perceived as part of the Jihad (struggle) against the Crusaders: the first Ottoman rulers called themselves Gazi, or Warriors. However, as the Ottomans moved further west and the assimilation of the Greek and Balkan populations progressed, the Turkic and Persian-influenced culture of its leaders itself absorbed some of the culture of the conquered peoples. The men of the ruling dynasty, the Osmanli, took wives from various ethnic groups and thus the Sultans themselves were of mixed racial and cultural heritage.

Literature

Poetry

As with many Ottoman Turkish artforms, the poetry produced for the Ottoman court circle had a strong influence from classical Persian traditions; a large number of Persian loanwords entered the literary language, and Persian metres and forms (such as the Ghazal) were used.

By the 19th century and the era of Tanzimat reforms, the influence of Turkish folk literature, until then largely oral, began to appear in Turkish poetry, and there was increasing influence from the literature of Europe; there was a corresponding decline in classical court poetry. Tevfik Fikret, born in 1867, is often considered the founder of modern Turkish poetry.

Prose

Prior to the 19th century, Ottoman prose was exclusively non-fictional, and was much less highly developed than Ottoman poetry, in part because much of it followed the rules of the originally Arabic tradition of rhymed prose (Saj'). Nevertheless, a number of genres - the travelogue, the political treatise and biography - were current.

From the 19th century, the increasing influence of the European novel, and particularly that of the French novel, began to be felt. Şemsettin Sami's Taaşuk-u Tal'at ve Fitnat, widely considered the first Turkish novel, was published in 1872; other notable Ottoman writers of prose were Ahmet Mithat and Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil.

Architecture

Ottoman architecture was a synthesis of Iranian-influenced Seljuk architectural traditions, as seen in the buildings of Konyamarker, Mamluk architecture, and Byzantine architecture; it reached its greatest development in the large public buildings, such as mosques and caravanserais, of the 16th century.

The most significant figure in the field, the 16th century architect and engineer Sinan, was a Muslim convert of Armenian descent, having a background in the Janissaries. His most famous works were the Selimiye Mosquemarker in Edirnemarker and the Suleiman Mosquemarker in Constantinoplemarker. One of his pupils, Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa, designed the early 17th century Blue Mosquemarker, considered the last great building of classical Ottoman architecture.

Decorative arts

Calligraphy



Calligraphy had a prestigious status under the Ottomans, the artform's traditions having been shaped by the work of the great Abbasid calligrapher Yaqub al-Mustasimi of Baghdadmarker, whose influence had spread across the Islamic world - al-Mustasimi himself possibly being of Anatolian origin.

The Diwani script is a cursive and distinctively Ottoman style of Arabic calligraphy developed in the 16th and early 17th centuries. It was invented by Housam Roumi, reaching its greatest development under Süleyman I the Magnificent (1520–66). The highly-decorative script was distinguished by its complexity of line and by the close juxtaposition of the letters within words. Other forms included the flowing, rounded Nashki script, invented by the 10th-century Abbasid calligrapher Ali Muhammad ibn Muqlah, and Ta'liq, based on the Persian Nastalīq style.

Noted Ottoman calligraphers include Seyyid Kasim Gubari, Şeyh Hamdullah, Ahmed Karahisari, and Hafiz Osman.

Miniatures

The Ottoman tradition of painting miniatures, to illustrate manuscripts or used in dedicated albums, was heavily influenced by the Persian artform, though it also included elements of the Byzantine tradition of illumination and painting. A Greek academy of painters, the Nakkashane-i-Rum was established in the Topkapi Palacemarker in the 15th century, while early in the following century a similar Persian academy, the Nakkashane-i-Irani, was added.

Carpet-weaving

The art of carpet weaving was particularly significant in the Ottoman Empire, carpets having an immense importance both as decorative furnishings, rich in religious and other symbolism, and as a practical consideration, as it was customary to remove one's shoes in living quarters. The weaving of such carpets originated in the nomadic cultures of central Asia (carpets being an easily-transportable form of furnishing), and was eventually spread to the settled societies of Anatolia. Turks used carpets, rugs and kilims not just on the floors of a room, but also as a hanging on walls and doorways, where they provided additional insulation. They were also commonly donated to mosques, which often amassed large collections of them.

Hereke carpets were of particularly high status, being made of silk or a combination of silk and cotton, and intricately knotted. Other significant designs included "Palace", "Yörük", Ushak, and Milas or "Türkmen" carpets. "Yörük" and "Türkmen" represented more stylized designs, whereas naturalistic designs were prevalent in "Palace".

Jewellery

The Ottoman Empire was noted for the quality of its gold- and silversmiths, and particularly for the jewelery they produced. Jewellery had particular importance as it was commonly given at weddings, as a gift that could be used as a form of savings. Silver was the most common material used, with gold reserved for more high-status pieces; designs often displayed complex filigree work and incorporated Persian and Byzantine motifs. Developments in design reflected the tastes of the Ottoman court, with Persian Safavid art, for example, becoming an influence after the Ottoman defeat of Ismail I after the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514. In the rural areas of the Empire, jewellery was simpler and often incorporated gold coins (the Ottoman altin), but the designs of Constantinople nevertheless spread throughout Ottoman territory and were reflected even in the metalwork of Egyptmarker and North Africa.

Most jewellers and goldsmiths were Christian Armenians and Jews, but the interest of the Ottomans in the related art of watchmaking resulted in many European goldsmiths, watchmakers and gem engravers moving to Constantinoplemarker, where they worked in the foreigners' quarter, Galatamarker.

Performance

Music

Apart from the music traditions of its constituent peoples, the Ottoman Empire evolved a distinct style of court music, Ottoman classical music. This was a principally vocal form, with instrumental accompaniment, built on makamlar, a set of melodic systems, with a corresponding set of rhythmic patterns called usul.

Another distinctive feature of Ottoman music were the mehterân, the military bands used by the Janissaries and in the retinues of high-ranking officials. These bands were the ancestors of modern military bands, as well as of the brass ensembles popular in traditional Balkan music.

Dance

Dancing was an important element of Ottoman culture, which incorporated the folkloric dancing traditions of many different countries and lands on three continents; from the Balkan peninsula and the Black Seamarker regions to the Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa.

Dancing was also one of the most popular pastimes in the Harem of Topkapı Palacemarker.

The female belly dancers, named Çengi, were mostly from the Roma community. Today, living in Istanbul's Roma neighbourhoods like Sulukule, Kuştepe, Cennet and Kasımpaşa, they still dominate the traditional belly dancing and musical entertainment shows throughout the city's traditional taverns.

There were also male dancers, named Köçek, who took part in the entertainment shows and celebrations, accompanied by circus acrobats, named Cambaz, performing difficult tricks, and other shows which attracted curiosity.

Image:Constantinople settings and traits (1926)- bulgarians dancing.png|Istanbul 1908 BulgariansImage:Constantinople settings and traits (1926)- Epirotes.png|Istanbul 1908 Epirotes or AlbaniansImage:Constantinople settings and traits (1926)- greeks dancing.png|Istanbul 1908 Greeks

Median (open stage show)

Median


Meddah (one person show)



The meddah or story teller played in front of a small group of viewers, such as a coffeehouse audience. The play was generally about a single topic, the meddah playing different characters, and was usually introduced by drawing attention to the moral contained in the story. The meddah would use props such as an umbrella, a handkerchief, or different head wear, to signal a change of character, and was skilled at manipulating his voice and imitating different dialects. There was no time limitation on the shows; a good meddah had the skill to adjust the story depending on interaction with the audience.

Meddahs were generally traveling artists whose route took them from one large city to another, such along the towns of the spice road; the tradition supposedly goes back to Homer's time. The methods of meddahs were the same as the methods of the itinerant storytellers who related Greek epics such as the Iliad and Odyssey, even though the main stories were now Ferhat ile Şirin or Leyla ile Mecnun. The repertoires of the meddahs also included true stories, modified depending on the audience, artist and political situation.

The Istanbul meddahs were known to integrate musical instruments into their stories: this was a main difference between them and the East Anatolian Dengbejin.

Karagöz (shadow play)

The Turkish shadow theatre, also known as Karagöz ("Black-Eyed") after one of its main characters, is descended from the Oriental Shadow theatre. Today, scholars generally consider the technique of a single puppeteer creating voices for a dialogue, narrating a story, and possibly even singing, all while manipulating puppets, to be an Indonesian invention. To this technique, people in the Ottoman Empire added Greek story-telling structures, hence developing an artform unique to Asia Minormarker. There are some who believe that the Turkish shadow theater was influenced by the Roma community, while others claim that there was a Chinesemarker influence, in the days when the Turks were still nomadic tribes.

Sports

Turkish Wrestling is a very old tradition among the Turks.
Yağlı güreş (Oil wrestling)
Cirit (Equestrian javelin throw)
Okçuluk (Turkish archery)
Horoz Dövüşü (Cockfight)


Ottoman Turkish cuisine

Coffee delight at the Harem


The cuisine of Ottoman Turkey can be divided between that of the Ottoman court itself, which was a highly sophisticated and elaborate fusion of many of the culinary traditions found in the Empire, and the regional cuisines of the peasantry and of the Empire's minorities, which were influenced by the produce of their respective areas. Rice, for example, was a staple of high-status cookery (Imperial cooks were hired according to the skill they displayed in cooking it) but would have been regarded as a luxury item through most of Anatolia, where bread was the staple grain food.

Drinks



Food



Image:Ottoman-Empire-Park.png|A park in IstanbulImage:Pera Museum 6.jpg|Boat tour at Göksu CreekImage:Pera Museum 4.jpg|Women and children dancing in the Harem of Topkapı PalacemarkerImage:Pera Museum 10.jpg|A lady from the Ottoman court playing the Def at the Harem


Science and technology

Timeline



References

  1. Foroqhi, S. Subjects of the Sultan: Culture and Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire, I. B. Tauris, 2005, ISBN 1850437602, p. 152
  2. Foroqhi, p.153
  3. Foroqhi, p.108
  4. Newman, A. (ed) Society and Culture in the Early Modern Middle East, BRILL, 2003, ISBN 9004127747, p.177
  5. Göçek, F. East encounters West: France and the Ottoman Empire in the Eighteenth Century, OUP, 1987, ISBN 0195048261, p.106


External links

  • Hatvesanat.com The biggest source on Islamic Calligraphy Art. Hundreds of artists and thousands of works! (mainly )
  • http://www.osmanlimedeniyeti.com Many articles about the Ottoman history and culture including art, culture, literature, economics, architecture
  • KalemGuzeli.net Traditional arts in Ottoman Empire (mainly )



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