September 21, 2012 through March 10, 2013
Ottoman art reflects the wealth, abundance, and influence of an empire which spanned seven centuries and, at its height, three continents. The Sultan’s Garden chronicles how stylized tulips, carnations, hyacinths, honeysuckles, roses, and rosebuds came to embellish nearly all media produced by the Ottoman court beginning in the mid-16th century. These instantly recognizable elements became the brand of the empire, and synonymous with its power. Incredibly, the development of this design identity can be attributed to a single artist, Kara Memi, working in the royal arts workshop of Istanbul. The Sultan’s Garden unveils the influence of Ottoman floral style and traces its continuing impact through the textile arts—some of the most luxurious and technically complex productions of the empire.