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Deed with Tughra

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Ottoman dynasty, 1737Istanbulgold, gouache and ink on paper180 x 68 cm

This Ottoman Sultan’s deed is an expressive secular form of Islamic calligraphy. It is crowned with the ornate, triangular sign of the Sultan in power at the time – the Tughra. In this case it is the name of Sultan Mahmud I (1730 – 1754). The lines are tightly written in gold, black and red ink. They end in high upward sweeps, in order to prevent subsequent counterfeiting. Richly decorated documents of convenience such as this or other certificates were usually displayed for representational purposes in official buildings or private residences.