Tughra (Insignia) of Sultan Süleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–66)

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A tughra is a stylized royal seal and signature applied by the Ottoman sultans to every royal edict. Different types were used by the early rulers. Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–66) introduced a standard calligraphic design, starting from right with two to three horizontal lines, drawing a large oval to the left, and ending in the center with intervening letters at the bottom and three vertical undulated axes at the top. Each sultan’s tughra is slightly different, but typically comprises the name of the reigning sultan as well as his father’s name, his title, and the phrase "the eternally victorious." In this example, administrative function and artistry have created a masterpiece of Ottoman calligraphy, where the designed surface is filled with ornaments such as the scrolling floral vines in gold and blue.

Tughra (Insignia) of Sultan Süleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–66), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

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