Looking Widely, Looking Closely: Ottoman Silk Flags as Objects of Propaganda

Historians of Islamic Art Third Biennial Symposium: Looking Widely, Looking Closely

Recorded October 18–20, 2012

Part Twenty-six of Twenty-Six

Barbara Karl, Curator of Textiles and Carpets, MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna

In the history of wars of conquest, flags and banners have been treated as bearers of prestige and media for propaganda ever since Antiquity. In the army, flags manifested the rank of the person whose tent they adorned, or the division that bore them at its head. They served furthermore as communicators within the army. The meaning of flags changed according to context: at the moment of conquest they came from being media of organisation and identification within the army to becoming the symbol of dominance and occupation.

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