Iconography of the gift: Diplomacy and imperial self-fashioning at the Ottoman court

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Abstract

During the sixteenth century, Safavid shahs sent countless gifts to their powerful rivals, the Ottoman sultans. Although these gifts are impossible to identify with certainty today, a group of miniature paintings found in Ottoman şehnāmes (books of kings) depict their ceremonial presentation. Examining the act of giving in these paintings provides a unique opportunity to explore the agency of gifts through their visual representation rather than their materiality. While visualizing specific historical moments, these images distort and amend reality through deliberate visual citation and repetition in order to craft an image of the sultan as king of the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-123
Number of pages27
JournalArt Bulletin
Volume100
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

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