Ottoman By Design: Branding an Empire

The fortieth annual Textile Museum Fall Symposium explored themes raised in the exhibition; The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art. Scholars and curators unveiled a spectacular period in the development of the arts of the Ottoman court, with particular attention to the floral style which emerged in the mid-sixteenth century and its impact on the Turkish culture since then. The Sultan’s Garden explored how the Ottoman Empire embraced this new aesthetic to represent the court at home and abroad. The Ottoman court’s ability to adopt a single style parallels a practice prevalent in today’s commerce and politics: the concept of “branding” an entity to achieve instant recognition and loyalty. Speakers included: Walter B. Denny, keynote speaker, co-curator for The Sultan’s Garden and professor of art history, adjunct professor of Middle Eastern studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Amanda Phillips, fellow, Institute for Iranian Studies, University of St. Andrews, Scotland; Jon Thompson, keynote speaker, former May Beattie Fellow in carpet studies, University of Oxford, Oxford, England; Warren T. Woodfin, Kallinikeion assistant professor of Byzantine art, Queens College, department of art, the City University of New York.