The Flowered Shield Topkapi Palace in Istanbul – Chapter 1,
In 1966 an exhibition called Turkey’s Art Treasury was held in Ameri-ca. A shield from the period of Sultan Suleyman the Law Giver was taken. to this exhibition from Topkapi Museum. The shield is 65 cm. wide and shaped like a round tray. So that it would be light it was woven out of fine willow branches like weaving a basket, and then decorated with flower motifs such as tulips and carnations using silk thread. It is very beautiful.
Among the 282 valuable Turkish works of art on exhibit the one which drew most interest was this decorated shield. They could not understand why a shield should have been decorated with flowers in bright colors. and what most visitors visualized when they thought of a shield was something made of iron or steel. What was the point of a shield made of woven willow branches and decorated with silk embroidered patterns? At first, the newspapers wrote: “The Turks faced their enemies with flowers and willow branches in battle. This refinement of theirs is astonishing.” The headline in another newspaper was very interesting: “The Turks besieged Vienna with flowers”, then they proceeded to express their admiration for the flowered shield. An illustrated catalog for the exhibition had a picture of the shield on the front cover, and postcards depicting the shield were sold. The shield was the centerpiece of the exhibition.
In fact, it is because foreigners are not well acquainted with the Turks and Turkish art that they find it surprising that a shield should be decorated and if you visit the section of Topkapi Palace where the old weapons are exhibited you will find yourself in an art museum. Decorated shields, carved bows, and arrows, pistols inlaid with gold and silver, beautiful swords, daggers decorated with precious stones, spears, maces, golden armor…
You will continue to find more details about The Flowered Shield Topkapi Palace in Istanbul – Chapter 2.