Sinem Casale: The Iconography of the Gift: Diplomacy and Imperial Self-Fashioning at the Ottoman Court

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.


Sinem Casale is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, where she specializes in Islamic art and architecture. She is currently a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, working on a monograph on diplomatic gift-exchange between the Ottoman and Safavid courts in the early modern period.

15 May 2017, 11:00am

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz

Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze


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