Eustis Estate


The elaborate central medallion of this felt kufi or taqiyah contains a special symbol. Officials in the Turkish Ottoman Empire used the swirling characters called a ‘tughra’ as a type of signature or official seal on objects, documents, and even buildings.  All tughras include three vertical lines with two concentric loops placed on the left side, but court artists created unique variants for each succession. While the exact sultan to whom this tughra belongs remains unidentified, the symbol was meant to be immediately recognized as a court seal. The end of the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century also spelled the end of this beautiful graphic form.

Decorated tughra of Süleyman the Magnificent (1520). Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art.