Encountering the West
Decorative arts
A multitude of exchanges between East and West shaped the decorative arts of the 19th century.
During the first half of the 18th century, and especially during the period of Sultan Ahmad III (1703–30), architecture and decoration at the Ottoman court was influenced by European art. The rococo style, combined with baroque elements, matched Ottoman aesthetics in a unique way and this prevailed for many decades. The 19th century witnessed an increasing interest in the European style in all media and in architecture. Within the expanse of the Ottoman Empire this fashion filtered out to the regions that later formed independent states. In addition, direct contact with Europeans in Arab lands, through expeditions and trade as well as among travellers, had an effect on craftsmanship. Artists, looking to the West for inspiration, did not necessarily faithfully copy what they learned, but fused Western influence with local styles.
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Encountering the West

Decorative arts

Hegira Safar 1259 / AD March 1843

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

This is a copy of the Qur’an decorated with Ottoman and Western elements. It was made by artisans trained in the palace workshops of Istanbul.

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Encountering the East
Encountering the West
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