The triple-dot motif on the Virgin Mary’s dress has Ottoman roots. From the book ‘Impressions of Ottoman Culture in Europe: 1453–1699’ by Nurhan Atasoy and Lale Uluç. Image, via Newsweek.
Nurhan Atasoy’s new book, Impressions of Ottoman Culture in Europe: 1453–1699, looks absolutely wonderful. The gigantic tome, which took Atasoy six years, and a lifetime of research and travel, to complete, delves into the ways Turkish art and culture influenced the West. Melik Kaylan, one of my favorite writers from my editing days at Forbes, reviews the book for the current issue of Newsweek International. He writes a bit on how Europeans interpreted, or outright copied, Turkish decoration and dress:
The czars of Russia used Turkish-made velvet robes as court gifts or gifts to churches where the priests usually wore Ottoman “cloth of gold” cloaks. Coaches were lined with velvets; patriarch thrones and royal tables covered with silks; from Poland to Thrace embroidered handkerchiefs served as gifts—all made in Turkey or copied from Turkey. A French hussar commented in 1664 that “the Hungarians dress in almost exactly the same way as Turks, only they do not wear turbans.” Everywhere, royal garments displayed Ottoman patterns. Carpets too were ever underfoot or in the background for paintings of kings and coronations or lying-in-state scenarios. Protestant churches loved carpet décor because they tilted against icons. In short, Turkish taste furnished the visual theater of elevated European life for several centuries.