Tughra
Overview
 
A tughra is a calligraphic
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

 monogram
Monogram
A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a...

, seal
Seal (device)
A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

 or signature
Signature
A signature is a handwritten depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a signature is a signatory. Similar to a handwritten signature, a signature work describes the work as readily identifying...

 of an Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 sultan that was affixed to all official documents and correspondence. It was also carved on his seal and stamped on the coins minted during his reign. Very elaborate decorated versions were created for important documents that were also works of art in the tradition of Ottoman illumination
Ottoman illumination
Turkish or Ottoman illumination covers non-figurative painted or drawn decorative art in books or on sheets in muraqqa or albums, as opposed to the figurative images of the Ottoman miniature. In Turkish it is called “tezhip”, an Arabic word which means “ornamenting with gold”...

, such as the example of Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

 in the gallery below.

The tughra was designed at the beginning of the sultan's reign and drawn by the court calligrapher or nişancı
Nisanci
Nisanci was a high post in Ottoman bureaucracy . The word nisancı literally means court calligrapher or sealer and the original duty of the nisancı was to seal royal precepts.-History:...

on written documents.
Encyclopedia
A tughra is a calligraphic
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

 monogram
Monogram
A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a...

, seal
Seal (device)
A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

 or signature
Signature
A signature is a handwritten depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a signature is a signatory. Similar to a handwritten signature, a signature work describes the work as readily identifying...

 of an Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 sultan that was affixed to all official documents and correspondence. It was also carved on his seal and stamped on the coins minted during his reign. Very elaborate decorated versions were created for important documents that were also works of art in the tradition of Ottoman illumination
Ottoman illumination
Turkish or Ottoman illumination covers non-figurative painted or drawn decorative art in books or on sheets in muraqqa or albums, as opposed to the figurative images of the Ottoman miniature. In Turkish it is called “tezhip”, an Arabic word which means “ornamenting with gold”...

, such as the example of Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

 in the gallery below.

The tughra was designed at the beginning of the sultan's reign and drawn by the court calligrapher or nişancı
Nisanci
Nisanci was a high post in Ottoman bureaucracy . The word nisancı literally means court calligrapher or sealer and the original duty of the nisancı was to seal royal precepts.-History:...

on written documents. The first tughra belonged to Orhan I
Orhan I
Orhan I or Orhan Bey was the second bey of the nascent Ottoman Empire from 1326 to 1359...

 (1284-1359), the second ruler of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and it evolved until it reached the classical form in the tughra of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

 (1494-1566).

Tughras served a purpose similar to the cartouche
Cartouche
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an ellipse with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name, coming into use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu, replacing the earlier serekh...

 in ancient Egypt or the Royal Cypher
Royal Cypher
In modern heraldry, a royal cypher is a monogram-like device of a country's reigning sovereign, typically consisting of the initials of the monarch's name and title, sometimes interwoven and often surmounted by a crown. In the case where such a cypher is used by an emperor or empress, it is called...

 of British monarchs. Every Ottoman sultan had his own individual tughra.

Visual elements of a tughra

The tughra has a characteristic form, two loops on the left side, three vertical lines in the middle, stacked writing on the bottom and two extensions to the right. Each of these elements has a specific meaning, and together they make up the form that is easily recognizable as a tughra.

The name of the sultan is written out in the bottom section, called a sere. Depending on the period, this name can be as simple as Orhan
Orhan I
Orhan I or Orhan Bey was the second bey of the nascent Ottoman Empire from 1326 to 1359...

, son of Osman
Osman I
Osman I or Othman I or El-Gazi Sultan Osman Ghazi, or Osman Bey or I. Osman, Osman Gazi Han), nicknamed "Kara" for his courage, was the leader of the Ottoman Turks, and the founder of the dynasty that established and ruled the Ottoman Empire...

 in the first tughra in 1326. In later periods honorifics and prayers are also added to the name of the tughra holder and his father.

The loops to the left of the tughra are called beyze, from Arabic meaning egg. Some interpretations of tughra design claim that the beyzes are supposed to symbolize the two seas the sultans held sway over: the outer larger loop signifying the Mediterranean and the inner, smaller loop signifying the Black Sea.

The vertical lines on the top of the tughra are called tuğ, or flagstaff. The three tugs signify independence. The S-shaped lines crossing the tugs are called zülfe and they, together with the tops of the tugs that also look to the right, signify that the winds blow from the east to the west, the traditional movement of the Ottomans.

The lines to the right of the tughra are called hançer and signify a sword, symbol of power and might.

Uses of tughra outside of the Ottoman context

Although the tughra is largely identified with the Ottoman Sultans, they have also sometimes been used in other Turkic states, such as the Khanate of Kazan
Khanate of Kazan
The Khanate of Kazan was a medieval Tatar state which occupied the territory of former Volga Bulgaria between 1438 and 1552. Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. The khanate covered contemporary Tatarstan, Mari El,...

. Later, tughras were used among the Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 of Imperial Russia.

The Mughal Emperors are also known to have used calligraphic symbols, alongside the Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, the Mughal "Tughra" was circular in shape with three points at its tip, beside the calligraphic signature of the emperor.

Modern interpretations of tughras

There are modern artists of calligraphy
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

 that use the characteristic tughra form today. Examples are the tughras of Russian prime minister and ex-president Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 and Akihito
Akihito
is the current , the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989.-Name:In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to . In...

, the Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

.

See also

  • Ottoman Empire
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

  • Ottoman Dynasty
    Ottoman Dynasty
    The Ottoman Dynasty ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1299 to 1922, beginning with Osman I , though the dynasty was not proclaimed until Orhan Bey declared himself sultan...

  • List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire
  • Line of succession to the Ottoman throne
    Line of succession to the Ottoman throne
    The Ottoman Dynasty, which completely excluded females from the throne, had unusual succession practices compared to other monarchies. Those succession practices changed over time, and ultimately the sultanate was abolished in 1922.-Succession practices:...

  • Ottoman Emperors family tree
  • Ottoman family tree
    Ottoman family tree
    -Bibliography:...

     (more detailed)
  • List of Valide Sultans
  • Islamic calligraphy
    Islamic calligraphy
    Islamic calligraphy, colloquially known as Perso-Arabic calligraphy, is the artistic practice of handwriting, or calligraphy, and by extension, of bookmaking, in the lands sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage. This art form is based on the Arabic script, which for a long time was used by all...

  • Gallipoli Star
  • Culture of the Ottoman Empire
    Culture of the Ottoman Empire
    The culture of the Ottoman Empire evolved over several centuries as the ruling administration of the Turks absorbed, adapted and modified the cultures of conquered lands and their peoples...

  • Postage stamps and postal history of Turkey
  • Kaō
    Kao
    Kao may refer to:* Kao, a Japanese term for face., a stylized signature or a mark used in place of a signature in China and Japan* Kao , a crater on the Moon.* Kaō , a Japanese era name* Kao , a film by Michiyo Okusu...

    , stylised calligraphic signatures used in Japan
  • Totem
    Totem
    A totem is a stipulated ancestor of a group of people, such as a family, clan, group, lineage, or tribe.Totems support larger groups than the individual person. In kinship and descent, if the apical ancestor of a clan is nonhuman, it is called a totem...

  • Tamga

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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