V&A Style in Islamic Art Quiz

Calligraphic symbols

By 1700 the Ottomans had begun to produce calligraphic designs that functioned like logos or icons. The Ottomans gave special reverence to the ‘Four Friends’, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali. They were the four companions of the Prophet who were each elected in turn to lead the Muslim community after Muhammad’s death. In the pattern on this tile their names have been merged with those of God and the Prophet into a single form.

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Turkey, Istanbul
Dated 1727
Museum No. 1756-1892

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