Sabancı Üniversitesi


HIST Webinar: Melis Taner (Özyeğin University)


“Painting in Early Modern Baghdad”



(Özyeğin University)


FEBRUARY 10, 2021



Meeting ID: 982 8871 1713

Abstract: The talk focuses on illustrated manuscript production in late 16th-century Baghdad. The province, which changed hands between the Ottomans and the Safavids three times during the 16th and 17th centuries, was located on major trade routes and was the site of important Shiʿi and Sunni shrines. It was also distant enough from the two imperial centers to allow its denizens to use the liminality of Baghdad in their favor. Baghdad was also remarkable for its lively, yet short-lived art market. From about the last decade of the 16th century, following the peace concluded between the two powers until the first few years of the 17th century when hostilities between the Ottomans and Safavids resumed, more than thirty illustrated manuscripts and single-page paintings were produced. Ranging from voluminous luxury productions to simpler, shorter works, this corpus of illustrated works shared a certain stylistic coherence, which showed influences from Ottoman, Safavid and Indian art, yet it was quite distinct. The talk will first contextualize this short-lived art market and then concentrate on single-page paintings. 

Bio: Melis Taner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture and Design at Özyeğin University. After her BA in Political Science at Sabancı University in 2006, an MA in Medieval Studies at Central European University in 2007, and another MA in History at Sabancı University in 2009, she completed her PhD at Harvard University in 2016. Her first book (Caught in a Whirlwind: A Cultural History of Ottoman Baghdad as Reflected in Its Illustrated Manuscripts, Brill, 2020) focuses on painting in early modern Baghdad. Her research interests include Islamic, particularly Ottoman and Safavid art and cross-cultural exchanges in the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as Medieval Art.