The Tulip

Carpet within The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, featuring blue tulips ready to blossom (central)
Silk Lattice Design with gold tulips and pomegranate superimposed with red and blue rosebuds; Turkey probably Bursa 1550 – 1600 The V&A Collection

The symbolic importance of the Tulip to the Ottoman Empire is seen within the use of the motif throughout their textiles, ceramics, tile work and rugs in a myriad of patterns formations and variations in the tulip forms. Within the Sufi language the Tulip and its parts have different meanings.

– The colors symbolise God.

– Tulips have a black/dark interior. The structure (from dark interior to colourful exterior) symbolises ‘the tolerant, respectful Dervish who overcame interior evil to become bright’.

– Tulips have six petals symbolizing the Six Articles of Faith. Often within the patterns, though, they are shown with three or four petals as they are drawn from a side view.

– The petals and their configuration in the patterns mean different things. When facing upwards, for example, they represent the Dervish opening arms to the sky praying.

Detail of Embroidered Princes Kaftan: Meandering Vine with Tulips (from side with three petals) 1590 – 1600 The V&A Collection
Tiles with repeat pattern, Turkey probably Iznik, About 1580 The V&A Collection. Tulips drawn from side view with four petals
1 comment
  1. Maz said:

    Aaaaah…. ….Ssssssssh…takes my breath…

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