On 18 May 2018, International Museum Day, the refurbished permanent display of “The Art of the Islamic Middle East: The Ottoman Empire” opened in the State Hermitage after being closed for a long period.
Mediaeval Turkish art occupies a special place in the history of the artistic culture of the Middle East. Profoundly different from the art of neighbouring Arab peoples, it is closely connected with the local centuries-old Anatolian artistic tradition. Despite coming into being relatively late, it nonetheless took a strikingly original approach in a number of aesthetic spheres that were important in the Middle Ages, particularly in the fields of architecture and applied art. The Seljuk period saw strong creative interaction between Turkish art and the culture of neighbouring peoples. In the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Ottoman Empire was politically powerful, palaces and mosques based on prototypes in Istanbul were built across the Arab world, on the Balkan peninsula and in the Crimea. Turkish pottery, fabrics, carpets and other works of applied art were widely distributed.
The State Hermitage possesses an extensive and significant collection of Turkish jewellery, weaponry, fabrics, carpets, ceramics and metal articles. The permanent display includes some 200 items. The earliest exhibits date from the time when the Seljuk dynasty was dominant in Asia Minor.
The new display has been created by the staff of the State Hermitage’s Department of the East. The curator is Dmitry Vladimirovich Sadofeyev, researcher in the Byzantium and Middle East Sector within the State Hermitage’s Department of the East.