The oldest surviving illustrations belong to the Uighur Turks. The eight and nineth century paintings found at Chotcho, there capital in Turfan, are the earliest examples of Turkish book illustrations known. Although numerous wall paintings can stil be seen, ver few book illustrations still exist. The people in these miniatures, especially male figures, have portrait quality, with their names inscribed below. After tese earliest examples, there was almost four centuries of time gap, which no book illustrations survived, until the preiod of the Suljuks in Anatolia. However the figrues seen in Seljuk art still show the tradition of Uighur paintings. The minatures illustrate a fantasy world of demons, evil spirtis and sceens from nomadic life. There are also other Seljuk works in different styles showing evidence of Byzantian influence.
The first examples of Turkish-Ottoman paintings come from the period of Sultan Mehmet II (1451-1481), who was a great patron of the arts as well as a military genius. It was during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (1520 - 1566) that Ottoman miniature painting developed its identifiable style. Even though the various influences continue to be felt, the true characteristics of Ottoman painting begins to appear due to the existence of Turkish artist tratined in the palace studios. This was the style of an empire absorbing vast territories on its eastern and western frontiers, and merging the influence of Turkoman, Persian and western art. By the eighteenth century the Ottomans accepted the cultural and political advances of Europe, moving in the direction of a new art form based on European paintings. This brought an end to the Turkish miniature tradition of thousands of years.
Reference: Atasoy, Nurhan and Cagman, Filiz. Turkish Miniature Painting. Istanbul: RCD Cultural Institute, 1974.