Turkish Gardens

┼×ehname-i Selim Han (completed in 1581), an illustrated account of the events of the reign of Selim II. (1566-1574) and of the early years of the reign of his successor Murad III. (1574-1595), shows Selim II. sitting in a garden pavilion at his palace in Silivri, where he has gone to take part in a great hunt. The archways of the kiosk, which we see with the Silivri citadel in the background, are open to the garden but there are red drapes that could be drawn for protection against the sun or inclement weather. The kiosk has a portico and the sultan is shown seated on a stool, surrounded by members of his court. The fruit-filled dishes, ewers, and a row of vases containing purple violets and white tulips and carnations with red centers are placed in front of him. The kiosk stands by the sea, from which it is separated by a red-painted latticework structure presumably designed so as to allow those inside to see out but not those outside to see in. Not all garden kiosks were elaborate or intended to be lived in for long periods of time. But even if it was only a simple bower that only offered shelter during daytime, every Ottoman garden was sure to have a structure whose purpose was to enhance the enjoyment of the garden. (┼×ehname-i Selim Han, TSM A3595, detail from 13a.)

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