An Ottoman parade shield made in Venice during the latter half of the 16th century is to feature in a sale of Islamic art at Christie’s.
At the time this shield was made the Ottoman Empire controlled a huge swath of territory, stretching from modern-day Iraq to as far north as Hungary.
The shield is inlaid with Ottoman style patterns
The Venetian Republic, one of Europe’s richest powers, was right on the edge of its borders.
The two had a long and conflicted history.
Over the centuries they fought a series of devastating wars over contested territories.
But at the same time, they enjoyed an important and mutually beneficial trading relationship. Over time Ottoman art became hugely influential in Venice, as this shield attests.
It’s covered in gilded leather and decorated with Ottoman motifs.
Such items were exported across Europe during the 1500s. It was considered the height of fashion for a European noble to outfit his guards in Turkish style armour.
Specialist Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam explained: “[The shield] tells a complex story of the cultural dynamics between two sparring empires at the height of their powers.
“It is fascinating to think of this object, the likes of which rarely come up for sale, in use by a prince during his parades throughout 16th-century Europe.”
The lot is valued at £50,000-70,000 ($66,150-92,610) ahead of the October 26 sale in London.
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