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Illumination is a decorative art performed on hat boards and albums, on the covers of imperial rulings, sultan's signatures and bindings. The Turkish word for illumination which is tezhip comes from the Arab word zehep meaning gilding. Works of art adorned with illumination are called müzehheb while the artists are the müzehhibe. Animal, plant and cloud patterns are used as embellishment elements and the use of gold and dark blue has always been very common.

Turkish art of illumination has had a very rich history starting from the Seljuk period to the Ottoman era. One of the oldest examples that can be seen today in the Topkapı Palace is a page from Koran dating back to 1131. The art of illumination has gone through a period of innovation under the rule of Yavuz Sultan Selim and reached its peak during the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent. During this era, the artists Şah Kulu and Kara Memi have created a new art movement that had a major effect on the arts of embellishment. With the influence of the western art in the 18th century, an extravagant style of adornment style called the Rococo started to dominate Turkish embellishment arts. Consequently, classic forms disappeared while large flower prints (painted as bouquets or in vases) started to be painted more frequently until late 19th century.

Medresetül Hattatin (Madrasah for Calligraphy) which was founded in 1914 in order to provide academic training for traditional book arts later became Hattat Mektebi (School of Calligraphy) and was finally incorporated into the Fine Arts Academy in 1936.

Our illumination artists are Elif Göker and the artists of Taner Alakus Miniature Atelier.

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