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Fears, Hopes, and Dreams: The Talismanic Shirts of Murād III

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There is much evidence that Ottoman Turks were interested in talismans and magic. However, this area has not yet been studied in depth. A few recent studies present information about material artifacts, but without deep analysis of the use of talismans and magic among Ottoman Sufis. The present study examines talismanic shirts prepared for the Ottoman sultans, in particular the shirts of Murād III (r. 982/1574-1003/1595), who was a devout disciple of a Ḫalwatī master, Šuǧāʿ Dede. After a brief introduction to talismanic shirts prepared for Ottoman sultans, I analyze the motifs, symbols, and divine words on the talismanic shirts produced for Murād III. I also explore what insights can be gained when his shirts are read together with his dream letters that he sent to his spiritual master. Intertextual reading of significant symbols on Sulṭān Murād’s shirts, when taken in conjunction with his letters, demonstrates that his shirts are infused with a more complex meaning than is evident at first glance.Il existe de nombreuses preuves que les Turcs ottomans s’intéressaient aux talismans et à la magie. Cependant, ce terrain n’a pas encore été étudié en profondeur. Quelques études récentes présentent des informations sur les artefacts matériels, mais sans analyse approfondie de l’utilisation des talismans et de la magie chez les soufis ottomans. La présente étude examine les chemises talismaniques préparées pour les sultans ottomans, en particulier les chemises de Murād III (r. 982/1574-1003/1595), disciple dévot d’un maître Ḫalwatī, Šuǧāʿ Dede. Après une brève introduction aux chemises talismaniques préparées pour les sultans ottomans, j’analyserai les motifs, les symboles et les noms divins sur les chemises talismaniques produites pour Murād III. J’explorerai également ce que l’on peut comprendre lorsque ses chemises sont mises en regard avec les lettres de ses rêves qu’il envoya à son maître spirituel. La lecture intertextuelle de symboles significatifs sur les chemises du sultan Murād, lorsqu’ils sont mis en relation avec ses lettres, démontre que ses chemises sont composées avec une signification plus complexe que ce qui apparaît au premier coup d’œil.This article is in English.

Affiliations: 1: Yale University


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