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The Treasures and the Tradition of “Lâle” in the Ottoman Empire

The Treasures and the Tradition of “Lâle” in the Ottoman Empire

In a nutshell

If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Turkey, this exhibition is a great entrée to the country’s art and culture. There are over 170 objects to admire, mostly from the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Beautiful jewelry and bejeweled pieces, clothing, carpets, ceramics and all sorts of decorated pieces. The exhibition explains the symbolism and importance of the tulip, or lâle, in the context of the Ottoman Empire and highlights the relations between Japan and Turkey.

The venue

The National Art Center, Tokyo is an enormous, modern gallery space. This exhibition is in the Special Exhibition Gallery 2E on the second floor. The curators did a really nice job, using beautiful jewel colors for the walls and displays, Turkish tile wall coverings and Turkish-style arches and other features.

English? (labels/audio guides/handouts)

All of the information is in English, including the audio guide, except for the three videos, which have audio/written information in Japanese only.


Photographs are not allowed.

The feels

Gold, jewels, intricate patterns and adorned objects highlight the craftsmanship and elegance of the Ottoman Empire. The pieces are dazzling to see in person in the beautiful display cases.


Anyone interested in beautifully made decorative objects with Ottoman motifs. Definitely a change of pace from the simplicity of much of the Japanese aesthetic.

How far out?

Exit 6 from the Nogizaka Station on the Chiyoda Line takes you directly to the venue.

How much time?

45 minutes to an hour.

How much money?

¥1,600 for general admission.

Until when?

May 20, 2019

Rating: make a special trip, see it if you’re in the area or have some free time, see it only if you like this specific type of art

See it if you’re in the area or would like to learn more about Turkey and its art.


http://www.nact.jp/english/exhibitions/2019/turkey2019/ and https://turkey2019.exhn.jp/en/

information or inspiration?

information or inspiration?

To-ji Temple: Kukai and the Sculpture Mandala

To-ji Temple: Kukai and the Sculpture Mandala