Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - Late 18th-century Depictions of Women in Distress

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Magnolia, Lower Ground Floor

In the course of the 1700s, five copies of an early 17th-century quintet of versified stories (mesnevis), known as Hamse-i ‘Atâyî, were illustrated with numerous genre scenes. These miniatures show women only sparingly and almost all lovemaking scenes depict male couples. A few other late 18th-century illustrated poetic compendiums abound in pictures of rather scandalous women, often in heterosexual relationships.


I argue that representations of women in the illustrated poetic compendiums of the late 1700s, whether depicting them at the judicial courts or in the privacy of their houses and gardens, do not reflect (relative) female emancipation and increasing visibility. Nor do they indicate changing sexual preferences among Ottoman elite males, now supposedly favoring heterosexual affairs. Like textual sources including court records, poetry and chronicles that depicted women in distress in 18th-century Istanbul, the miniatures from this period appear as representations of misogyny.

Tülay Artan

Sabanci University, Turkey

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4 - Late 18th-century Depictions of Women in Distress



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