ismail shah


so at topkapı palace there exists this wonderful portrait of selim i – with a pearl earring. even a cursory knowledge of gender and costume in the ottoman empire will tell you this is definitely not in the ottoman tradition (men occasionally wore rings, but jewelry was relegated to women and (male) slaves as it were). one of the romanticized explanations to this startling exception was that selim i had declared himself “the slave of god” (as suleiman the magnificent, his son, would also claim). we know better now that the portrait was most likely not selim i but a depiction of shah ismail i, selim’s persian contemporary

(but its still pretty moving to think about)