The Türckische Cammer (Turkish Chamber) is one of the oldest and most important collections of Ottoman art anywhere in the world outside Turkey. Thanks to their aesthetic tastes, their passion for collecting and their desire for princely prestige, the electors of Saxony between the 16th and the 19th century gathered together a wealth of treasures associated with the fashion for ‘turquerie’.
During the reign of elector August the Strong, Saxon admiration for the Ottoman Empire reached its absolute climax. The elector of Saxony and later King of Poland frequently dressed up as the Sultan in court festivities and also sent his adjutant Johann Georg Spiegel to Constantinople in order to purchase exotic wares. Furthermore, he imported camels and Arabian horses with ornate bridles specifically for his Baroque festivals at the Dresden court. The largest object in the Türckische Cammer, which opened in 2010, is an Ottoman three-mast tent – a 20 m long, 8 m wide and 6 m high dream made of gold and silk. Only in Dresden is it possible for visitors to enter such a tent and examine the supreme craftsmanship of Ottoman textile artists at close quarters. Among the other highlights are eight life-size carved wooden horses. Each of these Arabian stallions, which weigh around 150 kg and are magnificently fitted out with ceremonial horse trappings, is unique and has been custom-made in accordance with historical records. Another unique feature of the exhibition is the group of Ottoman reflex bows still with their original strings, the oldest of which dates back to the year 1586, as well as four folding drinking flagons made of leather. Altogether more than 600 objects exhibited in an area covering 750 square metres illustrate the magnificent abundance of the Türckische Cammer.
Video: Türckische Cammer im Residenzschloss Dresden