Literature of Turkish Art in the Pre-Islamic Period

The interest in ‘Central Asia’, rising first in the Western world and gradually evolving into an academic discipline, flourished among the Turkish intellectuals from the second half of the 19th century. Initially treated within the scope of philological and historical studies under the influence of nationalism and orientalism, the ‘Asian’ theme soon gained political significance and was extended to new directions. Studies on pre-Islamic Turkish art, pioneered by prominent scholars such as Strzygowski and Glück in the first quarter of the 20th century, had a great impact on Turkish intellectuals and also drew the attention of political circles. On the other hand, one can claim that the pre-Islamic Turkish art historiography in Turkey never flourished to an extent comparable to the philological and historical studies. Mainly developing along the lines of translations and compilations, this field of study fell into a repetitive cycle. A wider accumulation of knowledge in the field will be possible with the contribution of a greater number of studies employing a broader perspective on the early stages of the development of Turkish art.

Elif Kök

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