111. Melchior Lorch

Sultan Suleiman II Standing with an Elephant

Not illustrated
Engraving, 1559
Hollstein 35, the third of three states
Size: 39 × 32 cm

Intriguingly, the Sultan shown is Suleiman II while the inscription says it shows Sultan Ibrahim I (reigned 1640–1648). The latter’s reign was one of the most interesting in the whole rumbuctuous history of the Ottomans, both politically and personally. Traumatised by his youth under constant fear of death, he has since been known as ‘Deli Ibrahim’, ‘Mad Ibrahim’. He staged humungous orgies in his palace, and gave another palace to the foxiest of his concubines, carpeted in sable. He probably did die of exhaustion, drink and drugs. What a way to go!