Original Half Figure of a “Turk” from the Cornice of Palais Saurau 16. / 17th c.

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The “Arch Enemy”

The half figure of an Ottoman protruding from the gable of Palais Saurau does not allow for any generally accepted interpretation—explanations ranging from a sign of market peace, or the sign of a house down to an exercise dummy for knights preparing for a tournament. Yet the persistent stereotype of the “Turk” can be clearly attributed to it: the personified threat of Christianity in the Early Modern Period. It stands for an arch enemy whose menacing nature had entered deep into the imagination of the people of the time via sermons, leaflets, and other writings.

Oak wood, coloured frame
111 × 150 × 40 cm
Lender: Graz Museum, permanent loan from the Goess-Saurau Family
Goess-Saurau Family / Photo: Edin Prnjavorac