The Golden Cradle in Topkapi Palace Museum Istanbul – Chapter 1,

Among the works of greatest artistic and material value in the Treasury of Topkapi Palace are examples of Ottoman wood carving and inlay. They include thrones, chests of drawers, and chairs, decorated with gold, silver and precious stones. Among these is the golden cradle in the Second Room of the Treasury. The Golden Cradle is a masterpiece of the arts of jewelry and inlaying, which was made on the 16th for an unknown Ottoman prince. Although experts say it dates from the time of Sultan Suleyman the Law Giver it is not known which Prince it was made for. Was it the cradle of the unfortunate Prince Mustafa who was cruelly killed when he entered the tent to kiss the hand of his father Sultan Suleyman the Law Giver in the Aktepe Meadows of Eregli near Konya? Or that of Prince Cihangir who died the same year in Halip unable to bear having seen his brother murdered before his eyes? Or that of Prince Beyazid the son of Sultan Suleyman’s favorite, Hurrem Sultan, who fell out with his brother Prince Selim during his father’s lifetime and escaped to Iran where he was killed in 1561? Or is it that of Prince Yellow Selim who took over his father’s throne having killed off all his brothers one by one? Or was it none of these, but the cradle of one of the sultan’s daughters? Historians have been unable to answer this question. The Golden Cradle is 103 cm. long and 54 cm. high. Its frame is of walnut wood, its outer surface covered with gold gilding, lined with purple velvet. It is decorated with 1475 diamonds, 1210 rubies, and 520 emeralds. The emeralds and diamonds on the sides are huge and clear. The two knobs and handle at the ends of the cradle are also decorated with precious stones. The knobs having eight diamonds, five rubies and fifteen emeralds each. The pink and white silk cloth on the cradle is covered with too many pearls to count thousands, tens of thousands. There are also eight sticks used in swaddling babies, which are decorated with 140 diamonds, 132 rubies, and 842 emeralds. Altogether the Cradle is equivalent to a Treasury in itself. But to have such a cradle made to be carried in the Cradle Ceremony was not counted as much probably, for a state which had reached Vienna, had kings kneel before them, and possessed the greatest treasures in the world.