The Golden Cradle in Topkapi Palace Museum,
In Ottoman palaces, a traditional ceremony called the Cradle Ceremony was always held for the children of the sultan.
The ceremony was as follows: As soon as a child of the Sultan was born five animals were sacrificed if it was a boy, and three if it was a girl. Then five rounds of cannon fire were ordered to notify the populace of Istanbul of the event, signifying the start of festivities in the palace and the city. While military bands played gay tunes, entertainments were organized in the streets and squares. Then notes would be sent from the palace informing the Sheikh-ul-Islam (head of the Moslem religion in the Ottoman Empire), the viziers the recorder, the head of the Janissaries, all important men of state and the judges of every city in the nation, while special invitations were sent to the wives of important men of state and women of the royal family living outside the palace, to come and congratulate the woman ‘who had given birth. While she wept tears of joy, the guests would be presented with scented sherbets. The presents which they had brought would be displayed in a corner. The newly born child) would be at the foot of the bed in the arms of a wet nurse waiting for its cradle. Usually the sultan’s mother ‘would prepare the cradle and covers. Orders would be given to the Treasurer, who would immediately have the gilded and jeweled cradle made ready. Then it would be carried from the Old Palace to the New Palace with a procession of palace officials headed by the Treasurer. The Cradle Ceremony was one of the most colorful ceremonies in Istanbul, and thousands of citizens used to come to watch it. The Cradle would be taken to the harem and handed over to the Chief Agha and the Harem Agha ‘who would take it to the childbed room with prayers. Sometimes the cradle would be sent by Sadrazams (prime ministers during Ottoman times). In that case, the Cradle would be carried in procession from Pasakapi to Topkapi Palace. If the child was a boy arr aigrette would be placed on the Cradle. The tradition of holding a Cradle Ceremony went on for many years, but only a few of the cradles which must have ben made for it have survived until the present day, the rest having been dismantled and the precious stones removed. It is thought that the Golden Cradle, which was used in the Cradle Ceremony of a newly born prince, was carefully looked after in the Treasury because of its great value.