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index / Ancient Turks & Horsemanship
The horse held a very important place in the life of ancient Turks, providing milk, meat, power and companionship.

When a person died among the ancient Turks, he was buried with his horse. Horses were prominent in the legendary tales of Köroglu, Seyyid Battal Gazi, Sari Saltuk, as well as in the legends of Blind Horse and Winged Horse. The shaman of the Middle Asian Turks set out on a journey through the universe on a wooden horse. In the Ottoman Empire, horses were seen in the illuminated miniature paintings, as well as in paintings by Western travellers. There are numerous paintings that show sultans on horseback while engaging in battles, on hunting expeditions and in royal processions. Among them are the portraits of Suleyman the Magnificent in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris; Murad III in the State Library of Vienna; Osman the Young in the Marketplace; and Abdulmecid I in the British Library in London. The first sultan to have his sculpture made on horseback was Abdulaziz. That sculpture is in Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul.

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