Wien Museum Catalogue „100 x Vienna - Highlights from the Wien Museum Karlsplatz“

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Kara Mustafa Pasha, 1696 (?) Unknown artist Oil on canvas, 75 ¥ 49 cm Inscription: Chara Mustapha türkischer Großvezier welcher / Anno 1683 den 12. July die Kay. Residenz Statt Wien belagert / aber wider den 12. 7br. mit Verlust und großen Spott weckgeschlagen worden. Inv. No. 31.033 Donated by Graf Hans Wilczek, 1883

Only very few portraits remain of Kara Mustafa (around 1640–1683), the Ottoman commander-inchief during the Second Turkish Siege of Vienna. The portrait exhibited in the Wien Museum was presumably completed somewhat more than ten years after the execution of Kara Mustafa. It shows the General in splendid – albeit civilian – clothing wearing a plumed turban. Prior to the risky advances on Vienna, Kara Mustafa had already proven by and large luckless against the Polish-Lithuanian Empire in the Ukraine, and against the Cossacks. According to contemporary accounts, his character was marked by blackmail, bribery and various cruel acts rather than skilful strategic deliberations in battle. However, family connections made it possible for him to be promoted to Great Admiral of the Turkish fleet in 1661. From 1676 Kara Mustafa was Grand Vizier, meaning he held one of the highest offices in the Ottoman Empire. After his plans to conquer the West had been foiled by the defence of Vienna and above all by the timely arrival of the Polish King Jan III Sobieski, he retreated to Belgrade with his defeated army where his fate awaited him:

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Sultan Mehmet IV’s order of execution. The former army commander died on December 25th, 1683. After the conquest of Belgrade (1688) his alleged skull was stolen by grave-robbers and handed over to the Austrian Cardinal Leopold Count Kollonitsch. The latter brought the “memento” to the former Wiener Bürgerliches Zeughaus (Vienna Civic Armoury), the collection of which later passed over to the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien. The well-known orientalist Joseph Hammer-Purgstall cast doubt on the skull’s authenticity, pointing out that Kara Mustafa was buried in the Turkish city of Edirne, a view shared by Turkish historians to the present day. The skull was exhibited in a silver-plated brass shrine in the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien (now the Wien Museum) until 1976; later it was kept in storage. In 2006 it was buried in the Wiener Zentralfriedhof. ML Lit.: Die Türken vor Wien. Europa und die Entscheidung an der Donau 1683 (Exhibition Catalogue of the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien), Vienna 1983, p. 67. ¸ a, Conference Volume, Ankara 2001, p. 283. Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pas


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