Some 350 items, most of which were selected from Istanbul’s Topkapi Museum and its Islamic Turkish Art Museum, are on display in this exhibition covering a thousand years of Turkic history -- 'Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years (600–1600)' the exciting exhibition that opened officially this past week at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Some 350 items, most of which were selected from Istanbul's Topkapi Museum and its Islamic Turkish Art Museum, are on display in this exhibit covering a thousand years of Turkic history – "Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years (600–1600)." Other works have come from such museums as the Metropolitan Museum, the Berlin State Museum, the Victoria and Alfred Museum, the Louvre, The British Museum, the National Gallery and Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum. For the first time this exhibit brings together fabulous works of art, starting from the nomadic tribe of Uighur Turks who lived in Central Asia on the fabled Silk Road, which ran from Eastern Europe to China. Shades of Marco Polo at a much later date! In the seventh century, the Uighurs spread out, as nomadic groups do, adapting to the other groups that they came in contact with and borrowing from them. The exhibition explores the richness of the Seljuks (1040-1194), the Timurids (1370-1506) and the Ottoman culture between 1453 and 1600. Among the magnificent items on display are textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metalwork, woodwork and calligraphy, all from the 600-1600 time frame. The crowning jewel of the exhibit is examples of the work of Mehmed Siyah Kalem (Mehmed of the Black Pen), about whom virtually nothing is known. In fact, there is considerable debate over how he could have developed a style that had never been seen at the time and never was again. His work, whose style suggests a flavor of the Chinese, is lively and wholly original. There are no comparisons, and none of his work had ever been taken out of Turkey until now. Although the exhibition has only been open for a few days, it has received extensive coverage in the British and Turkish press. It is being hailed as one of the greatest exhibits to be held in London and has been compared with only two previous exhibits. The number of visitors is expected to be very high. For those who will be unable to see this splendid exhibition before it closes on April 12, 2005, there is a Web site available at www.turks.org.uk that gives extensive information about the exhibit and how to obtain materials, tickets and the like.