Turkish Delights

TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM, ISTANBUL

SOCIAL WHIRL: Images of dervishes and demons enhanced an oral literary tradition

To retrace a thousand years of Turkish culture and a civilization stretching from Central Asia to the Balkans, one need only step inside London's Royal Academy of Arts. "Turks," the institute's latest extravaganza (through April 12), draws visitors into a souk of dimly lit, treasure-filled galleries. Following a timespan from 600 to 1600 A.D., from the nomadic Uighur people of Chinese Central Asia to the Ottoman splendor of Sultan Mehmed III in Istanbul, "Turks" illustrates how successive groups learned from the cultures they encountered and sometimes conquered. It's a tale of assimilation and adaptation in the exotic landscapes crossed by the...