The final, third pearl in the narrative string connecting artists and their royal patrons might fittingly be called (to borrow Landau's phrase) "Ottoman bling." Sultan Mahmud I ruled the Ottoman empire from 1730 to 1754 when European industry and military technology had eclipsed the vast Muslim caliphate which once threatened it. The sultan preferred the arts over military conquest, however. He "had a fetish for sparkly objects that were really well designed," Landau explained, as we marveled at the star attraction of "Pearls": Mahmud's dazzling, excessively flamboyant long gun, whose every inch is covered in gold, gilded silver, nephrite, diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. Mahmud loved gadgets, so the stock of this working rifle opened to reveal bejeweled writing instruments and a brilliant, gem-encrusted dagger, symbolic of both marksmanship and penmanship.