references tulipomania: the story of the world’s most coveted flower & the extraordinary passions it aroused. mike dash (2001).
This inevitable association with Holland is the umpteenth example of a cultural element which is considered as typical Dutch, but which by a closer look turns out to be an imported component of the Dutch culture. The tulip origins from the East. In the former Ottoman Empire, the present Turkey, the tulip instead of being an object of speculation (tulipomania, former Dutch Republic, 1636-1637), was a holy object. The flower, equally the tulip, has the connotation of paradise, the garden of Eden. In the Islamic gardens it was even considered to be the holiest. For the Ottoman and the Persians it had a strong symbolic meaning, amongst others because the letters that form the word tulip are an anagram of Allah. The Turks strongly believed that their heaven would be covered with tulips. Originally the tulip comes from the Pamir Mountains, in the Ottoman Empire it used to be popular amongst the various sultans. Gardeners planted tulip bulbs so their souls would go to heaven. Turkish women sewed thousands of tulips as religious motifs, along with prayers, as a sacrifice to Allah for the protection of their husbands at war. The tulip has been further cultivated by Turkish breeders. The breeding of plants purely for its beauty made a strange impression on the 16th century European visitors, who generally considered them as something to be eaten or for being grind to powder for medicines. Midway the 16th century the tulip came into attention of Europe and subsequently has she been imported, maybe even sooner. The Turks named the tulip lâle (after the Persian lâlä) and one presumes that Busbecq described it as ‘tulipa(n)’, because the flower leaves look like a folded turban (tulbend in Turkish, dullbänd in Persian). That similarity could explain how the word ‘tulp’ ended up in Dutch language.