Seljuk Bronze Feline Sculpture - LO.1294, Origin: Central Asia, Circa: 11 th Century AD to 14 th Century AD, Dimensions: 6.6" (16.8cm) high x 4.1" (10.4cm) wide, Collection: Islamic Art, Style: Seljuk, Medium: Bronze. Although individual Turkish generals had already gained considerable, and at times decisive, power in Mesopotamia and Egypt during the tenth and eleventh centuries, the coming of the Seljuks signaled the first large-scale penetration of the Turkish elements into the Middle East. Descended from a tribal chief named Seljuk, whose homeland lay beyond the Oxus River near the Aral Sea, the Seljuks not only developed a highly effective fighting force but also, through their close contacts with Persian court life in Khorasan and Transoxania, attracted a body of able administrators. Extending from Central Asia to the Byzantine marches in Asia Minor, the Seljuks established a highly cohesive, well- administered state under the nominal authority of the Abbasid caliphs at Baghdad. The Seljuqs (also Seldjuk, Seldjuq, Seljuk, sometimes also Seljuq Turks; in Turkish Selçuklular; in Persian: سلجوقيان Ṣaljūqīyān; in Arabic سلجوق Saljūq, or السلاجقة al-Salājiqa) were a Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries. They set up an empire known as "Great Seljuk Empire" that stretched from Anatolia to Punjab and was the target of the First Crusade. The dynasty had its origins in the Turcoman tribal confederations of Central Asia and marked the beginning of Turkic power in the Middle East. Today they are regarded as the cultural ancestors of the Western Turks, the present-day inhabitants of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan, and they are remembered as great patrons of Persian culture, art, literature.