The tughra was the official signature used by the Ottoman sultans. Tughra originally referred to the official mark of a ruler used at the beginning of a document, and later came to mean an emblem done in calligraphy. In Ottoman Turkey the tughra was elaborated into a highly sophisticated motif,and each emperor had his own. All tughras, however, consisted of high shafts and two ovals protruding to the left, with the names of the ruler and his father (and sometimes grandfather) in the lower center. This arrangement has been sometimes explained as representing the middle fingers and thumb (the prints of which formerly may have been used for signatures). In a general way, a tughra could be any kind of unusual elegant way of joining words into decorative shapes, including flowers, animals, or architectural forms.