Extremely Fine Ottoman Qur’an Signed Mehmed Hifzi Armudcuzade

An extremely fine copy, both in terms of its calligraphy and illumination. Arabic manuscript on paper, each folio with 13ll. of crystalline black naskh script, the rosette verse markers each worked in a different manner in gold and polychrome, sura headings in pink tauqi‘ script on gold ground within illuminated cartouche with floral decoration, text within black-ruled two-colour gold frame, section markers in pink tauqi‘ script within finely illuminated floral medallions, with catchwords, opening bifolio (frontispiece) with very finely illuminated margins on gold ground, in original brown morocco binding with flap, with two-colour gold imprinted floral decoration, with gilt brown doublures. The nisba of the calligrapher “Armudcuzade” indicates that he was the son of a ‘pear seller’ The crystalline precision of the naskh script points to the calligrapher’s excellent pedigree, linking him to calligraphy masters of Istanbul who almost always share a distinctive, sharp hand, hardly found elsewhere. The naskh script follows the highest Ottoman standard founded on the canonical proportions invented by the late 15th, early 16th century master calligrapher Sheikh Hamdullah Efendi (d. 1520). The naskh script features a soft flow with letters which have remarkably well-defined proportions. The illumination of the frontispiece is outstanding, displaying almost all elements of classical Ottoman decorative repertoire.

Provenance: Private French Collection

Extremely Fine Ottoman Qur’an Signed Mehmed Hifzi Armudcuzade magnifing glass

Important Illuminated Album Page Of Calligraphy

Mir Ali Heravi also signed his name Ali al-Husayni. The best known example of this application is the anthology of poetry, made in 1524, for vizier Khawaja Malik Ahmad, who was governor of Herat under Shah Ismail. “The anthology bears the signatures of several masters including Ali al-Husayni (that is, Mir Ali), Muhammad Qasim b Shadishah and Muhammad Khandan”. See: David Roxburgh, The Persian Album, Yale University Press, 2005, p. 179. An illustrated copy of the Panj Ganj of Abd al-Rahman Jami, signed Ali Husayni is in the Golestan Palace Library (inv. no. 709). A Gulistan copied in 975 (1567/68) and signed Mir Ali Husayni (Mir Ali al-Husayni al-Katib al-Sultani) in Bukhara is in the British Library (BL Or 5302). It includes six Bukhara-style paintings which were commissioned apparently at Akbar's request. Mir Ali Heravi was a master calligrapher of the nasta’liq script active in the city of Herat during the 16th century until he was taken to Bukhara in 1528 by the Shaybanid ruler Ubaydallah Khan Uzbek. He passed away in 1544. Compare with another album page decorated with similar illuminated devices in the outer borders reminiscent of those which decorated Safavid Qur’ans of the 16th and 17th centuries, probably from the Demotte collection, see Important Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures, Hagop Kevorkian Collection, Sotheby’s, 3rd April 1978, lot 38.

Provenance: Private UK collection

Important Illuminated Album Page Of Calligraphy  magnifing glass

Finely Illuminated Ottoman Qur’an Section (Juzz)

The present Qur’anic juzz is written in exteremely fine, sharp and precise naskh script indicating the level of stylistic perfection naskh achieved during the 19th century. The quality of both the calligraphy and illumination indicate royal patronage. The juzz includes the following suras (chapters) from the Qur’an: al-Naba, al-Nazi‘at, al-Takvir, al-Infitar, al-Mutaffifin, al-Ishiqaq, al-Buruj, al-Tariq, al-A‘la, al-Ghashiya, al-Fajr, al-Balad, al-Shams, al-Layl, al-Duha, al-Inshirah, al-Tin, al-‘Alaq, al-Qadr, al-Bayyina, al-Zilzal, al-‘Adiyat, al-Qari‘a, al-Takathur, al-‘Asr, al-Humaza, al-Fil, al-Quraysh, al-Ma‘un, al-Kawthar, al-Kafirun, al-Nasr, al-Tabbat, al-Ihlas, al-Falak, al-Nas. The quality both of the calligraphy and the rococo illumination indicates that this manuscript was almost certainly a royal commission. The illuminator of this manuscript is almost certainly responsible for the decoration of a primer prepared to teach reading and writing to the children of the Imperial family and datable to the 18th century (Elifba cuzu, Topkapi Palace Museum, EH 436). According to Nurhan Atasoy “This work’s decorations are in the full-blown Ottoman rococo style”. The bouquets of flowers tied up with ribbons and the floral vase with a rather unusual shape are almost identical to those found in this Qur’an section. See N. Atasoy, A Garden for the Sultan: Gardens and Flowers in the Ottoman Culture, 2002, pp. 190-191 and 194, illustrations. nos. 298-303. Also see: Yildiz Demiriz, Osmanli Kitap Sanatinda Naturalist Uslupta Cicekler, Istanbul, 1986, pp. 35-38.

Provenance: Private UK collection

Finely Illuminated Ottoman Qur’an Section (Juzz) magnifing glass

Nasta'liq Quatrain Signed Osman Al-uwaisi Al-Qarani

Persian quatrain in elegant nas-ta’liq script

THE CALLIGRAPHER OSMAN AL-UWAISI (D.1724)

Sayyid Osman al-Uwaisi b. Sayyid Muhammad Said b. Osman, better known as Osman al-Uwaisi studied calligraphy under the supervision of master Dedezade Mehmed Said Effendi (d. 1749). He was the Sheikh of the Hirka-i Sherif Camii (the Mosque of the Mantle of the Prophet – ar. al-Burda-) in the Fatih district, Istanbul, and an eminent calligrapher particularly celebrated for his mastery in nas-ta’liq script. He was the great-grand-son of Shukrullah al-Uwaisi, a successor of saint Uwais al-Qarani (d. 657), who brought the Burda (the mantle of the Prophet) to Istanbul on Sultan Ahmed I’s order. When Osman al-Uwaisi was the Sheikh of the Mosque of the mantel of the Prophet, the mosque received pious endowments from members of the Ottoman court, particularly from grand-vizier Corlulu Ali Pasha. He passed away in Istanbul, in 1724.

UWAIS AL-QARANI (D. 657)

Calligrapher Osman al-Uwaisi’s family, the Uwaisis, were the successors of the muslim saint Uwais al-Qarani. Uwais was muslim mystic and martyr of early days of Islam, from Yemen. He lived during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, but never had the chance to meet the Prophet in person. The Prophet, who knew Uwais al-Qarani’s affection and loyalty to himself, is said to have sent his mantle (al-Burda) to him as a gift. As reported by the renowned historical scholar Ibn Battuta, Uwais was martyred in the Battle of Siffeen. Uwais's shrine is in al-Raqqah, Syria. Another shrine was constructed in his honour in Baykan, in the city of Siirt, Turkey. The Uwaisi family has been famous for owning and preserving the mantle of the Prophet.

Provenance: Ex-private UK collection

Nasta'liq Quatrain Signed Osman Al-uwaisi Al-Qarani magnifing glass

Illuminated Manuscript Of The Sayings Of Khawaja Abdallah Al-Ansari

Richly decorated with illuminated sections and birds. Lacquered binding decorated with gold shams motif and saz leaves. Seals of Shah Safi II (Suleyman I, r. 1666-1694) and Nasr al-Mulk Naib al-Saltanat and of Ottoman owners including Sultan Mahmud II’s court physician Mustafa Mes‘ud Effendi (dated 1228/1812). The text is in Persian. Khawaja Abdullah al-Ansari of Herat (1006 -1088) also known as Pir-i Herat (the chief saint of Herat) was a famous sufi who lived in the 11th century in Herat. He was one of the outstanding figures in Khorasan in the 11th century, famed as a commentator of the Qur’an, traditionist, polemicist, and spiritual master, known for his mastery in oratory and poetic talents in Arabic and Persian. His shrine, built during the Timurid period, is still a popular pilgrimage site. Nasir al-Mulk Na'ib al-Saltanah (Abu'l-Qasim Khan Qarahqozlu Hamadani), one of the ex-owners of the manuscript, was educated in Oxford and entered the Royal service after his return to Iran. He receieved the title Nasir al-Mulk after his grand-father's death in early 1305 (1887-8). Among his posts were Minister of Treasury in 1325 (1907-08); Prime Minister for only a couple of months, when he resigned without Shah's permission and was about to be sentenced to death when the British intervened and instead, he left for Europe to return after Muhammad 'Ali Shah was deposed. He was appointed Na'ib al-Saltanah to the young Ahmad Mirza in 1329 (1911-12) and kept his post up the time Ahmad Mirza became king in 1322 (1913-14). He left Iran to return later and died in 1346 (1927)' (M. Bamdad, Dictionary of National Biography of Iran,1700-1960, vol. 1, Tehran, 1966, pp. 66-70).

Mahmud b. Ishaq al-Shihabi

The calligrapher Mahmud b. Ishaq al-Shihabi is one of those mentioned by the biographer Qadi Ahmad because his nas-ta‘liq script was highly prized not only among the Shaybanid Uzbek rulers but also in Iran among the Safavid rulers and, in India. According to Qadi Ahmad, Mahmud b. Ishaq came from a village near Herat and may have been born there between 1510 and 1520. His father, Khawaja Ishaq, became mayor of Herat but was forced to leave with his family and children in 1528, when the city was seized by the Shaybanid ruler Ubayd Khan Uzbek. The famous calligrapher Mawlana Mir Ali Heravi (d. 1544) was travelling with the same group of captives from Herat to Bukhara and took as his pupil Khwaja Mahmud, who received education and made such progress in Bukhara that his writing was preferred by some to that of his master, Mir Ali. By 1530–31, Mahmud b. Ishaq had already written a major work, The Collection of Wise Sayings of Ali. Khwaja Mahmud spent some time in Bukhara but after the death of Ubayd Khan in 1539 evidently took up residence in Balkh, where he is said to have joined the service of Shah Husayn Balkhi Shihabi and thus added the title Shihabi to his own name. Qadi Ahmad writes, “Many people assembled round him and he had no need of making inscriptions and producing specimens; therefore his writing is scarce.” Apart from the Collection of the Wise Sayings of Ali of 937 (1530–31) and the Yusuf va Zulaykh¸ manuscript of 964 (1557), he wrote a further manuscript after having returned from Balkh to Bukhara to work for the Shaybanid ruler Abu’l Ghazi Abdullah b. Iskandar (1557–98). He may have died in 991 (1583), when he was in his late sixties or early seventies.”

Provenance: Private UK collection

Illuminated Manuscript Of The Sayings Of Khawaja Abdallah Al-Ansari magnifing glass

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Calligrapher's Diploma (Ijazah) Given To Mehmed Hasib Pasha's Son Mehmed Eshref Beyefendi By His Calligraphy Teachers Mehmed Shefik Bey And Abdullah Zuhdi Bey

Arabic manuscript on paper, 3 lines to the page, written in thuluth and naskh and the rest in ijaza script, in black ink within cloud bands, set against a gold ground with pin-pricked cintamani motifs and polychrome rococo decoration, outer margins of scrolling ribbons and flowers, laid down on stout paper. The present ijazeh was given to Mehmed Eshref Bey Efendi, son of Mehmed Hasib Pasha, and signed by his tutors Abdullah Zuhdi and Mehmed Shefik, in 1272 AH/1855 AD. The calligrapher is the son of Mehmed Hasib Paşa who was the minister of pious endowments (evkaf naziri tr.) between 1844 and 1848. The teachers who granted this diploma, Abdullah Zuhdi and Mehmed Shefik, were both court calligraphers. Mehmed Shefik studied calligraphy with Ali Vasfi and then with Mustafa Izzet Efendi. In 1845 he was appointed teacher of calligraphy to the Muzika-i Hümayun, the imperial brass band. Together with the master calligrapher Abdulfettah, he was sent by Sultan Abdulmecid (r. 1839–61) to Bursa to repair the inscriptions in the Ulu Cami (congregational mosque), which had been severely damaged in the earthquake of 1855. His inscriptions there are among his finest works. During the three years he spent on this project he also wrote inscriptions in other mosques. He passed away in 1880. Abdullah Zuhdi was born in Damascus and came to Istanbul as a child. He studied calligraphy first under the supervision of Rashid-i Eyyubi and later Kadıasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi. He became a famous for his mastery both in calligraphy and painting. Sultan Abdulmecid who appreciated his works, ordered him to design the monumental calligraphic bands of the Haram al-Sharif in Medina. He stayed in Medina and worked on the monumental inscriptions of the mosque of the Prophet Muhammad. He then moved to Cairo and lived there until his death in 1879.

Provenance: Ex-private UK collection

Calligrapher's Diploma (Ijazah) Given To Mehmed Hasib Pasha's Son Mehmed Eshref Beyefendi By His Calligraphy Teachers Mehmed Shefik Bey And Abdullah Zuhdi Bey magnifing glass

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Highly Important Copy Of The Qur’an Signed By Huseyin Hilmi Al-Uskudari

A remarkably fine copy, both in terms of its calligraphy and illumination. Arabic manuscript on paper, 309ff. plus six fly-leaves, each folio with 15ll. of crystalline black naskh script, the rosette verse markers each worked in a different manner in gold and polychrome, sura headings in white naskh script on gold ground within illuminated cartouche with floral decoration, text within black-ruled two-colour gold frame, section markers in white naskh script within finely illuminated floral medallions, with catchwords, opening bifolio with very finely illuminated margins on gold ground, text followed by a folio decorated with large floral composition, followed by the colophon stating that this is the scribe's eighth copy of the Qur'an, in original green morocco binding with flap, with two-colour gold floral decoration, with gilt brown doublures. The nisba of the calligrapher “al-Uskudari” indicates that he was born in the Uskudar district, on the Asian shore of Istanbul, also known to the West as “Skutari”. The crystalline precision of the naskh script points the calligrapher’s excellent pedigree, linking him to calligraphy masters of Istanbul who almost always share a distinctive, sharp hand, hardly found elsewhere. The naskh script does not follow the usual Ottoman standards which are built on the canonical proportions invented by the legendary masters Sheikh Hamdullah Efendi (d. 1520) and Hafız Osman Efendi (d. 1698). The naskh script features less soft, more solid and sharp proportions which links the calligrapher to Mahmud Celaleddin Efendi (d. 1829), the founder of this distinctive style. Mahmud Celaleddin Efendi and his student Mehmed Tahir Efendi, the calligraphy tutor of Sultan Abdulmecid (r. 1839-1861), mastered this new style. The illumination of the frontispiece is remarkable since it displays an eclectic approach, rarely found in Ottoman manuscript illumination, gracefully joining classical Ottoman and European decorative repertoire.

Provenance: Ex-Mohamed Makiya Collection

Highly Important Copy Of The Qur’an Signed By Huseyin Hilmi Al-Uskudari magnifing glass

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Rare And Fine Calligraphy In Thuluth And Naskh By Ottoman Court Calligrapher Ibrahim Daimi

The present, extremely fine calligraphy comprises a Bismillah in muhaqqaq and hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad in naskh script. The original illumination reflects the taste of the period with its characteristic floral decorative repertoire applied on a gold background.

Ibrahim Daimi (d. 1756)

In his youth Ibrahim Daimi was one of the servants of Ahmed Ağa who served Grand-vizier Hekimbaşı-zade Ali Paşa. He became a member of the Mevlevi sufi order. He studied thuluth and naskh scripts under the supervision of the master court calligrapher Şeker-zade Mehmed Efendi, who worked for the imperial palace during the reign of Sultan Ahmed

III (r. 1703-1730). Ibrahim Daimi was employed in the Galata Sarayı (the Galata Palace) as a scribe and then was appointed as calligraphy tutor to the Topkapi Palace. He passed away in Istanbul, in 1756. He is buried in the Karaca Ahmed cemetery, just next to the grave of the legendary late 15th century master Sheikh Hamdullah Efendi (d. 1520). A Qur’an copied by this calligrapher, endowed by the chief-eunuch Haci Beşir Ağa, is in the library of the Ayasofya Mosque, Istanbul. Two of his works in thuluth and naskh scripts are published by Şevket Rado, in Türk Hattatları (1980), p. 158.

Rare And Fine Calligraphy In Thuluth And Naskh By Ottoman Court Calligrapher Ibrahim Daimi magnifing glass

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Important Calligraphic Panel Signed Mehmed Es’ad Al-yesari

Calligraphy in jali Nas-ta’liq script, signed by the famous Ottoman court calligrapher Mehmed Es’ad al-Yesari. The couplet in Persian reads:

"Fānist jihān dar u vafā nīst
Bāqī hama ūst jumla fānīst"

(This world is perishable and has no fidelity,
Only God is eternal, the rest is mortal)


Mehmed Es’ad al-Yesari (D. 1798)

Yesari Mehmed Es'ad was born in Istanbul, the son of Kara Mahmud Aga. The nickname al-Yesari derives from the fact that he was left handed. In fact he was also paralyzed on the right side and afflicted with tremors on the left, making his talent for calligraphy, and in particular the nas-tal'iq script even more notable. He first studied with a master of nas-ta'liq, Shaykh al-Islam Wali al-Din Efendi (Veliyüddin Efendi) and then with Dedezadeh Muhammad Sa'id Efendi from whom he received his calligrapher's diploma (ijazah) in 1754.

The present panel (levha), dated AH 1196, corresponds to the very beginning of what can be described as Yesari's career peak with his innovative style, between AH 1196/1782 AD and AH 1200/1786 AD. Having closely followed the style of the great Safavid master of nasta'liq script, Mir 'Imad (1554-1615) - he was sometimes known as 'Imad-i Rum, the 'Imad of Anatolia, Yesari began to develop his own style which led to an new Ottoman method. Yesari Es'ad was appointed calligraphy instructor at the Imperial Palace by Sultan Mustafa III (r. 1789-1807) and Sultan Selim III (r. 1789-1807) admired his monumental inscriptions. He wrote the inscription of a panel in the mihrab of the Hagia Sophia and others for the Tomb of Sultan Mehmet II, the Barracks of the Black Eunuchs at Topkapi, the Beylerbeyi Mosque and the Aynali Kavak Sarayi which are amongst the finest examples of nas-ta‘liq in Ottoman monumental calligraphy. His other recorded works are calligraphic samples, one dated AH 1193/1779-80 AD which he copied from Mir 'Imad (Mahdi Bayani, Ahval va Asar-e Khosh-Nevisan, Vol. III, Tehran, 1348, p. 633).

Provenance: Private UK Collection

Important Calligraphic Panel Signed Mehmed Es’ad Al-yesari magnifing glass

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Ottoman Calligraphy in Jali Thuluth Signed Mahmud Cemaleddin

Alayka 'awn-Allah (May God's divine aid be upon you)
Dated 1300 AH / 1882 AD
Turkey

Ottoman Calligraphy in Jali Thuluth Signed Mahmud Cemaleddin magnifing glass

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Jami, Tuhfat al-Ahrar, copied by Muhammad Qasim, Persia, Safavid

This exquisite version of Jami’s Tuhfat al-Ahrar, originally in the library of Suleyman Shah I, was copied by Muhammed Qasim Ibn Shadishah, one of the leading masters of nasta'liq script during the reign of Sultan Husayn Bayqara in the late Timurid/early Safavid period.
The text begins with the opening verses of Auhadi’s Jam u Jam, followed by the complete text of 'Abd al-Rahman Jami’s Tuhfat al-Ahrar. The frontispiece is attributable to Shaykhzade on account of its close resemblance to the frontispiece of the Bustan of Sa'di formerly in the Art and History Trust Collection (where it is attributed to Shaykhzade, see Soudavar 1992, pp.195-96, and sold in these rooms 8-9 October 1979, lot 261). The present manuscript is of royal provenance, as indicated by the Persian note on the fly leaf stating that this manuscript was once included in Suleyman Shah's library (r.1666-94).

MUHAMMAD QASIM B. SHADISHAH
Muhammad Qasim Shadishah, as he is referred to by Malik Dailami, was one of the leading masters of the nasta‘liq script characteristic of the early Safavid period. According to Dailami, he studied under Sultan ‘Ali Mashhadi (d.1520), whose students included Safavid court calligraphers such as 'Abdi Nishapuri, Rustam ‘Ali, Sultan Muhammad Khandan, and Sultan Muhammad Nur. Sultan ‘Ali Mashhadi is also mentioned as Muhammad Qasim’s teacher by Shams al-Din Muhammad Vasfi (Thackston 2001, p.33 and Roxburgh 2001, p.101), although Dust Muhammad mentions him as the student of Maulana Sultan Muhammad Nur and Maulana Sultan Muhammad Khandan (see Bayani 1966-69, p.1:272-279, Thackston 2001, pp.10-11, 21, 25, fol.12a/3, and Soucek 2003, pp.52-53).

There are seven recorded works of Muhammad Qasim Shadishah, as follows:


Muhammad Qasim b. Shahdishah participated in the production of an anthology of poetry, dated in 1524, for the Safavid vizier Khawaja Malik Ahmad, the governor of Herat under Shah Isma'il. The anthology bears the signatures of 'Ali al-Husayni, Muhammad Qasim b. Shadishah and Muhammad Khandan (see Roxburgh 2005, p.179).

SHAYKHZADE
Shaykhzade, a court painter of the Safavid period active between 1510 and 1550, is famed for his signed works and collaborations with renowned calligraphers such as Muhammad Qasim Shadishah. Spending his early career in Herat, his style was influenced by Bihzad, who is recorded by the Ottoman chronicler Mustafa 'Ali Efendi as his tutor. He then moved to Bukhara to work under the royal library-atelier patronised by Ubaydallah Khan. Shaykhzade’s painting style evolved slowly as he continued to work with the same late Timurid elements of design. By the 1520s, his paintings were akin to the work of the best illuminators, filled with fine arabesque patterns and intricate geometric motifs designed in a minute scale.

Jami, Tuhfat al-Ahrar, copied by Muhammad Qasim, Persia, Safavid magnifing glass

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Selections From The Poetry Of Mir Ali-shir Nava'i in Turkish, Copied by 'Abd al-Rahim al-Ya'qubi, Persia, Aq-Qoyunlu

Produced under the royal patronage of the Aq Qoyunlu Sultan Ya'qub, copied and signed by the court calligrapher Abdurrahim Yaqubi (Khawarazmi), this manuscript is the earliest dated copy containing the poems of Ali-shir Nava'i, the great master of early Turkic literature. Its regal provenance is confirmed by the scribe’s reference to al-Sultani, as well as his nisba, Ya'qubi, (indicating relation or origin), signifying that he was in the service of Sultan Ya'qub, who commissioned the manuscript.

Sultan Ya’qub b. Hasan Aq Qoyonlu was the ruler of Western Persia from 1478 to 1490. As the patron of this manuscript, he is depicted in the miniature below the colophon, in line with the known tradition. Another miniature beneath the colophon which depicts the presentation of the manuscript to its patron is the Divan-i Husayni in the Topkapi Palace Museum Library (inv.no. EH 1636, f.123a). The patron is identified as Sultan Husayn Bayqara, to whom the head of the kitabkhana is presenting the manuscript, confirming this custom (published in Filiz Cagman’s article, 'The miniatures of the Divan-i Husayni and the influence of their style', Fifth International Congress of Turkish Art, ed. G. Fehér, Budapest: Akademiai Kiado, 1978, p.245.

As an Aq Qoyunlu Sultan, Ya'qub was very interested in Chaghatay poetry and is known to have also commissioned a copy of Mir Haydar Khawarazmi’s Chaghatai poem Makhzan al-Asrar ('Treasury of Secrets') completed on 25 Jumada I 883 AH/24 August 1478 AD, now in the New York Public Library (Pers. Ms.41, see S. Blair, Islamic Calligraphy, Edinburgh University, 2006, p.52).

Khawarazmi was particularly close to the Sultan and adopted the pen-name Anisi (friend), which was apparently bestowed upon him by Ya'qub himself in recognition of their friendship. He also signed as Sultani (Royal) and Yaqubi (belonging to Sultan Yaqub, see Bayani 1966-69). The son of Abdurrahman Khwarazmi, who was one of the founders of the canons of nasta'liq script, Abdurrahim was apparently born and raised in Shiraz, where he practised calligraphy from an early age as indicated by a fragment of calligraphy now in Istanbul stating that it was copied during his eleventh year.

Working as the royal scribe at court, Abdurrahim gained fame thanks to his association with Sultan Ya'qub. He also worked for two other members of the Aqqqoyonlu dynasty, Kalil b. Hasan and Rostam b. Ya'qub, as well as completed a copy of Nizami’s Khamsa, originally commissioned by the Timurid prince Abu al-Qasim Babur (r.1447-57), passing unfinished to Qaraqoyunlu Jahan Shah’s son Pir Budaq and eventually to the Aqqoyunlu ruler Kalil (now in the Topkapi Palace Museum Library, inv.no. H.782). Although after the death of Sultan Ya'qub, officials of the Aqqoyunlu state continued to patronise artists, Abdurrahim worked as a teacher for calligraphers such as Esedullah Kirmani, Muhammad Kirmani and Molla 'Ali Sultan, who served at the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman’s court.

(Mir) 'Ali-shir Nava'i, also known as Nizam-al-Din ʿAli-Shir Herawi (1441-1501), generally known under his pen-name, Nava'i ('the melodic' or 'musical'), was an important politician, mystic, linguist, painter, and poet. Born and raised in the city of Herat, he is remembered in Uzbekistan's history as one of the founding fathers of Uzbek literature and a great contributor to Chagatai works, significantly adding to the development of the Uzbek language.

Whereas the earliest recorded dated manuscript with a lacquered binding is the Divan of Sultan Husayn Bayqara, dated 1492 (Topkapi Palace Museum – Emanet Hazinesi: 1636), the present manuscript, dated 1480, predates the Topkapi manuscript, marking it out as one of the earliest surviving examples of Islamic lacquer (see J. Thompson, and S. Canby, Hunt for Paradise: Court Arts of Safavid Iran, 1501-1576, Skira, 2003, p.185).

Loose pages from this manuscript have been preserved in stately and private collections, notably in the Art and History Trust Collection (published in Soudavar 1992, p.117). Notable stylistic parallels can be drawn between this manuscript and the Divan-i Selimi (the collected poems of Sultan Selim I, r.1512–20) now in the Istanbul University Library, inv.no. F.1330, displaying its influence on Ottoman manuscript illustration (see Atil 1987, p.70).

Selections From The Poetry Of Mir Ali-shir Nava'i in Turkish magnifing glass

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An Extremely Rare and Important Manuscript Copy of Dua Al-Usbuiyyah Copied by Mehmed Cemal Al-Din Amasi, Turkey

The present work belongs to a small group of early Ottoman manuscripts produced by calligraphers of the so-called Amasya school in the fifteenth century. The text of the manuscript consists of seven prayers, each dedicated to one day of the week.

Other than the piece to hand, there is only one other known manuscript copied by Mehmed Cemal Amasi, a Qur'an in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (Inv. No.97), Istanbul, dated 1507. The Istanbul Qur'an provides ample testimony to the scribes proficiency in Naskh and Riqa' scripts. However, the real mastery of Mehmed Cemal can be observed in the present manuscript, with the employment of three different calligraphic styles; Muhaqqaq, Thuluth and Rayhani. The manuscript was transcribed twenty-four years earlier than the Istanbul manuscript and furthermore, the gold applied on the whole text and the finesse of the binding indicate a royal patronage. We have many good reasons to believe that the patron of the manuscript was Sultan Bayazid II's elder son Prince Ahmed (d.1516), governor of Amasya.

Prince Ahmed's interest in the arts is well known and other works of art are recorded which bear benedictory inscriptions in his name. Indeed it is possible that the Prince might have employed Cemal Amasi as a response to his father's sincere affection for Shaykh Hamdullah, the court calligrapher in Istanbul.

Calligraphic works of Amasi masters are extremely rare, and they display an innovative approach to the canonisation of certain scripts, marking a turning point in the history of Islamic calligraphy. Documenting the departure from the school of Yaq'ut al-Mustasimi, works of Amasi calligraphers mark the beginning of a new era in which the proportions of the six main pens (aqlam sittah) were re-established. Mehmed Cemal Amasi's Dua al-Usbuiyyah is a masterpiece of early Ottoman calligraphy, displaying the crystalline perfection of the scribe's hand in three different calligraphic scripts, whilst documenting the birth and evolution of the Amasya school which had an immense impact on the formation of the canonic styles of Ottoman calligraphy.

Mehmed Cemal b. Celal al-Din Amasi (d. circa 1510)
Born in Amasya, Mehmed Cemal Amasi studied calligraphy under the supervision of his father Celal al-Din Amasi. He was responsible for the monumental inscriptions of the Mosque of Sultan Bayazid II, built in 1486 in Amasya. Mehmed Cemal Amasi was a relation of the famous court calligrapher Sheikh Hamdullah (d.1526), and it is likely that he moved to Istanbul after Hamdullah's arrival there in 1481. His brother Muhiddin Amasi, his father Celal Amasi and his grandfather Ahmed Amasi were all leading calligraphers of the period.

An Extremely Rare and Important Manuscript Copy of Dua Al-Usbuiyyah Copied by Mehmed Cemal Al-Din Amasi, Turkey magnifing glass

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