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Album of Ottoman Calligraphy

This album (muraqqaʿ) of calligraphy in an accordion format was compiled in Ottoman Turkey in the twelfth century AH / eighteenth CE. It consists of leaves bearing fragmentary passages from the Qur’an (chapter 2 [Sūrat al-baqarah], 2:65-68 and chapter 4 [Sūrat al-nisāʾ], 4:103-106); sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (hadith); and two sheets of pen exercises (ḳaralama). The Qur’anic verses and the passages of hadith are written in vocalized naskh and thuluth scripts in black ink. Fol. 5a bears the name of the Ottoman calligrapher Şeyh Hamdullah (Ḥamd Allāh al-Amāsī, d. 926 AH / 1520 CE). Şeyh Hamdullah was the most celebrated calligrapher of his time and influenced subsequent generations of calligraphers. Each page in the album is framed by eighteenth-century marbled borders. The sheepskin binding with central lobed medallion has a central panel filled with chamois leather and probably dates to the twelfth century AH / eighteenth CE.

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