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Calligraphic Galleon, 1766 AD

Calligraphic Galleon, Ottoman period

Calligraphic Galleon, Ottoman period, A.H. 1180 / 1766–67 A.D. Calligrapher: Abdul Qadir Hisari, Turkey

Flanked by two other galleons on the horizon, this carefully drawn imperial calligraphic galleon sits on a row of waves containing aphorisms. The imperial galleon with its wind-filled sails is an example of the sophistication of the Ottoman calligraphic tradition. The distinctive Ottoman imperial insignia (tughra), located on the stern of the square galley, dedicates the drawing to Sultan Mustafa bin Sultan Ahmed III (r. 1757–74). The prow, deck, hull, and stern of the galleon are a calligram (an image made out of calligraphic phrases). It contains the names of the seven sleepers of Ephesus and their dog Qitmir. The standard on the stern of the boat contains the apotropaic Throne verse (2:255) from the Qur’an. The combination of Qur’anic verse and the names of prophets, saints, and heroes found in the Qur’an endows this calligram with amuletic, auspicious, and talismanic powers. In the sky, like a sun disk, the dated signature of the calligrapher reads: Abdu’l Qadir al-Hisari in Akşehir in A.H. 1180 / 1766 A.D. The frame is composed of Ottoman Turkish poetry venerating the Prophet Muhammad.

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

  • islamic galleon

About the Author
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, in the City of New York. The Museum's collection of Islamic art ranges in date from the seventh to the nineteenth century. Its nearly twelve thousand objects reflect the great diversity and range of the cultural traditions of Islam, with works from as far westward as Spain and Morocco and as far eastward as Central Asia and India. Comprising sacred and secular objects, the collection reveals the mutual influence of artistic practices such as calligraphy, and the exchange of motifs such as vegetal ornament (the arabesque) and geometric patterning in both realms.
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