About the event
Presenting one aspect of an ongoing research project on a group of Ottoman manuscripts famously attributed to the historian and courtier Matrakçı Nasuh (d. ca 1564), this lecture focuses on a compilation of manuscript fragments and topographical views in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek/ Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek in Dresden. A thorough codicological examination revealed that these were made as parts of a single project in the 1540s and early 1550s (which also produced nine other non-illustrated manuscripts currently in Berlin, Cambridge, Istanbul, London, St Petersburg and Vienna) and served as drafts for two illustrated manuscripts that are now in the Topkapi Palace collection in Istanbul.
The Dresden drafts bear witness to the teamwork behind the corpus attributed to Matrakçı, involving an author/editor (quite possibly, though not necessarily, Matrakçı Nasuh), bureaucrats, scribes and artists, at the initial stages of a long-winded effort to produce an illustrated record of the Ottoman sultans’ achievements – an effort that would continue until the end of the sixteenth century and generate a series of lavishly illustrated narratives. Situating this experimental early phase of writing and illustrating Ottoman dynastic history within the evolving cultural policies and courtly structures of the time, this talk shifts attention from final product to process; from painting to relationship between text and image; and from high point to early experimentation.
Zeynep Yürekli is Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the University of Oxford, UK. She specializes in Ottoman Studies, but her research interests also extend to pre-modern Iran and Central Asia. Her publications explore aspects of architecture, cult of the saints, hagiography, historiography and manuscripts in the early modern period.
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