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On display in the Exhibition(s)The Ottomans | Guardians of the Holy Sites
Figurative Art | Human Representation
The Ottomans | Art in the Spaces of Prayer
Name of Object:
Siyer-i Nebi (‘Biography of the Prophet’)Holding Museum:
Museum of Turkish and Islamic ArtsOriginal Owner:
Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet
The original owner is unknown, but a seal belonging to the wife of Sultan Mahmud II, Pertevniyal Valide Sultan (d. AH 1300 /AD 1883; queen mother from AH 1277–92 / AD 1861–76), bearing the date AH 1279 / AD 1862–63, is found on pages 1a and 545aMuseum Inventory Number:
Height 38 cm, width 26 cmMaterial(s) / Technique(s):
Finished (aharlı) paper, black ink, watercolour, gilding, leather (binding).Date of Object:
mid hegira 11th century / AD 17th centuryPeriod / Dynasty:
OttomanArtist(s) / Craftsperson(s):
illuminator: Sayyid Süleyman Kasım Pasha.Provenance:
The work is written in Turkish on delicate finished (aharlı) paper using 13 lines per page of large naskhi script. The text is written within gilded margins in black ink; proper names are written in red ink. The areas between the lines of text are filled with gilding whose edges are traced in black. The six-volume Siyer-i Nebi or 'Biography of the Prophet' tells of the life of the Prophet Muhammad and of the history of Islam up until his death. The volume in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is a copy of the fourth volume and has 545 folios. A total of 193 miniatures depict the subjects within. The first page, an illuminated title page, is decorated with gilding. On those pages with miniatures, the painting is situated between the top and bottom two lines of text. The volume's brown leather binding is adorned with an oval medallion with palmette pendants and corner-pieces.
The fourth volume begins with the birth of the Prophet's daughter, Fatima, and goes on to describe her marriage to 'Ali; the miracles of Muhammad; the love of Talha and Gamza; tales of heroic Muslim women; the preparation for the battle of Badr and the battle itself; Muhammad's wounding at the battle of Uhud; the death of the Prophet's uncle Hamza; the distribution of the spoils of war; the story of Ka'b and his daughter; and the killing of the Muslims' enemy, Sufyan ibn Khalid.
Siyer-i Nebi was prepared in six volumes by the palace atelier at the behest of Sultan Murad III in the AH 10th / AD 16th century. Today one volume is lost, while the others are dispersed in libraries around the world. The manuscript in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is a copy (made in the AH 11th- / AD 17th-century) of a manuscript of the fourth volume of Siyer-i Nebi in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, (T. 419). The miniatures are stylistically typical of the period.
View Short DescriptionHow Object was obtained:
The manuscript was transferred to the Museum in 1334 / 1916 from the library of the complex in Aksaray (Istanbul) founded by the wife of Sultan Mahmud II and mother of Sultan Abdülaziz I ('Abd al-'Aziz), Pertevniyal Valide Sultan (d. AH 1300 /AD 1883; queen mother from AH 1277–92 / AD 1861–76).How date and origin were established:
The style of the miniatures is characteristic of the 11th / 17th century.How provenance was established:
Manuscripts of this quality and cost can only have been made in the palace atelier.Selected bibliography:
çığ, K., “Türk ve İslam Eserleri Müzesi'ndeki Minyatürlü Kitapların Kataloğu”, Şarkiyat Mecmuası, III (1959), pp.51–90.ملخص هذه الصفحة:
Tanındı, Z., Siyer-i Nebi. İslam Resim Sanatında Hazreti Muhammed'in Hayatı, Istanbul 1984, pp.156–9.
ölçer, N., et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, pp.292–5.
Sevgi Kutluay "Siyer-i Nebi (‘Biography of the Prophet’)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2015. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;tr;Mus01;30;en
Prepared by: Sevgi Kutluay
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: TR 56