Author: Atasoy, Nurhan
Publication Date & Place: 1997 / İstanbul
(Antiquarian / Condition: New)
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136 pp, color figures, hb, in box, in English.
This is a beautiful, slipcased, presentation or gift item. The Slipcase and Book Cover are a facsimile reproduction of the binding which covers the original 1582 book located in Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul. In 1582 Istanbul was the scene of a great celebration that enthralled the city for fifty-two days and fifty-two nights. Sultan Murad III had decreed that a feast be held to celebrate the circumcision of his son, Crown Prince Mehmed, that would be remembered for years to come. At the Sultans command, this incomparably splendid event was immortalized in the form of a book, the Surname-I Hümayun or An Imperial Celebration, in which the complete story of the festivities was written down and illustrated. The resulting work is an uniquely valuable source of information for Turkish culture and the history of art. For all its descriptions and illustrations vividly bringing the circumcision festivities to life, the Surname is more than just a work of art.
This work, which was thought valuable enough in its day to be entered in the inventory of the Imperial Treasury and is now in the Topkapi Saray Museum library, provides us with a panoramic view of life in the Ottoman imperium, and of the economy, society, culture, and art of its capital city, Istanbul, in the late 16th century. Here Professor Emeritus Nurhan Atasoy focuses on thirty scenes from the Surname, chosen to give the reader an idea of the flow of the original works descriptions and depictions of events. The full-page illustrations are accompanied with details as an aid to the reader in deciphering the sometimes esoteric language of Ottoman miniatures. This method has the additional advantage of highlighting the most important elements of a scene for those interested in the Surname as a sourcebook on cultural history