Name of Object:

Qur’an binding


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

Hegira 1054 / AD 1644

Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Calligrapher: Mehmed bin Abdurrahman (Muhammad bin ‘Abd al-Rahman).

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Finished (aharli) paper, ink, watercolour; the leather binding tooled and gilded.


Height 66 cm, width 47 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Istanbul, Turkey.


The decoration on both the exterior and interior of the deep-red leather binding is achieved by moulding. On the outer and inner covers, a wide border frames a sunken oval medallion with palmette pendants and corner-pieces. The edges of the medallion, pendants and corner-pieces are tooled and gilded. There are two differences between the outer covers and the doublures: On the doublures all the decoration is executed in gold on a black background, with the exception of the main ground of the medallion, which is gilded. The border of the doublures has an inscription of Qur'anic verses, while the borders on the outer binding hold a floral composition. The floral compositions both inside and outside are in the so called saz style, distinguished by its fantastical serrated leaves, and painted with gilding. On the doublures, in between oval medallions filled with floral compositions, the 'Throne Verse' (2: 255) is written in thuluth script with gilding. The flap of the binding is inscribed with sura 56, verses 77–9. The balance maintained between decorated and undecorated areas of the binding, as well as the surface differences in the decorated areas, lend the surface a sense of depth.

This binding is a fine example of how the style of the famous AH 10th / AD 16th-century bookbinder Mehmed çelebi and his school continued to exert influence in the Ottoman court workshops of the AH mid-11th / AD 17th century, seen in details such as the saz style floral decoration and the sunken medallions and corner-pieces.

View Short Description

This Qur'an binding was made in the Ottoman palace ateliers. It is an important example of the AH 11th / AD 17th century, displaying all the characteristics of Turkish bookbinding art with great proficiency.

How date and origin were established:

According to the colophon it was written in AH 1054 / AD 1644. Although the name of the bookbinder is not known, the style of the floral composition on the binding suggests that it is from the same period as the calligraphy.

How Object was obtained:

Transferred to the Museum in 1911 from the tomb of Sultan Ahmed I.

How provenance was established:

The quality of the calligraphy, binding and illumination suggest that the work may have been produced in the palace atelier in Istanbul.

Selected bibliography:

Ölçer, N. et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, p.296.

Citation of this web page:

Sevgi Kutluay "Qur’an binding" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;ISL;tr;Mus01;47;en

Prepared by: Sevgi KutluaySevgi Kutluay

Sevgi Kutluay is the Head of the Calligraphy and Manuscripts Section at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul. She graduated from the Department of Archaeology and Art History at Hacettepe University, Ankara, in 1985 with the thesis “The Complexes of Kayseri Huand Hatun and Afşin Eshab-ı Kehf and the Development of Complexes in the Anatolian Seljuq Period”. She completed her Master's at the same department with a thesis entitled “Divriği Great Mosque and Its Decorative Programme” in 1989. She started working at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 1988 and has worked as an expert at various museums and departments of the ministry. She quit her Ph.D. entitled “The Diwan of Hüseyin Baykara and the 15th Century Manuscripts of Herat”. She participated in restoration projects on the wall paintings of Göreme Dark Church and Sumela Monastery in Trabzon and in the display designs of various museums.

Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.
, İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu

İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 76


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Islamic Dynasties / Period


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Calligraphy Leatherwork


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