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, 2020.;ISL;tr;Mus01;47;en

Prepared by: Sevgi Kutluay
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 76