Name of Object:



Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Original Owner:

Pertevniyal Valide Sultan (d. 1300 / 1883; wife of Sultan Mahmud II and mother of Sultan Abdülaziz (‘Abd al-‘Aziz) I; queen mother from 1277–92 / AD 1861–76)

Date of Object:

Hegira Safar 1259 / AD March 1843

Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Calligrapher: Kazasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi; illuminators: Mehmet Salih Efendi, Mustafa Rashid Efendi.

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Finished (aharlı) paper, written using black ink and illuminated with gilding and various colours; leather (binding).


Height 28 cm, width 19 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Istanbul, Turkey.


Written in naskhi script in black ink on delicate finished (aharlı) paper, the pages have thick gilded marginal lines and 13 lines of text per page. There are 346 pages in all. The first sura (al-Fatiha) and the first four verses of the second (al-Baqara) are illuminated with gilding between the lines of text. The chapter headings on the two facing pages on which these verses are written, as well as the areas outside the marginal lines, are covered with leaves of gilding and very colourful illumination in the Turkish Baroque-Rococo style. All the chapter headings are written in white tawqi' script on top of gilded illumination. Individual verses are separated by individuated gold rosettes, and rose motifs of various forms in the page margins mark the end of every five and 10 verses. The leather binding is brown on the outside and green on the inside. The exterior of the binding has floral designs rendered freely and naturalistically in green and yellow gilding.

The calligrapher of this Qur'an, Mustafa Izzet Efendi (AH 1215–92 / AD 1801–76), was born in Tosya and came to Istanbul for his education. He learned calligraphy from Mustafa Vasıf and Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet Efendi. His most famous works are hilyas (prose descriptions of the Prophet Muhammad) and sheets with calligraphic exercises called istif. The inscriptions on the drum of the dome of Ayasofya, among the Islamic world's most famous, are by him.

Two different artists worked on this Qur'an's decoration. They are Mehmet Salih, who was chief bookbinder at the Ottoman court in the time of Sultan Abdülmecid ['Abd al-Majid], and his apprentice Rashid Effendi.

Beginning in the 12th / 18th century, Turkish art experienced change under the influence of European art. This style, known as Turkish Baroque-Rococo, is reflected in the arts of the book. This Qur'an is the most beautiful example of its application to book decoration.

View Short Description

Illumination is a natural part of Qur'ans. Illuminators used naturalistic floral motifs influenced by Europe alongside classical elements to illuminate the Qur'ans during the AH 12th–13th / AD 18th–19th centuries.

How date and origin were established:

According to the date found on the manuscript it was written in Safar 1259 (AD March 1843).

How Object was obtained:

Transferred to the Museum from the tomb of Pertevniyal Valide Sultan in 1926.

How provenance was established:

The manuscript was found at the tomb of Pertevniyal Valide Sultan, who donated it to be read at the complex bearing her name in AH 1284 / AD 1868. The work's calligrapher and illuminators were court artists. For this reason it is almost certain to have been made in Istanbul.

Selected bibliography:

Aksoy, Ş. “Kitap Sanatlarında Türk-Barok-Rokoko üslubu”, Sanat 6 (July 1977), pp.126–36.

Ölçer, N. et al, In Pursuit of Excellence: The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul, 1993, pp.62–5.

Ölçer, N. et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, pp.326–27.

Citation of this web page:

Şule Aksoy "Qur’an" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;tr;Mus01;36;en

Prepared by: Şule AksoyŞule Aksoy

Şule Aksoy is Vice Director of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul. She was born in Istanbul in 1947. She graduated from the Department of History and Art History of the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University in 1970. She has been working at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul since 1967, first as an expert, then as the Head of the Manuscripts Department until 2003, when she became Vice Director. She has participated in numerous projects and exhibitions organised by the museum and is the author of various publications.

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 GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: TR 65


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