Name of Object:

Endowment Charter (Waqfiyya) of Haseki Hürrem Sultan


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

AH 964 / AD 1556–7

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Delicate finished (aharlı) paper, written using ink, watercolour, gilding; tooled leather (binding).


Length 28 cm, width 19 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Istanbul, Turkey.


This deed of trust for a pious foundation (waqf) belonging to the wife of Sultan Süleyman 'the Magnificent,' Haseki Hürrem Sultan, is written in Arabic on 49 pages of delicate finished (aharlı) paper and is dated AH 964 / AD 1557. The official monogram or tuğra of Sultan Süleyman (r. AH 926–74 / AD 1520–66) is found on page 1a. The text, which begins with a single-page heading, is written nine lines to the page in black ink within gold-ruled margins. The heading on page 1b and the spaces between the lines on page 2a are illuminated with gilding whose edges are traced in black.

The work's brown leather binding reflects the stylistic characteristics of 10th / 16th century bookbinding with its sunken oval medallion with pendants and corner-pieces. It was executed with a mould and painted with gilding. The inner covers are decorated with oval medallions cut out and pasted on. The medallions are decorated with arabesques (rumi) and Chinese-inspired (hatayi-style) floral motifs.

On pages 9b–10a of the deed are mentioned the buildings Sultan Süleyman ordered built in Jerusalem near the Dome of the Rock for his wife Hürrem Sultan, known from historical sources as the Haseki Hürrem Sultan Mosque, Madrasa and Imaret (soup-kitchen). Pages 12a–14b contain a detailed explanation as to how expenditures will be made to take care of the endowment's operations, such as the care and cleaning of the buildings, the salaries of the people who worked in them, and so forth. On pages 15b and 27a the number of commercial estates, mills, etc. donated from among Hürrem Sultan's landholdings to ensure revenue to the endowment is mentioned. But no information is given as to where these estates were located. The signatures of witnesses and Hürrem Sultan's seal are found on page 49a.

The deed, which also includes the signatures of witnesses, is an outstanding example of the arts of the book in the Classical Ottoman period, as well a valuable source of historical information about the Ottoman system of pious foundations and how it worked.

View Short Description

The waqfiyya or endowment charter of the charities in Jerusalem of Hürrem Sultan, wife of Süleyman the Magnificent, known for her political involvement, elegance and charitable works, is not only a historical document but also a beautiful example of book arts of the AH 10th / AD 16th century.

Original Owner:

Haseki Hürrem Sultan (also known as Khassaki Sultan, or as Roxelana, d. AH 965 / AD 1558)

How date and origin were established:

According to the document's colophon it was written in 964 (1557).

How Object was obtained:

Brought from the Directorate of Pious Foundations in 1919.

How provenance was established:

The deed was written in 964 / 1557. In addition, the calligraphy, the tuğra of Sultan Süleyman 'the Magnificent,' the binding and the quality of the illumination show that the work was probably prepared in the 10th / 16th century in the palace atelier in Istanbul.

Selected bibliography:

Soliman le magnifique, Paris, 1990, pp.38–9, cat. no. 17.

Citation of this web page:

Sevgi Kutluay "Endowment Charter (Waqfiyya) of Haseki Hürrem Sultan" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2022.;isl;tr;mus01;38;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 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 67


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