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, 2021.;ISL;tr;Mus01;38;en

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

MWNF Working Number: TR 67