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Details & Cataloguing

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Mahmoud Raif Efendi
CEDID ATLAS TERCÜMESI [A TRANSLATION OF A NEW ATLAS]. ÜKSKÜDAR (CONSTANTINOPLE): TAB'HANE-YI HÜMAYUNDA/MÜHENDUISHÂNE PRESS, 1218 AH (APRIL 1803-MARCH 1804)
Folio (548 x 378mm.), engraved pictorial title with the tughra of Sultan Selim III, 79 pp. of text in Ottoman Turkish, 24 HAND-COLOURED engraved maps after William Faden (2 on 2 sheets joined), most double-page, some folding, later linen-backed stiff wrappers, preserved in a modern custom-made green morocco-backed cloth box, lacking the celestial chart, occasional light spotting or dampstaining, some stains and browning, minor worming, some repaired tears and restoration, 2 maps expertly re-margined
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Provenance

Sheikh Abdulla bin Sefik, signature in Arabic, dated AD 1879

Literature

OCLC 54966656; Not in Philipps/Le Gear; Atabey; or Blackmer

Catalogue Note

A RARE COPY OF THE FIRST LARGE FOLIO WORLD ATLAS PRINTED IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD, "of which only 50 copies were printed" (Library of Congress).

Several copies were reserved for high ranking officials and important institutions. The remaining copies were partially destroyed in a warehouse fire during the Janissary revolt of 1807/8, during which Raif himself was killed. It is thought that a maximum of 20 complete examples might survive in institutional or private libraries.

This atlas was a prestigious project, published with the seal of approval of Sultan Selim III, who in 1792 had initiated the idea to model the Ottoman state along European lines, and who sought to introduce western technical and scientific knowledge to the state. In 1793 a Turkish embassy was sent to London, and Mahmoud Raif Efendi, author of the present work, was its chief secretary. During Raif's time in London, where he became proficient in English and French, it is likely that he acquired a copy of William Faden's General Atlas (published in 1796) and took it home when he returned to Constantinople in 1797. The maps in the Cedid Atlas are based on Faden's atlas, and are accompanied by Raif's geographical treatise Ucalet ül-Cografiye.

This copy is without the celestial chart (as often), but does contain all 24 terrestrial maps, including the 2 world maps and folding maps of the continents.

Boundless: Dubai

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Dubai