The following two lots are examples of a rare tradition of ta'liq calligraphy in Ottoman Turkey. Naskh was the preferred style for religious texts due to its clarity and diacritical marks and there are very few examples of Qur'ans written in other scripts.
Ta'liq started to be used in Turkey at the beginning on the fifteenth century in official documents (see a fathnama issued by Mehmed I c.1415, in Blair 2006, p.381) but it was only with Es'ad Yesari, considered the "Sheikh Hamdullah of the Ottoman ta'liq script" (Safwat 2014, p.223), that this style reached its apex.
Mehmed ‘Arif Efendi and his son, Mehmed Sa’dullah Efendi, who studied with the master Yesari, are emblems of this niche ta'liq tradition in Turkey during the nineteenth century.
Son of Arabzade Ataullah Efendi, Mehmed ‘Arif Efendi was brought up in an ilmiye (religious-scholar) class of Ottoman society (Derman 1998, p.102). The colophon of the present Qur’an states that this is the seventh copy he has written.
This manuscript is particularly interesting in two aspects: the use of ta’liq and the watermarked paper. Ta’liq was not a common script for the writing of the Qur’an or prayer books (for a prayer book copied by Mehmed ‘Arif’s son in ta’liq see the following lot), and few Qur’ans in ta’liq have survived. The most famous copy is now in the Topkapi Palace Library, inv. no.H.S.25 (published in Farhad 2016, p.87) and dated to the Safavid period. Ottoman examples are quite rare, with one slightly later copy by Kadiasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi housed in the Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul, inv. no.281 (published in Derman 2010, p.330).
The presence of a watermark is also an interesting aspect of this Qur’an. The use of watermarked paper is fairly rare in Ottoman manuscripts and the most common paper at the time was of Italian origin (marked with the trelune - three-crescent moons, see Deroche 2005, p.58). This volume is made with a paper marked 'E&P 1799'. The presence of a date on the watermark is common in French papers since the seventeenth century but rarer in English examples as it was made compulsory in England only in 1794 (Carter 2004 p.230).
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