Arts of the Islamic World & India including Fine Rugs and Carpets

Arts of the Islamic World & India including Fine Rugs and Carpets

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 26. A fine illuminated Qur’an, copied by Suyolcuzade Mustafa Eyyubi, Turkey, Ottoman, circa 1675.

A fine illuminated Qur’an, copied by Suyolcuzade Mustafa Eyyubi, Turkey, Ottoman, circa 1675

Auction Closed

March 31, 12:40 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 GBP

Lot Details


Arabic manuscript on polished cream and buff paper, 440 leaves plus 4 fly-leaves, 13 lines to the page, written in neat black naskh, verses separated by pointed gold roundels, catchwords, surah headings in white thuluth against a gold ground within panels of foliate decoration, marginal devices of various forms in colours and two tones of gold, margins ruled in gold, fine opening illuminated frontispiece in colours and gold, composite leather binding decorated with gilt stamped medallions and scrollwork borders, red doublures flecked with gold, with flap

16.8 by 11.5cm.

text panel: 10.7 by 5.7cm. approx.

One of the key elements of the art of calligraphy in Ottoman Turkey is the silsila, the 'chain' of the calligrapher. In this respect, the relationship between teacher and pupil has acted as the continuous binding system for the past five hundred years. There is no better example of this relationship than the present Qur'an, copied by Suyolcuzade Mustafa Eyyubi, the teacher of the great Ottoman calligrapher Hafiz Osman (1642-98). 

Son of Suyolcu Ömer Ağa, Suyolcuzade Mustafa Eyyubi was born circa 1619 in the Eyup district of Istanbul, and initially trained under a certain Dede before studying with Dervish Ali (d.1673), under whom he received his ijazeh. Suyolcuzade was the last link in the silsila that started with Shaykh Hamdullah (d.1520), after which his most renowned pupil, Hafiz Osman, developed a new style.

A prolific and dedicated teacher, Suyolcuzade's best known pupils were Hocazade Mehmed (d.1695), Cabuzade Abdullah (d.1736), Kastamonulu Omer (d.1685/86) and Hafiz Osman (d.1698), with whom he was especially close. M. Ugur Derman notes that Hafiz Osman revered his master, to whom he walked four miles a day in all weathers to take lessons. He recalls the following story:

"...When Hafiz Osman had become a great master in his own right, he attended a gathering at which his former master was present. When the Grand Vizier asked with whom he had studied, Hafiz Osman turned toward Suyolcuzade and said, 'I am a graduate of His Excellency'. Mustafa Efendi was so deeply moved by these words that, as they were leaving, he kissed Hafiz Osman on the forehead and, with tears in his eyes, bade him good wishes." (M. Ugur Derman, Masterpieces of Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul, 2004, p.82).

Throughout the course of a lifetime's dedication, Suyolcuzade Mustafa copied more than fifty Qur'ans, although the number of daily prayers and single pieces (qit'as) are more numerous. A Qur'an signed by Suyolcuzade and dated 1087 AH/1676 AD, is in a private collection and was included in the 2010 Istanbul exhibition, published in the accompanying catalogue: M. Ugur Derman, Ninety-nine Qur'an Manuscripts from Istanbul, Istanbul, 2010, pp.152-3. A further Qur'an, dated 1081 AH/1670 AD, is in the collection of Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Sharjah, exhibited in 2009 at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization and published in the accompanying catalogue, M. Ugur Derman, Eternal Letters, Sharjah, 2009, pp.56-59, no.12. Both the abovementioned Qur'ans are of a roughly similar size to the present manuscript, and have closely comparable double page illuminated frontispieces in predominently blue and gold in a classical style.

A qit'a by the same scribe is published in M. Ugur Derman, Harflerin Aski, Istanbul 2014. pp.108-9, no.30, while another in naskh and thuluth scripts in in the Sakip Sabanci Museum, see Derman 2004, op.cit., pp.82-83, no.14). A manuscript of selected surahs of the Qur'an is in the collection of Cengiz Cetindogan, Istanbul, published in Nabil F. Safwat, Understanding Calligraphy The Ottoman Contribution, Part One, pp.186-9, no.30. Two other specimens of Suyolcuzade's hand are published in Sevket Rado, Turk Hattatlari, Istanbul, 1984, p.104.

Suyolcuzade Mustafa Eyyubi died in 1686 and was buried in Eyup, where he had lived his life. However, Müstakimzade Sadeddin Efendi noted in his Tuhfe-i Hattatin that "...he was sent on a campaign with the Sublime State", which we can only assume may have been the Vienna campaign in 1683 (cited in Derman 2009, op.cit., p.59). His tomb inscriptions were written by his grandson, Suyolcuzade Mehmed Necib (d.1757), who was also a calligrapher, and son of Suyolcuzade's pupil Omer Efendi.