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Melis Taner

Caught in a Whirlwind: A Cultural History of Ottoman Baghdad as Reflected in its Illustrated Manuscripts focuses on a period of great artistic vitality in the region of Baghdad, a frontier area that was caught between the rival Ottoman and the Safavid empires. In the period following the peace treaty of 1590, a corpus of more than thirty illustrated manuscripts and several single page paintings were produced. In this book Melis Taner presents a contextual study of the vibrant late sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century Baghdad art market, opening up further avenues of research on art production in provinces and border regions.

Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)

Volume I: Essays
Volume II: Transliteration and Facsimile, "Register of Books" (Kitāb al-kutub)

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Edited by Gülru Necipoğlu, Cemal Kafadar and Cornell H. Fleischer

The subject of this two-volume publication is an inventory of manuscripts in the book treasury of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, commissioned by the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II from his royal librarian ʿAtufi in the year 908 (1502–3) and transcribed in a clean copy in 909 (1503–4). This unicum inventory preserved in the Oriental Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MS Török F. 59) records over 5,000 volumes, and more than 7,000 titles, on virtually every branch of human erudition at the time. The Ottoman palace library housed an unmatched encyclopedic collection of learning and literature; hence, the publication of this unique inventory opens a larger conversation about Ottoman and Islamic intellectual/cultural history. The very creation of such a systematically ordered inventory of books raises broad questions about knowledge production and practices of collecting, readership, librarianship, and the arts of the book at the turn of the fifteenth century. The first volume contains twenty-eight interpretative essays on this fascinating document, authored by a team of scholars from diverse disciplines, including Islamic and Ottoman history, history of science, arts of the book and codicology, agriculture, medicine, astrology, astronomy, occultism, mathematics, philosophy, theology, law, mysticism, political thought, ethics, literature (Arabic, Persian, Turkish/Turkic), philology, and epistolary. Following the first three essays by the editors on implications of the library inventory as a whole, the other essays focus on particular fields of knowledge under which books are catalogued in MS Török F. 59, each accompanied by annotated lists of entries. The second volume presents a transliteration of the Arabic manuscript, which also features an Ottoman Turkish preface on method, together with a reduced-scale facsimile.

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Farouk Yahya

This book offers an integrated study of the texts and images of illustrated Malay manuscripts on magic and divination from private and public collections in Malaysia, the UK and Indonesia. Containing some of the rare examples of Malay painting, these manuscripts provide direct evidence for the intercultural connections between the Malay region, other parts of Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. In this richly illustrated volume many images and texts are gathered for the first time, making this book essential reading for all those interested in the practice of magic and divination, and the history of Malay, Southeast Asian and Islamic manuscript art.