The conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II engendered transcultural exchanges and triggered competing projects for the renewal of the Roman Empire through the reuniting of Rome with Constantinople, the “New Rome.” These projects, promoted by successive popes of Rome and by the sultan of Constantinople-Istanbul, involved shifting alliances conjoining Christian and Muslim powers. The rhetoric of crusade and jihad formed the backdrop to Mehmed II’s elusive artistic conversations with Renaissance Italy, punctuated by moments of diplomacy and gift exchange with such city-states as Rimini, Naples, Florence, and Venice. It is against this background that this article reinterprets the sultan’s agency as a patron of Italianate art, arguing that he deliberately negotiated the expanding Western and Eastern horizons of his empire through visual cosmopolitanism and creative translation. The importation of foreign artistic idioms, along with the creation of an indigenous aesthetics of fusion, contributed to the construction of a multifaceted imperial identity. The cultivation of heterogeneous visual idioms—Ottoman, Timurid-Turkmen, Roman-Byzantine, and Italian Renaissance—resonated with the cultural pluralism of Constantinople, a site of encounter repopulated with a multiethnic and multiconfessional community to promote international trade and diplomacy. The epilogue traces the longevity of Mehmed II’s legacy throughout the sixteenth century.
In this volume marking the thirtieth anniversary of Muqarnas, the Editor reflects on the evolution of the journal over the years. To that end, the members of the Editorial and Advisory Boards were sent a questionnaire, asking them to comment on the contributions of Muqarnas and its Supplements series to the field of Islamic art and architecture studies over the past three decades, and to provide suggestions for future directions. Their observations, thoughts, and hopes for Muqarnas have been anonymously incorporated into this essay, which, in conversation with their comments, looks back on the history of the publication and offers some possibilities for the path it might take going forward. The goal here is neither to assess the historiography nor to examine the current state of the field thirty years after the opening essay of volume 1. Instead, the focus is on the development and impact of both Muqarnas and the Supplements series in a highly specialized field with relatively few and short-lived or sporadic journals, before turning to the successes and shortcomings of these publications, as outlined by some of the board members.
This article introduces an unpublished document concerning the water distribution network of the Topkapı Palace. Preserved in the Topkapı Palace Museum Archive, the undated document sheds light on not only the palace’s waterworks but also the locations and names of its earliest buildings. Clues suggest that it was written immediately after the 1509 earthquake. Its heading reads: “Description of the fountains and water jet fountains, some of which have been flowing since olden times and some of which were added later.” This oldest written source on the hydraulic landscape of the Topkapı Palace elucidates the original layout of the palace complex. It refers to the two architects responsible for this project as ʿAcem Miʿmar and Miʿmar Hamza, who are identified in this article as the chief architect who preceded Mimar Sinan, namely, Miʿmar ʿAlaʾüddin, nicknamed ʿAcem ʿAli (Persian ʿAli), and his son Hamza. The document is significant for understanding the water distribution networks and layout of the palace before a rebuilding campaign in the 1520s under this first chief architect of Sultan Süleyman.
The subjectivity of the gaze and its engagement with human experience had the capacity to incorporate the body, affect, sensation, and memory, thereby raising the status of the visual arts and architecture into potential sites of knowledge. This essay engages with the subject of the gaze and aesthetic experience by exploring the wonderment of the eye, the embodiment of vision through emotional states and desire, the disembodiment of the eye in introspective vision, and the cognitive capacity of sight to produce insight. Addressing these diverse yet interrelated themes, it considers the modalities of the gaze in new genres of Safavid and Ottoman texts on the arts and architecture, starting with their origin in medieval paradigms of visual perception and artistic creation. These more specialized sixteenth–seventeenth-century Persian and Turkish sources include treatises on the visual arts, album prefaces, biographies of architects, and biographical anthologies of calligraphers and painter-decorators.
Edited by Gülru Necipoglu
In Muqarnas articles are published on all aspects of Islamic visual culture, historical and contemporary, as well as articles dealing with unpublished textual primary sources.
Edited by Gülru Necipoğlu
Muqarnas 29 features a subset of articles involving cross-cultural interactions between East and West as manifested in the visual culture of the region. Articles addressing this theme include “Visual Cosmopolitanism and Creative Translation: Artistic Conversations with Renaissance Italy in Mehmed II’s Constantinople,” by Gülru Necipoğlu, and “The Bride of Trebizond: Turks And Turkmens on a Florentine Wedding Chest, circa 1460,” by Cristelle Baskins. The “Notes and Sources” section highlights new research on the medieval town of Hulbuk in Central Asia.
Contributors include: Gülru Necipoğlu, Cristelle Baskins, Ana Pulido-Rull, Matt D. Saba, Jasmin Badr, Mustafa Tupev, Ünver Rustem, Ethem Eldem and Pierre Siméon.
Edited by Gülru Necipoğlu
Muqarnas 28 contains articles on a number of topics including shadow puppets, the concept of fann, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, and seventeenth-century Persian painting. The "Notes and Sources" section includes a discussion of an early fifteenth-century Khamsa in the Bryn Mawr College Library.
Contributors include: Alain George, Marcus Milwright, Adam Mestyan, Amy S. Landau, Lisa Golombek, Suna Çağaptay, Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Filiz Çağman and Zeren Tanındı, Yael Rice, and †Oleg Grabar