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From Provincial Chronicle to Grand Imperial Manuscript: The Making of the “Nusretname”
Twenty-Seventh Richard and Mary Rouse History of the Book Lecture
The 1584 imperial copy of historian Mustafa Âli’s account of the Ottoman-Safavid wars, the Nusretname, is one of the most sumptuous manuscripts in the Topkapi Palace Library in Istanbul. In this History of the Book Lecture, Emine Fetvaci (Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Chair of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Boston University) compares the first illustrated copy prepared for the author in Aleppo with the final version produced in the Ottoman imperial manuscript workshop in Istanbul, again under the author’s supervision. The comparison highlights the choices made during the production process to sustain emphasis on certain topics and increase focus on others. This talk also explores the careful codification of an Ottoman imperial style in historical manuscripts through illustration, script, marginal illumination, and binding. The role of the supervisor, his patrons, and his relationships with court artists will be central to understanding how imperial magnificence was produced.