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x0x Anatolia in miniatures

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  • Turkish Culture List
    [See more on this subject by visiting the pages selected for you by Anita Donohoe: http://turkradio.us/k/anadolumin/ ] x0x Anatolia in miniatures By Prof. Dr.
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2009
      [See more on this subject by visiting the pages
      selected for you by Anita Donohoe:
      http://turkradio.us/k/anadolumin/ ]

      x0x Anatolia in miniatures

      By Prof. Dr. METIN AND

      The city miniatures produced by the Ottomans in
      the 16th and 17th centuries take you on a journey
      through Anatolia, from Iznik and Kutahya to Konya
      and Erzincan.

      Cities occupy an important place in the wide range
      of subjects treated in Ottoman miniature
      paintings. We encounter some of these city
      depictions on the illustrated color maps, known as
      portolano, the best examples of which were
      produced by Piri Reis. Besides the two world maps
      drawn by Piri Reis, there is also an atlas
      entitled the Kitab-i Bahriye or Book of the Sea.
      The first copy of this atlas, which was produced
      twice in the 16th century, contains 223 color
      drawings of cities, the second 215. Although
      Istanbul was not included in the original copy of
      the atlas, of which there are more than forty
      copies showing all the port cities on the
      Mediterranean, it was added in the 17th century.
      Even though the illustrations in the Kitab-i
      Bahriye and similar atlases are more like simple
      sketches and therefore not regarded as miniatures,
      the artists who drew the maps were nonetheless
      called by the same name, nakkath, as the Ottoman
      miniature painters.


      Matrakci Nasuh is the undisputed master of the
      topographic miniature painting. A contemporary of
      Suleyman the Magnificent, Matrakci Nasuh was a
      versatile Renaissance man who wrote books on
      history, mathematics, sports and chivalry, as well
      as having a very special place in the art of
      miniature painting. The 16th century cities
      depicted in the topographic miniatures without
      human figures that he painted in his own
      inimitable style are unique documents today.

      Matrakci Nasuh included city miniatures in his
      three books as an adjunct to the texts. The first
      book describes a campaign by the Ottoman fleet to
      the northern shores of the Mediterranean, during
      which he made miniatures of such port cities as
      Genoa, Antibes, Toulon, Nice and Marseilles. The
      second chapter of the same work depicts places and
      incidents relating to the Ottoman campaigns
      against Hungary. Matrakcis second work meanwhile
      relates campaigns and incidents from the reign of
      Sultan Bayezid II. Here we find pictures of the
      Ottoman fleet and of the cities and fortresses,
      such as Modon, Kili, Akkerman and Inebahti, that
      were captured on those campaigns. Both works are
      preserved today in the Topkapi Palace Library. The
      third book Beyan-i Menazil-i Sefer-i Irakeyn-i
      Sultan Suleyman Han, known for short as the
      Menzilname, is Matrakci's most important work.
      This book, the original copy of which is housed in
      the Istanbul University Library, describes the
      First Iraq-Iran Campaign, starting and ending in
      Istanbul and made in 1533-36 during the reign of
      Suleyman the Magnificent. Although most of the 128
      stops depicted in the miniatures are cities both
      large and small, a few are unsettled rural areas.

      After Istanbul, we can see the following cities of
      Anatolia in the book: Izmit, Iznik, Kutahya,
      Konya, Eregli, Nigde, Kayseri, Sivas, Erzincan
      and Erzurum. Following Anatolia, Matrakci focuses
      on the cities of Iraq and Iran, and on the return
      he depicts Bitlis, Diyarbakir (formerly Kara
      Amid), Aleppo, Adana, Eregli, Konya, Eskisehir
      and Istanbul. The most important miniature in this
      book of Matrakcis is the Istanbul miniature which
      covers two whole pages.

      Depicted in this most well-known and frequently
      published miniature are the entirety of Istanbul's
      quarters and important buildings in all their
      detail. They are based on such careful observation
      that, when enlarged, all the buildings and squares
      of the district emerge undistorted like an
      independent picture. Another illustrated
      manuscript almost certainly ascribable to Matrakci
      is housed in the Sachsiche Landesbibliothek in
      Dresden. Among the miniatures here are depictions
      of Tabriz, Bayburt Fortress, Amasya, Havale
      Fortress, Sivas and Kemah, all in the precise
      style of Matrakci.


      The miniatures of three Anatolian cities dating to
      the 16th century were written up in a previous
      issue of this magazine. The first of these is a
      miniature of Manisa, found in a work entitled
      Sehname-i Al-i Osman in the Topkapi Palace
      Library. This important city, where Ottoman crown
      princes traditionally served as governors before
      succeeding to the throne, was drawn on two pages
      of the work.

      Depicted in the bottom half of the miniature, in a
      rectangular area that covers almost one-third of
      the painting, is the palace where the crown
      princes lived. Various buildings, pavilions and
      summer palaces can also be seen in this space,
      construction of which was commissioned by Sultan
      Murad II in 1445. Apart from the palaces there are
      also caravanserays, public baths, mosques large
      and small, bridges, a cemetery and a medrese.
      Meanwhile the Manisa Fortress, a relic of the
      Seljuks, is also visible in the upper right corner
      of the miniature.

      Our second miniature is of Van. A fortress on the
      hill, dating back to the Urartu civilization,
      strikes the eye in this miniature, which is found
      as Inventory no. E.9487 in the Topkapi Palace
      archives. This fortress was encircled by four
      defense walls, the first and second of which were
      built by the Akkoyunlu and the Ottomans, while the
      other two are thought to date back to the Urartus.
      The staircase descending from Van Fortress down to
      the city was built by the Seljuk ruler, Kilic
      Arslan. Inscriptions on the miniatures indicate
      the citys major buildings. On the hill, at the
      left, are the Suleyman Han Mosque and the Mansion
      of the Agha of the Janissaries; on the right the
      Winter Barracks of the Janissaries and the
      Ammunition Dump. Below are the Kizil or Red
      Mosque, Kaya Celebi Mosque, Husrev Patha Mosque,
      the Great Mosque and the gates in the city walls.


      The third miniature deals with the reconstruction
      of Kars, which manifests its fate as a frontier
      city in this painting. Captured by the Safavids in
      Selim IIIs Caldiran campaign of 1514, Kars was
      rebuilt by Suleyman the Magnificent only to be
      recaptured and again destroyed by the Safavids. In
      1578 Sultan Murad III dispatched his army to the
      East under the command of one of his vezirs, Lala
      Mustafa Patha.

      Defeating the Persians, the army captured Tiflis
      and Shirvan before withdrawing to Erzurum for the
      winter. In 1579 Kars underwent a complete
      reconstruction from top to bottom by thousands of
      master builders and simple laborers. A palace, a
      medrese, a market, a public bath and five mosques
      were built as well as two bridges over the Kars

      One of the mosques was erected in the name of
      Murad III, the other in the name of his vezir,
      Lala Mustafa Pasha. Unfortunately however the city
      was again destroyed by the Persians 25 years
      later. This miniature, which shows the
      reconstruction of 1579, is taken from a manuscript
      in the British Library. When we look at these
      miniatures from the Ottoman period, we can not
      only see the topographical features of the cities
      of that time, but we can also read an entire
      history of wars, repairs, architectural structures
      and much much more...

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