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Before printed word, books in the Ottoman Period were items of luxury consumption used only by the literate class around the Palace.

In the preparation of manuscripts written by a single person, writing became an important branch of art and the works were generally produced on demand.

Four branches of art are involved in the preparation of a manuscript. These are calligraphy, illumination, miniature and binding arts. Books were written with reed pen and is mürekkebi (soot ink) in Arabic letters on sized and polished paper. The most important of these works were written in   calligraphy and ornamented with illumination, marbling, fine carving and miniatures.

In the Ottoman period, the workshops performing book arts were called Nakkaşhane. Muralists (nakkaş) were the most important people among Ehl-i Hıref, the organization of artists working for the Ottoman Palace.

With the strengthening of the Ottoman State, the Palace administration treated arts and artists with greater interest and support and sultans and such high-level state officials as grand viziers, princes, viziers, sultanas, state governors and heads of provincial treasury undertook the responsibility of protecting book arts and book artists.

In Nakkaşhane workshops, artists, calligraphers, illuminators, muralists and musavvir, ruler artists (cetvelkeş), bookbinders (mücellit) were responsible for designing such architectural ornaments as hand carvings or ceramics, adorning small paperboard crates and preparing the patterns to be used in weaving for tents, marquees, carpets, fabrics, etc.

The paper used for all book arts except for bookbinding is of the same quality. Stylized floral patterns, hatai, rumi and other patterns were used in all decorative branches of Ottoman arts (ceramics, carpets, rugs, fabric, hand carvings etc.).

Manuscript libraries encompassing former foundation libraries are also today’s centres of ornamentation examples (see. Glossary / Manuscript Libraries).




  M.Esiner Özen, Türk Tezhip Sanatı, Turkish Art Of  Illumination, Gözen Yayınevi, İst.2003
   Ş.Acar, Eski Kağıtlar, Mühre ve Makaslar, Antik Dekor Sanat Dergisi, S:30, 1997
   A.Akar-C.Keskiner, Türk Süsleme Sanatlarında Desen ve    Motifler, Güzel Sanatlat Matbaası,İstanbul 1978
   H.Züber, Türk Süsleme Sanatları, T.İş Bankası, Ankara 1971
   A.Birol-Ç.Derman, Türk Tezyini Sanatlarda Motif, Koş Matbaacılık, İstanbul 1991
   Aykut Gürçağlar, Nakkaşhane ve Nakkaş Kavramı, Mozaik 8, İstanbul 1996

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