Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Album of Calligraphies Including Poetry and Prophetic Traditions (Hadith)

Shaikh Hamdullah ibn Mustafa Dede (d. 1520)
Object Name:
Non-illustrated manuscript
ca. 1500
Made in Turkey, probably Istanbul
Main support: ink, watercolor, and gold on paper Margins: ink, watercolor and gold; marbled paper Binding: leather and gold
Ht. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm) W. 9 3/8 in. (23.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edwin Binney 3rd and Edward Ablat Gifts, 1982
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 450
This album contains samples written by Shaykh Hamdullah, the most famous Ottoman calligrapher. The text comes from the Hadith, the compilation of the Prophet Muhammad's words and deeds that is an important source for moral and legal guidance in the Islamic tradition. On each page, several lines of a small script (naskh) are framed by one or two lines in a larger script (thuluth or muhaqqaq) and then pasted onto sheets of marbleized paper, each with a different pattern.
Signature: Hamdullah ibn Mustafa Dede (on penultimate page)

Inscription: Uper calligraphy
Arabic poem Thulth script:
لعمرک ان المعالي قسم نعم و تنال العلی بالهمم (repeated twice)
فجرد من العزم ماضي الشبا[ب] و شمر لسعي العلی عن قدم
و لا ترض منها بما قد حوت یداک و لو کن حمر النعم
فبئس المقام المستوطن مقام به یتساوی القیم
[I] swear that high positions is share, it is properties and the chivalrous got by hard work.
So took from decision the past of youth, and try to get chivalrous.
And do not accept from [life] what your hand have, even if it is livestock.
So the worse living place is a place that all values are equal.
Down calligraphy
In Thulth script:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم In the name of God the merciful the more merciful
In Naskhi script:
قال رسول الله صلی الله علیه/ و سلم رصوا صفوفکم و قاربوا بینها و حاذوا/ بالاعناق فوالذي نفسي بیده اني لأری الشیطان
The prophet piece and prayer of Gog upon him said: make your rows (in prayer) solid and be close to each other and … the necks and I swear by whom my breath in his hand that I see devil…
In Thulth script:
عن النبي صلی الله علیه و سلم
arrative from prophet prayer and peace of God upon him.
On one page of this Album the name of the calligrapher written as:
کتبه الفقیر حمدالله بن مصطفی دده
Written by the poor Hamdullah son of Mustafa Dada.

Philip Hofer, Cambridge, MA (until 1982; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Celestial Pen: Islamic Calligraphy," September 28, 1982–February 7, 1983, no catalogue.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Perfect Page: The Art of Embellishment in Islamic Book Design," May 17, 1991–August 18, 1991, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Nature of Islamic Ornament Part I: Calligraphy," February 26, 1998–June 28, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balcony Calligraphy Exhibition," June 1, 2009–October 26, 2009, no catalogue.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 40 (1982–1983). p. 10, ill. (b/w).

Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 123, ill. fig. 93 (color).

Schimmel, Annemarie. "Islamic Calligraphy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 50, no. 1 (Summer 1992). p. 21, ill. fig. 26 (color).

Safwat, Nabil F. The Harmony of Letters. Kuwait, 1997. pp. 62-63, ill. (color), p. 20 for binding.

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 204, pp. 292-293, ill. p. 293 (color).

Haidar, Navina. "Visual Splendour: Embellished Pages from the Metropolitan Museum 's Collection of Islamic and Indian Manuscripts." Arts of Asia vol. 42 (2012). pp. 112-113, ill. fig. 9 (color).

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