Album of Calligraphies Including Poetry and Prophetic Traditions (Hadith)

Shaikh Hamdullah ibn Mustafa Dede (d. 1520)

Object Name:
Non-illustrated manuscript
ca. 1500
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:
  • Description

    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.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    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.


  • Provenance

    Philip Hofer, Cambridge, MA (until 1982; sold to MMA)

  • See also