This is the first and only written manuscript in the Nakkaşhane style in Republican Istanbul. In 1953, in order to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Turkish conquest of Constantinople, it was decided that a Fatih Dîvân should be prepared. Between 1945 and 1953, this hand-written text including calligraphy, tezhip (illumination), miniatures and binding, was created by a group of craftsmen under the direction of the lecturer in the History of Turkish Language and Literature, Ord. Prof. Dr. İsmail Hikmet Ertaylan (d. 1967) at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Literature. The Dîvân is not a collection of twentieth-century poems, but rather was prepared by choosing Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s own poems, as if it were to be presented to the sultan himself.

1- A page from Fatih Divanı embellished by Rikkat Kunt’s (Calligrapher Macid Ayral)

2- A page from <em>Fatih Divanı</em> gilded by Muhsin Demironat (Calligrapher)

This Dîvân, which includes joint efforts, as if they were in the nakkaşhane (imperial scriptorium) workshop prepared by academics and students, measures 39.5 x 24.5cm and consists of 66 stanzas (Figure 1). Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s lyrical poems are included in the collection under the penname Avnî. The tezhip reflects features from the 15th century (Figure 2), while the miniatures portray different stages of Fatih’s life.

The Dîvân is written in the gusseted album style körüklü (murakkaa), and when the cartoons are untied it is possible to observe the 16-meter-long composition at once . The Dîvân is a work that required great effort; it was exhibited in 1958 at the International Brussels Exposition; it was greatly admired and was awarded a gold medal.

Today, the Dîvân is part of the Mehmet Rado Collection; although sixty years have passed since its completion, this work in unique, in that no other work has been completed in the nakkaşhane style in Istanbul.

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.

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