Kalender Pasha (d. 1616), an Ottoman artist-cum-statesman, was a renowned paper joiner ( vaṣṣāl ). He assembled two albums and compiled a Falnāma (Book of Omens) for Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603–17). Among these, only one of the albums consisted of calligraphies and images provided by the sultan himself, while the others were assembled from works chosen by Kalender, probably from his personal collection. Composed of diverse contents and for varied purposes but in nearly identical format, the albums reflect Kalender’s own style and approach to album designing. These three volumes, which have approximately identical dimensions, contain prefaces that are directly related to their contents and are all, save one, authored by Kalender himself. The prefaces, or presentation texts, addressed to Sultan Ahmed I, drew on the Safavid tradition of album prefaces, although they contextually diverge from them. They provide invaluable information on the relationship between an Ottoman album-compiler and his work, as well as on the artistic identity of Kalender. This essay introduces these particular interrelated works and attempts to analyze the prefaces in relation to the included items, their purpose, and the patron of the albums. Appendices by Wheeler M. Thackston provide the transliterations of the texts of two album prefaces, as well as translations into English.
Muqarnas Online – Brill
Published: Jan 31, 2014
Keywords: Ottoman painting; Safavid painting; calligraphy; the arts of the book; album making; album prefaces; art history texts; paper-joining; Kalender Pasha; Ahmed I; book design; art collecting
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