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A FIRMAN OF SULTAN AHMED I (R.1603-1617)
A FIRMAN OF SULTAN AHMED I (R.1603-1617)
A FIRMAN OF SULTAN AHMED I (R.1603-1617)
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A FIRMAN OF SULTAN AHMED I (R.1603-1617)
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AN ILLUMINATED FIRMAN OF SULTAN AHMED I (R.1603-1617)

CONSTANTINOPLE, OTTOMAN TURKEY, DATED DHU'L-QA'DA AH 1013/MARCH-APRIL 1605 AD

Details
AN ILLUMINATED FIRMAN OF SULTAN AHMED I (R.1603-1617)
CONSTANTINOPLE, OTTOMAN TURKEY, DATED DHU'L-QA'DA AH 1013/MARCH-APRIL 1605 AD
Together with three further firmans of Selim III (r.1789-1807), Mahmud II (r.1808-1839) and 'Abdulhamid II (r.1876-1909), Ottoman Turkish manuscript on paper, 11ll. of black and gold diwani, beneath a gold and polychrome tughra of Sultan Ahmed I, a further line of text above, text followed by witness signatures, areas of restoration, partially backed with green silk
49 3/8 x 13 ¼in. (125.2 x 33.5cm.)

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Lot Essay

This firman is a mülkname, a grant of the ownership of assets, assigning 10,000 akçes of revenues from land in Qatana in Syria as waqf for the descendants of Shaykh Hasan Qatnani. The agreement was established under the rule of the fourteenth Ottoman sultan, Sultan Ahmed I, as shown by his illuminated tughra above the text. The end of the firman includes witness signatures from high-ranking officials within the Ottoman court including the Grand Vizier (Sadrazam).

The tughra is said to have reached its most classic and lavish form during Sultan Süleyman's reign, in keeping with the artistic splendour of the period (M. Ugur Derman, Letters in Gold. Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakip Sabanci Collection, Istanbul, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1998, p.38). In its most extravagant form, the tughras were expertly rendered and decorated in the hand of a master tugrakes, assisted by an illuminator (Esin Atil, The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, New York, 1987, p.38). The illumination of the tughra on this firman clearly displays the continuation of the artistic vocabulary among the succeeding sultans after Suleyman the Magnificent, in which a palette of blue and gold predominates with highlights of red.

Only a handful of firmans from the rule of Ahmed I have appeared on the public market or are preserved in museum collections. Among them, two firmans of Ahmed I with similarly illuminated tughras to this were sold by Isabelle Aufauvre SVV, Le Mans, 14 May 2011, formerly part of the collection of Baron Alexandre Forth-Rouen (1806-1886), one of which is now housed in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (MAO 2237). A monumental illuminated tughra of Ahmed I is housed in the Topkapi Palace Library (The Anatolian Civilisations III: Seljuk/Ottoman, Istanbul, 1983, p.227, no.E193).

This firman is accompanied by three later firmans produced during the reigns of sultans Selim III, Mahmud II and 'Abdulhamid II and are related to the present document. The first, under Selim III and dated 4 Jumada II AH 1206/29 January 1792 AD, confirms Shaykh Salih as the trustee of two thirds of the waqf of Shaykh Hasan al-Qatnani, in the village of al-Qantara in Damascus following a dispute with cultivators. The second, under Mahmud II and dated beginning of Rabi’ II AH 1224/May 1809 AD, confirms the rights to the descendants of Shaykh Hasan al-Qatnani as the mutasarrifs (owners of usufruct) of various revenues from and taxes on lands held in waqf in the village of Qatana in the Damascus region. The third, under 'Abdulhamid II and dated [24] Dhu’l-Hijja AH 1294/[30] December 1877, confirms Sayyid Shaykh Salih, who is presumably a later descendant of the above, as the owner of usufruct of two thirds of the waqf of Shaykh Hasan al-Qatnani in the village of al-Qantara in Damascus, which he inherited from his deceased father and uncle.

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