Picturing History at the Ottoman Court

Picturing History at the Ottoman Court

Emine Fetvaci
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/06/2013
Format: Hardback 102 color illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00678-3
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2014 Koprulu Book Prize, Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association

The Ottoman court of the late 16th century produced an unprecedented number of sumptuously illustrated chronicles. While usually dismissed as imperial eulogies, Emine Fetvac demonstrates that these books commented on contemporary events, promoted the political agendas of courtiers as well as the sultan, and presented their patrons and creators in ways that helped shape the perspectives of their elite audience. Picturing History at the Ottoman Court traces the simultaneous crafting of political power, the codification of a historical record, and the unfolding of cultural change.

Author Bio

Emine Fetvac is Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Boston University.


“An absolutely original work, full of good ideas and important points. Fascinating.”
 — Pamela Brummett, University of Tennessee

“One of the most profound examples of new directions in scholarship dealing with 'the book' and 'the text' of the past few decades. It shows an exceptional breadth of vision.”
 — Walter G. Andrews, University of Washington

“This beautifully illustrated volume explores court-sponsored, illustrated Ottoman histories produced in the second half of the sixteenth century.”
 — SHARPNews

“[Fetvaci's] book, an exhaustive and richly illustrated study based on secondary literature and primary sources, among them some documents in the Topkapı Palace archive, will no doubt remain the standard study on the topic for many years to come.”
 — Bibliotheca Orientalis

“Emine Fetvacı’s book is a welcome addition to the work of scholars who are studying these manuscripts in relation to the context of their production. This is a handsome book.”
 — International Journal of Islamic Architecture

“Very richly illustrated with roughly 100 generally good color plates, this is a handsome volume with great diversity among magnificant images . . . Highly recommended. ”
 — Choice

“Well written, beautifully produced, and even affordable, this interdisciplinary book masterfully blends Ottoman history and art history to study the history of art and the art of history.46.2 2014”
 — Intl Jrnl Middle East Studies

“This is a book for the specialist as well as the intelligent undergraduate, as its exceptional clarity of organization and exposition makes complex and overlapping dynamics readily meaningful. The lavish illustration (102 colour plates) and the author's interest in comparative imperial practices add to its depth.”
 — Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration
1. Circulation, Audience, and the Creation of a Shared Court Culture
2. Making Books at the Ottoman Court
3. Sokollu Mehmed Pasha and Illustrated Ottoman Histories
4. Chief Black Eunuch Mehmed Agha: Negotiating the Sultanic Image
5. In the Image of a Military Ruler
6. A Venetian Ottomanized: Chief White Eunuch Gazanfer Agha and his Artistic Patronage

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