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Cihannüma (Book of the World View)

Accession Number: Lilly Library, DR 403 .M835

Date and Location: 1732, Istanbul (Ottoman Turkish)

Author: Katib Çelebi (d. 1657)

Binding: Brown leather binding with stamped central medallion

Doublure: Marbled paper

Page or Folio numbers: 349 folios (+ 8 folios of front matter, total 357)

Dimensions of page: 31 x 19.25 cm

Dimensions of textblock: 24 x 12.5 cm

The Cihannüma is the eleventh book printed by the Müteferrika press. It is a world atlas that focuses primarily on the Asian continent. All of the printed diagrams and maps are handpainted. Many of these maps and diagrams are signed by the following artists: Kırımlı Ahmed, Ibrahim Müteferrika, Galatalı Mıgırdıç, and Tophaneli Ibrahim.


The Cihannüma is the masterpiece of the celebrated Ottoman traveler and geographer, Katib Çelebi. Çelebi was noted as lamenting over his inability to include more maps in his original work, which was penned roughly a century before the establishment of the Müteferrika press in Istanbul. Müteferrika was himself an avid geography enthusiast. By including 27 maps and 13 diagrams in this publication, Müteferrika was able to enhance the book in accordance with Katib Çelebi's original wishes. Many of the maps and diagrams were inspired by the western atlases that Müteferrika owned. Maps and atlases were an integral part of Müteferrika's publishing agenda in general; this is emphasized by the fact that two of the six printing machines in his printing house were allocated specially for the production of maps.

This copy of Katib Çelebi's Cihannüma has an original printed headpiece (serlevha) in addition to a hand painted headpiece that was added later. The printed headpiece, maps, and diagrams are all handpainted as well. Beige, chain-laid, and watermarked European paper is used throughout the book. As with all of Müteferrika publications, a simple and legible naskh (Turkish: nesih) script is employed throughout. The book is paginated despite the simultaneous, use of catchwords.