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Takvimü’t-Tevarih (Almanac of Histories)

Accession Number: Lilly Library, DR 403 .M836

Date and Location: 1733, Istanbul (Ottoman Turkish)

Author: Katib Çelebi (d. 1657)

Binding: The leather binding is stamped with a central medallion and corner pieces that are gold embossed

Doublure: Leather with filigree work; the central medallion and corner pieces are painted in black, green, red, and blue with gold illumination

Page or Folio numbers: 247 pages, +6 folios

Dimensions of page: 30.75 x 17 cm

Dimensions of textblock: 20 x 9.5 cm

Although from its binding this book appears to be a manuscript, it is, in fact, a printed book published by the Müteferrika press. The book covers the history of mankind from the time of Adam to the 18th century.

Detailed Description:

Katib Çelebi's Takvimü’t-Tevarih is the twelfth book printed by the Müteferrika press. By this time Müteferrika was printing his books with headpieces and large calligraphic titles followed by the bismillah. There is a visible difference between the calligraphy of the title versus the bismillah below it, both of which were printed by means of woodblocks. The title is rendered in a rather awkward naskh (Turkish: nesih) and the bismillah in a more visually accomplished thulth (Turkish: sülüs). As with all of Müteferrika's publications, a simple and legible naskh script is used throughout this book. There are catchwords at the bottom of each folio despite the simultaneous use of page numbers. The paper is beige (with occasional green leaves), chain-laid, watermarked, and imported from Europe. The pages are not ruled and besides the elaborate binding, the book bears no further decoration.

Çelebi's Takvimü’t-Tevarih covers the events from the time of Adam and the beginning of mankind until 1648. The publication has been expanded with historic accounts by Mehmed Şeykhi Efendi that cover events that took place from 1648 to 1732. Müteferrika further updates it by adding events of 1732 and 1733 at the end of the book. The front matter of this book includes a brief biography of Katib Çelebi, a foreword by Müteferrika, and a table of contents.

One of the most interesting features of this copy of Takvimü’t-Tevarih is its binding. The book was probably not bound at the printing house. The binding was likely added by its owner after the purchase of the book. The central medallion and corner pieces of the binding are stamped and gold painted: this is an established design for Turkish and Persianate luxury manuscripts that can be traced back to the 15th century. The morocco doublures bear filigree work and floral designs in the central medallion and corner pieces that are also typical of many luxury manuscripts. The Lilly Library owns another manuscript that includes similar doublures. See: Lilly Library, Allen mss 10.