The Book of Felicity

(Matali’ al-saadet) Bibliothèque nationale de France




Shelf mark: Suppl. turc 242.
Date: 1582.
Size: 310 x 210 mm.
286 pages and 71 full-page miniatures lavishly embellished with gold.
Turkish binding in red leather with gold decoration.
Full-colour commentary volume (448 p.), by Miguel Ángel de Bunes Ibarra and Evrim Türkçelik (CSIC), Günsel Renda (Koç University), Stefano Carboni (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Yorgos Dedes (SOAS, University of London).
Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.
ISBN: 978-84-96400-31-3

The Book of Felicity (Matali’ al-saadet) Bibliothèque nationale de France (Matali’ al-saadet) Bibliothèque nationale de France

Shelf mark: Suppl. turc 242.
Date: 1582.
Size: 310 x 210 mm.
286 pages and 71 full-page miniatures lavishly embellished with gold.
Turkish binding in red leather with gold decoration.
Full-colour commentary volume (448 p.), by Miguel Ángel de Bunes Ibarra and Evrim Türkçelik (CSIC), Günsel Renda (Koç University), Stefano Carboni (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Yorgos Dedes (SOAS, University of London).
Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.
ISBN: 978-84-96400-31-3


Pictures
The Book of Felicity
(Matali’ al-saadet) Bibliothèque nationale de France




Commentary volume

The Book of Felicity (Matali’ al-saadet) Bibliothèque nationale de France


Contents:

From the editor to the reader

The Ottoman empire of Murad III: the consolidation of the sultanate of women
Miguel Ángel de Bunes Ibarra and Evrim Türkçelik (CSIC)

Ottoman painting in the sixteenth century
Günsel Renda (Adjunct Professor in the History department at Koç University)

Description of the miniatures
Stefano Carboni (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The ascensions of felicity and the fountains of nobility. Translation of the Ottoman text
Yorgos Dedes (Senior Lecturer in Turkish, Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East (SOAS, London))

Glossary and bibliography

ISBN: 978-84-96400-36-8






Description

The Book of Felicity (Matali’ al-saadet) Bibliothèque nationale de France


In the latter half of the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire was the largest and most powerful in the world. Its domains, stretching from Budapest to Baghdad, from Oman and Tunis to Mecca and Medina near the Red Sea, encompassed cities as great as Damascus, Alexandria and Cairo. The Turks were at the gates of Vienna and controlled the Silk Route, the Black Sea and the eastern half of the Mediterranean. The sultan governed the empire from Constantinople, where architects, painters, calligraphers, jewellers, ceramists, poets, etc, were at his service with his court and harem. Learned, sybarite sultans, such as Süleyman the Magnificent and his grandson Murad III, became great patrons of the arts and were responsible for the spectacular growth of the workshops in the Seraglio that gave birth to an original Ottoman artform that shook off the Persian influence still lingering in the 15th century.

The 16th and early 17th centuries were the most fertile period of Turkish-Ottoman painting, with the reign of Murad III (1574-1595) being particularly prolific in beautiful works of art, such as this Matali’ al-saadet or Book of Felicity by Muhammad ibn Amir Hasan al-Su’udi.

This Book of Felicity – which the sultan himself, whose portrait appears on folio 7v, ordered to be translated from the original Arabic – features descriptions of the twelve signs of the zodiac accompanied by splendid miniatures; a series of paintings showing how human circumstances are influenced by the planets; astrological and astronomical tables; and an enigmatic treatise on fortune telling.

The oriental world unfolds before our very eyes in each miniature: mysterious characters in peculiar poses, exotic, brightly coloured garments, luxurious mansions and sumptuous palaces, muezzins in the minarets of mosques calling the faithful to prayer, elegant horsemen riding their stylised horses with lavishly embellished trappings. Countless exotic animals fill the pages of this manuscript: exuberant peacocks, extraordinary sea serpents, giant fish, eagles and other birds of prey, swallows, storks and other birds drawn in an elegant, stylised manner revealing considerable influence by Japanese painting. There is also an entire chapter on the monsters appearing in medieval, Turkish imagery, brimming with menacing demons and imaginary beasts.

All the paintings seem to be by the same workshop under the guidance of the famous master Ustad ‘Osman, undoubtedly the artist of the opening series of paintings dedicated to the signs of the zodiac. ‘Osman, active between around 1559 and 1596, directed the artists in the Seraglio workshop from 1570 onwards and created a style, adopted by other painters at the court, characterised by accurate portraits and a magnificent treatment of illustration.

Sultan Murad III was completely absorbed by the intense political, cultural and sentimental life of the harem. He had 103 children, only 47 of whom outlived him. Nevertheless, Murad III, who held illuminated manuscripts in greater esteem than any other sultan, commissioned this treatise of felicity especially for his daughter Fatima.

The manuscript was brought from Cairo to Paris by Gaspard Monge, the renowned geometer and count of Péluse, and deposited in the library on behalf of Napoleon Bonaparte.



Customer reviews
The Book of Felicity
(Matali’ al-saadet) Bibliothèque nationale de France





“We got a lovely surprise this afternoon. The Book of Felicity is here. Everyone thinks it’s astonishingly beautiful. We love it. Thanks!”

Jeannine G. – Canada



“Cher Monsieur, j’ai bien reçu ce matin votre envoi. Le “Livre” est superbe, sa présentation également. Le livre de commentaires en anglais, constitue à lui tout seul un très bel ouvrage, d’impression parfaite, et les reproductions en couleurs sont également très soignées. Tout ceci pour vous dire qu’en tant que bibliophile, je suis ravi de mon acquisition.
Une mention complémentaire pour la qualité de l’emballage, le colis semblait sortir de chez Moleiro... ( J’ai été parfois déçu d’envoi venant de l’étranger et même de France).
Vous avez bien éveillé mon attention pour vos publications...
Félicitations, et bien cordialement.”

Michel R. B.




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