Medieval Manuscripts: Muhibbî Dîvânı: A Sultan in Love

From sultan to servant: in this collection of poems, Süleyman the Magnificent gives up all his powers to worship a girl “as tall as a cypress, with cheeks as red as roses”. And what better decoration than ever-changing gold and pastel floral patterns?

The citizens of sixteenth-century Constantinople loved their flowers and gardens, and thanks to the imperial painting studio’s head artist Kara Memi, silk goods, ceramics, and tiles also blossomed with tulips, carnations, and roses.

When Kara Memi’s art merged with Sultan Süleyman’s verses, an unparalleled masterpiece of Ottoman art unfolded: the Muhibbî Dîvânı, filled with words of love and flowers of gold, illuminated in such detail that it takes a trained eye to distinguish all its hues.

The illuminator was so skilled he created 370 different floral patterns: how many can you find in the video?

Our thanks to Facsimile Finder for helping us create this post. You can learn more about this manuscript and see more images by visiting their website.

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