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Article

[Ashraf; ‛Alī Ashraf]

(fl c. 1735–80).

Persian painter. Known for a large number of painted and varnished (‘lacquered’) bookbindings, penboxes and mirror-cases (see Islamic art, §viii, 10), ‛Ali Ashraf worked in a small floral style with a characteristic motif of pansies or African violets on a black ground. His style, notable for its richness and delicacy, is derived directly from that of his teacher Muhammad Zaman but is standardized and simplified. His debt to his teacher can be seen in his signature, az ba‛d-i mu ḥammad ‛alī ashraf ast, which can be read as either ‘‛Ali [the Prophet’s son-in-law] is the noblest after Muhammad [the Prophet]’ or ‘‛Ali Ashraf is a follower of Muhammad [Zaman]’. This is the way he signed four mirror-cases with fine bird-and-flower designs (1740–1, Edinburgh, Royal Mus. Scotlandr, 1921–43; 1747, London, V&A, 758–1876; 1751–2, New York, Brooklyn Mus., 88.92; and 1755–6, London, J. Pope-Hennessy priv. col.) and a similar but undated penbox (Berne, Hist. Mus., 21–...

Article

[Muḥammad Bāqir]

(fl 1750s–1760s).

Persian painter. He is known for decorations in the margins of manuscripts, copies of European prints and 17th-century paintings, and wash drawings. His subjects range from floral sprays to nudes, such as the watercolour of a sleeping nymph (1765; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., cat. no. 282.VI). He contributed paintings and marginal decorations to a sumptuous album (1758–9; St Petersburg, Hermitage), probably compiled for the Afsharid court historian Mirza Mahdi Khan Astarabadi. Muhammad Baqir’s punning signature there suggests that he was a pupil of ‛Ali Ashraf. Muhammad Baqir signed one of the finest marginal paintings in a smaller but similar album (1764; dispersed; sold Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 23 June 1982) and may have been responsible for all of them, which include rose sprays and copies of Susannah and the Elders. Muhammad Baqir is sometimes said to have continued to work under the Qajar ruler Fath ‛Ali Shah (...

Article

Walter B. Denny

[Muṣṭafā Rāqim; Mustafa Rakım]

(b Ünye, 1757; d Istanbul, 1826).

Ottoman calligrapher. Together with his elder brother, the calligrapher Isma‛il Zühdü Efendi (d 1806), he went to Istanbul, where he studied with several masters and obtained his diploma at the age of 12. He rose through the Ottoman civil service and eventually held a number of high government offices. He and his brother are generally recognized as freeing Islamic calligraphy from the style canonized by Hafiz Osman (see Islamic art, §III, 2(iv)(a) and (v)). His calligraphic works include a well-known picture of the invocation of the name of God (Arab. basmala; Turk. besmele) in the form of a crane and Tughras for the sultans Mustafa IV (reg 1807–8) and Mahmud II (reg 1808–39). He also crafted the inscriptions on the tomb complex of Mahmud’s mother, Nakşidil Sultan, in Istanbul.

Ş. Rado: Türk hattatları [Turkish calligraphers] (Istanbul, n.d.), pp. 196–9 A. Schimmel: Calligraphy and Islamic Culture...

Article

Walter B. Denny

[Eğrikapılı Hoca Mehmed]

(b 1687; d 1755).

Ottoman calligrapher. He studied with his father, Yusuf Efendi, and with the court calligrapher Sayyid Abdallah of Yediküle (d 1731). Achieving some reputation at an early age, Mehmed Rasim became a major court calligrapher in the Tulip period during the reign of Ahmed III (reg 1703–30; see Ottoman family, §II, (5)). In addition to copying over 60 manuscripts of the Koran (e.g. Istanbul, Topkapı Pal Mus.), he was skilled at marbling (see Islamic art, §III, 5) and was also responsible for the lovely inscriptions on the fountain of Saliha Sultan at Azap Kapı in Istanbul.

Ş. Rado: Türk hattatları [Turkish calligraphers] (Istanbul, n.d.), pp. 155–6 A. Schimmel: Calligraphy and Islamic Culture (New York, 1984) M. U. Derman: The Art of Calligraphy in the Islamic Heritage (Istanbul, 1998), pp. 223 and 225 Letters in Gold: Ottoman Calligraphy from The Sakıp Sabancı Collection, Istanbul...

Article

Gordon Campbell

[Mehmed Esad Yesari; Yesari; As‛ad Yasārī]

(d Istanbul, 1798).

Ottoman calligrapher. Born paralysed on the right side of his body and palsied on the left, he was given the nickname ‘Yesari’ (left-handed). He learnt the art of calligraphy from Mehmed Dedezade, gaining his diploma (Turk. icazet) in 1753–4. Appointed calligrapher at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul by Mustafa III (reg 1757–74), Esad Yesari achieved fame for his mastery of nasta‛līq script (e.g. a calligraphic specimen, Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., G.Y. 325/4488), and his inscriptions adorn mosques, tombs, fountains and hospices in Istanbul. He was buried in the vicinity of the Fatih Mosque, Istanbul. Among his many pupils was his son Mustafa Izzet Yesarizade (d 1849), who received his diploma from his father. Mustafa Izzet wrote a beautiful nasta‛līq script and his inscriptions also adorn buildings in Istanbul.

See also: Islamic art, §III, 2(v): Calligraphy, after c 1800

Ş. Rado: Türk hattatları [Turkish calligraphers] (Istanbul, n.d.), pp. 182–4, 209...