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Siyer-i Nebi

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The Siyer-i Nebi is a Turkish epic about the life of Muhammad, completed around 1388, written by Mustafa son of Yusuf of Erzurum, a Mevlevi dervish on the commission of Sultan Berkuk, the Mamluk ruler in Cairo. The text is based on an Arabic work by Vakidi.

Ottoman ruler Murad III (1574–1595) ordered the work to be illustrated. The famous calligrapher Lutfi Abdullah (Lütfi Abdullah) was in charge of the workshop at the royal palace, and completed the work under Murad's successor Mehmed III, on 16 January 1595. The completed work contains 814 miniatures in six volumes.

Volumes I, II and VI are in the Topkapi Museum; Volume III is in the New York Public Library; Volume IV is in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.

About two dozen of the miniatures are in the hands of the private antiquity collectors. The first sale of four of them happened in Drouot Auction House, Paris, in March 1984.


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