Surname-i Hümayun

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Parade of weavers in front of Sultan Murad III.  on the occasion of Prince Mehmed's circumcision ceremony
Surname-i Hümayun
Nakkaş Osman , 1583–1588
Illumination on paper,
33.5 cm × 23.5 cm
Topkapı Palace Hazine 1344; Istanbul

The Surname-i Hümayun ( Ottoman سورنامهٔ همايون İA Sūr-nāme-ʾi hümāyūn , German 'grand glorious festival book' ) or “Festival book Murads III” ( Turkish III. Murad Nameni ) is an illuminated manuscript from the library of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul . It describes the celebrations on the occasion of the circumcision of Prince Mehmed , the son of Sultan Murad III. It contains 250 miniature paintings and is one of the most famous manuscripts in Ottoman literature .


In 1582, Sultan Murad III ordered. a festival to celebrate the circumcision of his son, the future Mehmed III. that should last 52 days and nights. The precious manuscript that was created on this occasion illustrates in detail the celebrations, banquets, public meals, parades of the various artisan guilds in the city, circumcision festivals for poor children, new clothes, alms and debt relief. The manuscript contains a lot of information about everyday life in Istanbul at that time.

A separate chapter is devoted to the genesis of the book. According to this, it was written by the calligrapher Intizâmî after the end of the festival , the miniatures come from Nakkaş Osman and his workshop. Another document written in 1588 by Seyyid Lokman b. Hüseyin, the official court historian (şehnameci) , states that as a reward, the salary of the artist's surname and male name was increased. Copies of the surname are to be found in the library of the Topkapı Palace (TSMK, Hazine, inv. No. 1344) and in the Austrian National Library in Vienna (Cod. HO 70).


The manuscript contains 250 miniatures on double pages. The most important are the ceremonies that were held in the hippodrome square. The Sultan observed the festivities from his box in the Ibrahim Pasha Palace , accompanied by the official guests.

As befits his role, the sultan is almost always shown in the same position, sitting on his throne, only the color of his clothes varies. He only changes his attitude in the picture, which shows how he scatters money among the people (folio 46v-47r). The other participants are always depicted on the side of a double page opposite the Sultan, their representation follows the hierarchy: the common people ( Reâyâ ) are on the same level as the parade, the invited guests are in three galleries, including Christians (the do not wear turbans), these always in the lowest gallery. The composition of the picture therefore emphasizes the perception of hierarchy and the social order of the Ottoman Empire at that time.

The Surname-i Hümayun in Modern Literature

The Surname-i Hümayun plays an important role in the novel Rot is my name of the modern Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk .

See also

Web links

Portal: Turkey  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Turkey
Portal: Islam  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Islam
Commons : Surname-ı Hümayun  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ingo F. Walther, Norbert Wolf: Codices illustres. The most beautiful illuminated manuscripts in the world 400 to 1600 . Taschen Verlag, Cologne 2001, ISBN 978-3-8228-6023-6 , pp. 450-451 .
  2. Tim Stanley: Ottoman gift exchange: Royal give and take. In: Linda Komaroff (Ed.): Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts (Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art) . Yale Univ Press, New Haven CT 2011, ISBN 978-0-300-17110-5 , pp. 149-170 .
  3. ^ Viennese manuscript: Cod. HO 70 ; see also Gustav Flügel: The Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts of the imperial-royal court library in Vienna. Volume 2, Verlag der kk Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1865, p. 239 (No. 1019; online ).
  4. a b Nurhan Atasoy: 1582 Surname-I Hümayun: An Imperial Celebration . Koç Kultur, Istanbul 1997, ISBN 978-975-296-001-5 .
  5. Orhan Pamuk: My name is red . 15th edition. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 978-3-596-15660-3 .