An Ottoman manuscript for the Sultan: the description of the signs of the zodiac, the interpretation of dreams, and the prediction of the future

Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet

Turkey — 1582

Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet

Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet

Turkey — 1582

  1. The illuminator Ustad ‘Osman created this codex in 1582 at the behest of Sultan Murad III (1546-95)

  2. The work describes in detail personal characteristics in relation to the respective signs of the zodiac

  3. The gifted master created an art that was well-known for its amazingly lifelike painting style

Libro de la Felicidad - Matali’ al-saadet

Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet

Patron Portrait of Sultan Murad III

The Sultan is shown sitting cross-legged on an elaborate carpet wearing lavish clothing with a sleeveless outer coat with cloth of gold brocade and the large turban typical of the 16th century. He is surrounded by elaborate tile work and various patterns in a wonderful kaleidoscope of color, but the Sultan’s attention is focused on the codex next to him, likely representing the work at hand. Two Janissaries attend the Sultan as he is entertained by a pair of dwarves dancing around a fountain.

Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro de la Felicidad - Matali’ al-saadet
  • Buch der Glückseligkeit
  • Matali' al-sa’adet
  • Libro della Felicità
  • Le Livre du Bonheur
  • Livro da Felicidade
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Imageof
Edition available
Ask for an offer!
  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Book of Felicity arose in 1582 in the Ottoman Empire. It was commissioned at the behest of Sultan Murad III and has been furnished with extraordinary book decoration by the illuminator Ustad ‘Osman. The work is concerned with spiritual themes such as zodiac signs, the interpretation of dreams, and the prediction of the future.

Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet

In the second half of the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire stretched from Budapest to Baghdad, from Oman to Tunisia and to Mecca and Medina. Important cities such as Damascus, Alexandria, and Cairo were under Ottoman rule. Sultan Murad III (1546-95) ruled over his empire from Constantinople. The educated and art-loving sultan had employed the most talented architects, painters, sculptors, calligraphers, poets, etc. in his harem. Under him, the fantastic Turkish-Ottoman painting of the 16th and 17th centuries came to full bloom. The Sultan brought up 47 children. He had a special gift made for his daughter Fatima, namely the Book of Felicity. It contains the most outstanding and influential miniatures of Ottoman illumination.

The Astounding Manuscript

The Book of Felicity was produced in 1582. The text of the work is the translation of an Arabic manuscript by Muhammad ibn Amir Hassan al-Su’udi. The design of all the miniatures occurred under the supervision of the famous illuminator Ustad ‘Osman. ‘Osman himself is responsible for the pictures that introduce the book and demonstrate similarities with the twelve signs of the zodiac. The gifted master created a style that was famous for its astonishingly lifelike painting style. His style markedly influenced other painters at the court of Murad.

Spiritual and Exotic Miniatures

The codex describes personal characteristics with regard to the respective zodiac signs in detail. Masterful miniatures accompany these descriptions and show how human destinies can be changed through the influence of the stars. Some illustrations concern themselves with the interpretation of dreams, others with the prediction of the future. The manuscript shows mysterious figures in unusual poses who are dressed in luminously colorful garments, it shows opulent palaces and mosques. Similarly, countless animals such as peacocks, sea monsters, and exotic bids are illustrated. The work takes the beholder along on a trip through the fantastic eastern World of the Middle Ages.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de la Felicidad - Matali’ al-saadet
Buch der Glückseligkeit
Matali' al-sa’adet
Libro della Felicità
Le Livre du Bonheur
Livro da Felicidade
Size / Format
286 pages / 31.0 x 21.0 cm
Origin
Turkey
Date
1582
Language
Illustrations
71 full-page miniatures lavishly embellished with gold
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Libro de la Felicidad - Matali’ al-saadet

Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet

Image of Scorpio

This page is dedicated to Scorpio and depicts two scorpions, one of whom Mars has seized by the tail. Mars is dressed in the armor of a contemporary Turkish warrior: his tunic is reinforced by chainmail at the neck and shoulders, his forearms are protected by vambraces, and a helmet that protects his ears and neck. He holds a curved sword over his head with the sheath hanging from his belt.

Mars is presented within a circular frame surrounded by gold leaf floral elements set against a brilliant royal blue background. The bas-de-page miniature depicts the lords of the three decades: the figure on the right is a young, beardless man holding a mace, the middle figure represents the sun, and the goddess Venus plays the tambourine on the left.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet“

Libro de la Felicidad - Matali’ al-saadet
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Book of Felicity - Matali’ al-saadet – Suppl. turc 242 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Imageof

Libro de la Felicidad - Matali’ al-saadet

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2007
Limited Edition
987
Binding
Turkish binding in red leather with gold decoration
Commentary
1 volume by Miguel Ángel de Bunes Ibarra, Evrim Türkçelik, Günsel Renda, Stefano Carboni and Yorgos Dedes
Language: Spanish
  1. Matching Works
  2. Matching Background Articles

Matching Works

De Sphaera

De Sphaera

By Cristoforo de Predis, the painter of Sforza and Visconti: one of the most beautiful astrological works of Renaissance illumination

Experience More

Matching Background Articles

Publisher