Religious depictions and scenes of nomadic life: a masterpiece of Mongolian culture by one of its greatest artists

Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen

Turkestan — Beginning of the 15th century

Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen

Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen

Turkestan — Beginning of the 15th century

  1. Muhammad Siyah Qalam, "The Black Pen", is one of the greatest masters of Mongolian painting

  2. This manuscript is a gem of Mongolian culture with scenes of nomadic life

  3. Religious depictions similarly give insight into the spirituality of the Mongols

Siyah Qalem

Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen

Two Demons Spinning Thread

Although the manuscript is largely dedicated to depicting the nomadic life of the Mongols, it is also a religious manuscript that is most famous for its fantastic depictions of demons. They are shown dancing, carrying palanquins, and engaging in other activities of the court. Two demons are shown here squatting and spinning thread. They are depicted with curly hair, wrinkled faces, pointed ears with earrings, and are adorned with bracelets and other jewelry.

Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen

Alternative Titles:
  • Siyah Qalam
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

A great secret surrounds these 15th century Mongolian paintings: they come from the most important Mongolian artist of the time, Master Muhammad Siyah Qalam, The Black Feather. In spite of his name, his illustration style is actually characterized by a bright color palette. Although clearly exhibiting Chinese influences, he clearly has a grandiose style of his own. The paintings can be thematically divided into two groups: religious depictions and scenes from the life of the nomads. This manuscript is a gem of Mongolian culture and is housed in Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace. The exotic world of Central Asia opens up on 80 pages in wonderfully colored paintings, pictures of nomadic life, their culture, and religion. A unique attestation to this exciting epoch!

Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen

This gem of Mongolian culture is housed in Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace: the impressive paintings of the master Muhammad Siyah Qalam, translated as The Black Pen are found in several albums. The identity of the painter, considered to be “one of the greatest masters of Mongolian painting”, remains anonymous to this day. His paintings have been signed often, having said this, these signatures are extremely mysterious and are probably not all originals, but were applied later instead. Thus, he remains an unknown, enigmatic 15th century Mongolian master. The compendium at hand unites the master’s works of art with works by other painters from his circle, which were strictly oriented in their style.

Mongolian Motifs on Silk and Parchment

The precious paintings by the master Muhammad Siyah Qalam (or Üstad Mehmed Siyah Qalem) are presented in the 80-page compendium as works of art using the most varied techniques and materials, including fabrics like silk. The paintings are exquisitely designed with luminous colors for the most part, so do not be deceived by the name of the master – The Black Quill. The Chinese influence in style is clearly discernable at first glimpse, but the grandiose pictures have much more going on in them!

The Life of the Mongolian Nomads

The works of Muhammad Siyah Qalam are completely different both in terms of content and style than the rest of the unknown Mongolian works of art. The paintings can be thematically divided into two groups: religious depictions and scenes from the life of the nomads. Thus, one finds interesting depictions of the hunt or of splendid caravans alongside devilish-looking figures, demons and animals, rituals and dancing. These artworks offer a unique inside view into 15th century Mongolian culture.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Siyah Qalam
Size / Format
80 sheets / 48.5 x 33.5 cm
Date
Beginning of the 15th century
Content
The life of the Turkic nomads: dresses, tools, weapons, animals
Artist / School
Siyah Qalem

Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen

Yörük Nomad Grazing his Horse

Scenes of nomadic life fill the manuscript, which is a celebration of Mongol culture and the establishment of their empire, the largest land empire in history. Aside from depictions of the hunt and other activities, simple daily life on the steppe is depicted with many images of their appearance and dress, but are Persian in style.

Leaning against his staff, a nomad is shown dressed in a long blue robe lined with red, he has a full grey beard and a black, helmet-like cap with a gold decorative piece on the top. Although no grass is shown, his horse leans down with his teeth bared as those he were about to graze. One hoof is upturned to show that the horse is shod with golden horseshoes and the beast has a wild expression on its face.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen“

Siyah Qalem
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
Siyah Qalem - The Black Pen – ex Hasine 2153|Hazine 2160 – Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA) / Topkapı Sarayı (Istanbul, Turkey)
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Siyah Qalem

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1976
Commentary
1 volume (48 pages) by M. S. Ipsiroglu
Language: German
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Siyah Qalem
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Siyah Qalem

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Salerno Editrice – Rome
Commentary
1 volume
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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