The Arts of the Book and Calligraphy
About the Collection
Sakıp Sabancı’s (d. 2004) collection of calligraphic works by famous calligraphers, Korans and illuminated manuscripts began with the purchase of a levha (calligraphic panel) by Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808-39). The Sakıp Sabancı collection expanded in the 1980s with the purchase of private collections, and from 1989 onwards it was exhibited in major museums abroad. The keen interest attracted by these exhibitions cemented Sakıp Sabancı and his family’s resolve to further enlarge the collection and encouraged the idea of founding a museum. In 1998 the family mansion Atlı Köşk (the Mansion with the Horse) was bequeathed to Sabancı University for the purpose of converting it into a museum, and in 2002 the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum opened to the public. The ground floor of the mansion was preserved with the original furnishings used by the Sabancı family when they lived there, while the upper floor rooms were transformed into galleries for exhibiting Ottoman manuscripts and calligraphic compositions. In 2012, the 10th anniversary of the Museum, the exhibition technique was enriched with technological applications, enabling the guests to view all pages of thr exhibited manuscripts as well as the bindingd with the iPads provided. Spanning a period from the 14th to 20th century, Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s Arts of the Book and Calligraphy Collection consists of Koran manuscripts and prayer books written by renowned calligraphers; albums compiling pages of Koranic verses, hadith, aphorisms and verses decorated with ornamental works and cut-papers; large panels composed to be hanged on the wall just like paintings; illuminated official documents bearing the imperial cipher of the Ottoman sultans, some of which are illuminated, and calligrapher’s tools made of silver and organic substances, such as coral, ivory, bone and tortoise shell.