Frontispiece with a Dedication to Sultan Khalil

ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper

text (on the verso) copied in nasta‘liq script

1 folio; 20.3 x 13.5cm

The recto is half of a double-page frontispiece and bears a dedication to Sultan Khalil, the eldest son of the Aqqoyunlu ruler Uzun Hasan, who reigned for only six months in 1478, in the lobed medallion at the centre of the composition. With its chinoiserie repertoire of florets and cloud scrolls and the indigenous tradition of split-palmette arabesques, the exquisite delicacy of the illumination represents a perfect synthesis of the Timurid and Turcoman traditions. It foreshadows Qur’anic illumination under the early Safavids, and the luxuriant design of the fine carpets woven for them. 

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.205, p.173.