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Hâfiz Osman

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Title: Hâfiz Osman  
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Collection: 1642 Births, 1698 Deaths, Muslim Artists, Ottoman Calligraphers
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Hâfiz Osman

This article is about a 17th-century calligrapher. For the Singaporean footballer, see Hafiz Osman.
Hâfiz Osman
A hilye by Hâfiz Osman.
Born 1642
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died 1698 (aged 55–56)
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Known for Islamic calligraphy
Movement Thuluth and Naskh

Hâfiz Osman (Ottoman Turkish: حافظ عثمان Modern Turkish: Hâfız Osman) (1642–1698) was an Ottoman calligrapher.


Hâfiz Osman was a Dervish and Islamic calligrapher, born in Istanbul.[1] He was tutor to the sultans Ahmed II, Mustafa II and Ahmed III,[2] and was esteemed by the sultan Mustafa II, who held his inkwell as he wrote.

Hâfiz Osman is credited with establishing the hilye. A hilye is a calligraphic panel containing a hadith-based text describing the Prophet's physical appearance and attributes. Hâfiz Osman incorporated such texts, which had been popular for some time, in a formal design that soon became standard for this art form. Hilyeler came to be used as wall decorations or surface adornments, fulfilling much the same function as figurative paintings in other religious traditions. While containing a concrete and artistically appealing description of Muhammad's appearance, they complied with the strictures against figurative depictions of the Prophet, leaving his appearance to the viewer's imagination.[3]

Hâfiz Osman is also credited with reinvigorating the tradition of Seyh Hamdullah, in particular with re-introducing a number of scripts that had fallen into disuse. Among his surviving works are copies of the Koran held at the Topkapi Palace Museum Library in Istanbul and the Nasser D. Khalili Collection.[4] The volumes of the Koran produced by Osman were among the most highly sought-after in his time.[5]



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  2. ^
  3. ^ F. E. Peters (10 November 2010). Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives. Oxford University Press. pp. 160–161.  
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lyons, Martyn. Books: A Living History. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011. p.48

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