Katib Chelebi's armillary sphere

[Katib Chelebi]. Al-Qirimi, Ahmed, Turkish draughtsman (fl. 1730s). Zâtü'l-Kürsü. Autograph drawing signed.

Probably Istanbul, ca. 1732.

Original watercolour drawing over ink. 267 x 196 mm. On thick oriental wove paper.


Original ink drawing of the armillary sphere (Zâtü'l-Kürsü, "instrument on pedestal") published in 1732 in the famous universal Islamic geography "Kitab-i Cihânnümâ" of Katib Chelebi (1609-57). The present watercolour by Ahmed Al-Qirimi, who also contributed the maps to Ibrahim Müteferrika's famous publication of Katip's atlas, probably served as the direct model for the engraved plate. Müteferrika, a Hungarian convert to Islam, completed Katip's unfinished work, which had hitherto circulated in manuscripts only. He had the maps specially drawn and cut for it, and printed it at his own press, the first printshop in Turkey.

While extremely close in design and size to the present drawing, the published plate differs from it in several respects, lacking numerous details as well as - most conspicuously - the four additional instruments which here decorate the corners; on the other hand, the print shows the pedestal placed upon an additional short plinth not seen in the sketch.

Evenly browned and with a few small edge flaws, but well preserved.