Hilmi, Ibrahim. Postcard. Northern Arabian Gulf.

[Istanbul, Tüccarzade Ibrahim Hilmi Kitaphane-yi Askeri / Military Press Tüccarzade Ibrahim Hilmi, ca. 1910].

Colour lithographed postcard, 130 x 90 mm.


This very rare Ottoman postcard features a map of the Northern Arabian Gulf, including what is today Qatar, Bahrain, the Saudi Arabian Gulf Coast (including Dhahran), Kuwait, Southern Iraq (including Basra), as well as south-western Iran. Interestingly, it shows the Arab Gulf States as being part of the Ottoman Empire, when in reality they were already British Protectorates. The card was part of a series made by Ibrahim Hilmi, one of the premier Istanbul cartographers of the era.

Ibrahim Hilmi Cigiracan (1876-1963) was one of the most important publishers and cartographers of the late Ottoman Empire. Born in Tulcea (now in Romania), he founded his first printing shop in Istanbul in 1896, under the name "Kitaphane-i Islami" (Islamic Library), largely producing religious books. Subsequently, Hilmi became interested in military affairs, geography and history, and changed the name of his press to "Kitaphane-i Islam ve Askeri" (Islamic and Military Library). He published about 200 military books, and his atlases (especially his "Pocket Atlas") were among the most popular cartographic items throughout the empire. During WWI, Hilmi gained the affection of the public for his charitable programme of sending free books to poor children in Anatolia.

Hilmi's enterprise thrived until Atatürk's Republican regime nationalized the publishing of law and school books in the 1920s, undercutting the most lucrative part of his business. However, Hilmi left an enduring legacy, having published over a thousand books on a wide variety of topics over three decades.

Very good, overall clean and crisp, just some very light even toning to verso.