Gardening and the cultivation of flowers

Abdullah Efendi bin Galatavi Ruznamçeci Mahmud Efendi. Risale-i Sükufename [The Book of Flowers] (and another treatise on horticulture).

Ottoman Empire, [1776 CE =] 1190 H.

4to (142 x 195 mm). Manuscript in Ottoman Turkish, 2 parts in one volume. (105), (38) pp. on (84) ff. Text in black (and occasional red) riqa', 15 lines within red (and occasional gilt) rules. 19th century limp brown morocco binding.


A collection of two Ottoman Turkish treatises in a single 18th century manuscript, discussing gardening and the cultivation of flowers.

Abdullah Efendi's work is a brief treatise on floriculture, divided into 13 chapters and written at the commission of "His Excellency Mustafa Pasha". The book offers a discussion of the daffodil (chapter 1) and of the different types of soil necessary for growing flowers (chapter 2), as well as detailed information on the various kinds of tulips; further on the Istanbul trade in flower seeds among flower lovers and about the spread of beautiful flowers to the city.

Prefixed to this is an anonymous, untitled Ottoman horticultural treatise. The author recounts how he set up a garden in Edirne (Adrianople, once the capital of the Ottoman Empire), clearing the area, planting fruit and flowers, and settling there. The garden soon became famous for resembling paradise itself, and the author decided there to write his book. The final section offers instructions for the long-term preservation of pears, apples and lemons, recommending methods such as sun-drying, wrapping in leaves, and storing fruit in bottles. At the beginning is a table in which the movements of the stars are related to the various seasons.

Spine rebacked; altogether well-preserved.