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King Solomon or Sultan Süleyman?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the enigmatic depiction of a saintly figure whom one believe to be Kanuni Sultan Süleyman, in the image of King Solomon. On stylistic grounds, this painting may be attributed to one of the illustrated volumes of Shahname-i Al-i Osman, and perhaps served as a frontispiece for the Enbiyaname, the now dispersed first volume of this famous poetic world history, Ottoman dynastic history and chronicle of Sultan Süleyman. Composed by the poet Fethullah Arif Çelebi and entitled Shahname-i Al-i Osman, the multivolume manuscript was copied and illustrated by Ottoman court painters. The painting depicts a prophet seated on a minbar, or an elevated platform under a high dome, surrounded by other prophets, scholars and angels. Due to the golden, fiery halo around the prophet's head, and in particular his elevated seat, the saintly person is often identified in the scholarly literature as Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam.

Keywords: Islam; Jerusalem; Kanuni Sultan Süleyman; King Solomon; Ottoman Empire



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