Language: Ottoman Turkish
Source: Antique object


Tevfik is the name of an Ottoman leather binder who covered a bow made by Haci Gavsî.

The bow was made in the Hijri year year 1240. (Between August 26, 1824 and July 18, 1825.)

Signature of Tefvik the bookbinder

"Nakş-i mücellid Tevfik 1283"

Nakş-i mücellid is his profession: the leather binder and decorator of books which was a very well-established art in the Ottoman empire. The Hijri year 1283 was between May 16, 1866 and April 6, 1867.

It is curious that the bow was decorated about 42 years after it was made. Also, the bowyer's signature is clearly in different handwriting than the decorator. It suggests he himself re-signed the bow, 42 years after he made it.

Tevfik is a rather common name, and several calligraphers went by this name so it’s hard to find out which one it was. I have found the cover of a book that shows some striking similarities to the work of this bow, that was done by a certain Mehmed Tevfik, signed 1910. Because it is another 43 years after the bow decor was done, it doesn't seem very likely that it is the same man. I attach the photo anyway, just for reference. Note the rococo elements in each corner, also done in two tones of gold.

Source: The Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy

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Signed by its maker Haci Gavsî, and its decorator Tevfik.


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