Ottoman Paper Cutout Book: Prayer Book for the Seven Days of the Week


The art of Islamic paper cutouts developed in Timurid Herat in the 15th century. It reached Istanbul via Tabriz as early as the beginning of the 16th century. Once established in Ottoman book art, it continued to be appreciated until the end of the 19th century. For cutting out paper special pointed knives with blades curved downwards were used. The booklet presented here, consisting of just eight leaves, contains seven prayers of praise in Arabic for the use of the tasbih (glorification of God), one for each weekday. The prayers and ornaments (flowers, shrubs, cypresses, and tendrils) are cut out of thin, white oriental paper, and framed in yellowish colored paper that originated from Italy or Spain. In a note, the booklet is attributed to Fahri Dede of Bursa (died after 1600), one of the most famous masters of this art. At the conclusion of the manuscript is a poem in Turkish.

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Physical Description

8 folios ; 17 x 13 centimeters


  • BSB shelfmark: Cod.turc. 428


  1. Barbara Schmitz, “Cut Paper,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica.

Last updated: November 16, 2017