Hilye-i Şerif (written portrait of the Prophet)

Hasan Rıza1905

Sakıp Sabancı Museum

Sakıp Sabancı Museum
Istanbul, Turkey

In sülüs and nesih script


  • Title: Hilye-i Şerif (written portrait of the Prophet)
  • Long Description: The first nine lines of the hilye text describing the physical characteristics, personality and demeanour of the Prophet Muhammad as recounted by Ali are written in the circular cartouche in the centre of the composition, and the next four lines are in the rectangular field below this. The text is written in nesih script. Above the four lines in the rectangular field is verse 107 of the Enbiya surah, “We sent thee not saves as a mercy for the peoples’ in celi sülüs, and in the rectangular field at the bottom is the hadith ‘If not for you, if not for you I could not have created the worlds’, also in celi sülüs. At the top, above the extended sin of the besmele written in celi sülüs (magnified sülüs) is the part of verse 27 of the Neml surah (That letter is from Solomon) written in sülüs script. Since the besmele (Bismillahirrahmanirrahim’, ‘In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful), is verse 30 from the same surah, reading the two inscriptions one after the other lends additional meaning to the composition. This device is a feature of all Hasan Rıza’s hilye panels. In the spandrels of the circular göbek are medallions containing the names of the four caliphs. Some of the spaces between the lines, verse stops, area above the extended letter sin of the besmele, the spaces around the cartouches and decorative panels are illuminated with bouquets in vases and long slender intertwined leaves. The design of gilded branches and bouquets on an indigo blue ground inside the broad border is repeated on a hilye by the calligrapher Mustafa Vâsıf illuinated by Faruk Taşkale. One of the most eminent calligraphers active in the early 20th century, Hasan Rıza produced many copies of the Koran as well as numerous large hilye-i şerif. The Sakıp Sabancı Museum collection includes a Koran, calligraphic exercises, albums and calligraphic panels by Hasan Rıza, and his icazet or master’s certificate.
  • Creator: Signed Hasan Rıza
  • Date Created: 1905
  • Physical Dimensions: w745 x h1070 mm
  • Type: Calligraphy
  • Rights: Sakıp Sabancı Museum
  • Medium: Paper, black ink, coloured paint, gold

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps