Turkish Incunabula: Vankuli, Mehmed ibn Mustafa (c. 1592) Kitab-i Lugat-i Vankuli
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Turkish Incunabula: Vankuli, Mehmed ibn Mustafa (c. 1592) Kitab-i Lugat-i Vankuli. Istanbul: Ibrahim Muteferrika, 1729.
The first book printed in Turkish by a Muslim, two folio volumes; volume two lacks pages 483/484 and 497/498 (conjugates); two additional leaves inserted between pages 720 and 721 numbered 721/722 and 761/762; printed in a single column throughout, within a printed border; a mixed set, both volumes bound in full contemporary sheepskin, but in different shades of brown with different tooling; volume one's blind-tooled central medallions are larger, more ornate, and inlaid with a contrasting leather; volume one has been professionally rebacked, water stains in both volumes, small marginal tears, titles in manuscript on page edges at the foot, 13 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (2)
The work is an Arabic-Turkish Dictionary, sometimes called Jawhari's Dictionary, written originally as an Arabic to Arabic dictionary by Jawhari (d. 1009-10), here adapted into an Arabic-Turkish dictionary by Vankuli (d. 1592) and printed by Ibrahim Muteferrika (1674-1745) with the approval of Sultan Ahmed III. Muteferrika was a Hungarian Calvinist captured by the Ottomans as a teenager. In Istanbul, he learned Turkish, converted to Islam, and completely assimilated into the society. A true polymath who valued culture and education, he contributes an essay in this work in which he argues the importance of the dissemination of knowledge through printing.
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