Watermark Wednesdays: Angel

Angel watermark in Isl. Ms. 647
Watermark of an angel - wearing a halo and set in a circle with a six-pointed star above - appearing across the fold of p.460-461 in Isl. Ms. 647.

This Wednesday’s watermark comes once again from the Islamic Manuscripts Collection - one of the papers in Isl. Ms. 647 to be exact. It features a watermark of a haloed angel set in a circle with a six-pointed star above.

The manuscript carries the text of the Arabic commentary upon the Gulistān of Sa‘dī. This commentary was composed by Muṣliḥ al-Dīn Muṣṭafá Surūrī (Sürûrî, Muslihuddin Mustafa) for the Ottoman prince Mustafa (d.1553) son of Sultan Süleyman I "The Magnificent" (r.1520-66). According to its colophon, transcription of the manuscript was completed in Istanbul in 1575. Other manuscripts from our Islamic Manuscripts Collection with papers featuring angel watermarks were also produced in the late 16th century.

Versions of the angel watermark also appear in the papers of many 16th century Italian books, as the collections of Briquet and Piccard reveal. In most cases, the angel is depicted wearing a halo and set in a circle with either a leaf or a star above. Occasionally the paper is countermarked by the initials of the papermaker - a feature suggesting Italian manufacture.

Briquet ange
Entries for haloed angel in circle or oval motifs from Briquet Online [1]

In some cases, the figure of the angel is not set in a circle. Another angel watermark among the papers of Isl. Ms. 647 is an example. 

Another angel watermark in Isl. Ms. 647
Upper part of another angel watermark in Isl. Ms. 647 p.366

A countermark of the initials "H S" under trefoil also appears among the papers of Isl. Ms. 647, again suggesting a paper produced in Italy.

Countermark of initials "H S" under trefoil in Isl. Ms. 647 p.288
"H S" under trefoil countermark (backwards in this view) in lower outer corner of p.288 in Isl. Ms. 647

Briquet records a couple of similar marks and countermarks in his collection.

Briquet 621 includes a freestanding angel with "H S" countermark.

Briquet 621
Entry for Briquet 621 in Briquet Online [2]

These marks appear in books produced in the Italian city of Udine in 1570 and 1573, just a few years before our manuscript!

Briquet 654 includes an angel in circle with star above and "H S" countermark. 

Briquet 654
Entry for Briquet 654 in Briquet Online [3]

These marks appear in a volume produced in the Italian city of Udine in 1576 - just a year after our manuscript! Measurements of the laid and chain lines for the papers of these marks are also quite similar to the angel marked papers in Isl. Ms. 647.

Thus, the papers used in Isl. Ms. 647 were likely produced by the same Italian papermaker who manufactured the papers used in the Udine books. Yet another example of Italian made paper being put to use in Ottoman manuscripts!


[1] Briquet Online, database accessible at: http://www.ksbm.oeaw.ac.at/_scripts/php/BR.php

[2] See also the pdf for the online entry (Briquet 621).

[3] See also the pdf for the online entry (Briquet 654).

 

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