Orlin Sabev

The Ottoman transition from scribal to print culture: the layout of the Müteferrika print

November 5, Saturday 12:00 – Sakıp Sabancı Museum

The paper will dwell on the development of the layout concept that Ibrahim Müteferrika adopted and followed in the Ottoman-Turkish books he printed between 1729 and 1742. The transition from scribal to print culture in 15th-century Europe saw the incorporation of the typical manuscript illumination into the printed books. However, one may observe in Müteferrika’s case a curious deviation from this rule. Since his printing enterprise took place only in the early 18th century when the European print layout were already too distinct from the scribal tradition Müteferrika started printing his books without illumination. However, after having seen that his costumers prefer to have the prints illuminated by hand with an ornamention (unvan or serlevha) on their first pages, Müteferrika himself decided to put in his latest prints a printed ornamention. These ad hoc layout changes are a good illustration of the specific way of the Ottoman transition from scribal to print culture.


Orlin Sabev is a Professor of History at the Institute for Balkan Studies and Centre of Thrachology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He is author of the several books, including İbrahim Müteferrika ya da Şlk Osmanı Matbaa Serüveni (1726-1746), Istanbul, 2006; Spiritus Roberti: Shaping New Minds and Robert College in Late Ottoman Society (1863-1923), Istanbul, 2014; Waiting for Müteferrika: Glimpses of Ottoman Print Culture, Boston, 2018. Besides, he has published articles on topics related to Ottoman cultural and social history (Ottoman education and librarianship, prostitution, Islamic mysticism, Turkish minority in Bulgaria) and Ottoman diplomatic and palaeography.


November 5, 2022

09:00 — 10:00

Morning Coffee


Welcome Remarks: Meltem Müftüler Baç

The Dean of Sabancı University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


Welcome Remarks: Nazan Ölçer

Director, Sakıp Sabancı Museum


Gerry Leonidas

Arabic typography: a paradigm for research-informed practice


Titus Nemeth

Building bridges: the case for a book that straddles two worlds

11:30 — 12:00

Coffee Break


Orlin Sabev

The Ottoman transition from scribal to print culture: the layout of the Müteferrika prints


Emanuela Conidi

An approach to the study of Arabic foundry type


Onur Yazıcıgil

The Ottoman printers’ 8 pt Naskh typeface and its Turkish type maker Mehmed Emin Efendi

13:30 — 14:30

Lunch Break


Borna Izadpanah

Naskh types from Europe, Ottoman Empire, and Russia in nineteenth-century Iran and their legacy


Özlem Özkal

A curious case of Ottoman Typography: detached Arabic Letters

15:30 — 16:00

Coffee Break


Thomas Milo

Script grammar: a linguistic approach to digitising Islamic script


Ayşe Aldemir

Members of the Ottoman dynasty who were calligraphers


November 6 — 7, 2022

10:00 — 17:00

Borna Izadpanah & Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer

Arabic-script type design workshop: considering the past, designing for the present

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