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VELVET COVER ULTRA LUXERY ISSUE 140 PAGES LIMITED EDITION OTTOMAN WAR RADIOLOGY MEDICINE HISTORY
Abdulhamid the 2nd was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire between 1876-1909 and hold a central
administration as a basis and spent most of his time in Yıldız Palace during his reign. He developed the
palace not only as an administrative center but also as a center of knowledge, culture and arts.
It was difficult to administer an empire, boundaries of which spanned three continents, from a single
center. On the other hand, it was necessary to follow the developments in the world in technology,
science and culture and to see their reflections inside the borders of the empire. Sultan Abdulhamid
the 2nd was interested in photography and tried to pursue these developments and reflections with
photographs. Spending most of his time in the palace, the sultan found the way to bring the world to
his palace in photographs, instead of leaving the palace.
He was specially interested in photographers who came to the empire at the time, and established a
photography studio in the palace. In addition to using photography as a tool of intelligence, detection,
recognition and management, he also saw it as a device for propaganda. As such, he created a unique
collection in Yıldız Palace by gathering photographs from all over the country.
This collection is also known as “Yıldız Palace Photo Albums”. It is regarded as one of the richest visual
archives in the world from the nineteenth century. It is an old document not only of Istanbul but of all
There are 36,585 photographs in 918 albums in the collection, which is presently kept in Istanbul
University Library and Documentation Department, Rare Works Library. The photographs, which can
be accepted as a treasury in terms of reflecting the cultural, architectural, economic, political and social
texture of the period, have a very rich variety. It is of great value in terms of protecting cultural heritage
and transferring it to future generations from this point of view.
The photos of the Ottoman Empire lands are a general view of the empire in the late 1880s and early 1890s.
These photos cover a wide variety of subjects such as cities, castles, bridges, police stations, fountains,
mosques, tombs, schools, hospitals, Ottoman palaces, mansions, pavilions, sports demonstrations,
ceremonies, İstanbul and Jerusalem visits of foreign heads of states, factories, ships, railways, stations,
exhibitions, farms, stud farms, palace jewelery, palace theater, princes and sultans, officers and aides
as well as group photographs from various community segments.
In the collection with its wide range, there are also photo albums sent to the Sultan from countries around
the world. In the photographs covering more than twenty countries mainly from Europe, America and10 11
Far East, there are images of cities and natural beauties of these countries, palaces, factories, ships,
weapons and various industrial products, religious and state leaders, museums and art works.
As such, it gives the opportunity to have an idea about various parts of the world and follow the
developments of that period.
Approximately 263 signatures, known as the greatest photography masters or photography studios of
the period, draws attention in the photography collection.
The photographs in the albums are interesting not only with their contents but also with their original
bindings, elegant layouts and decorations, editions prepared in different languages and photo subinformations.
With these features, they put forth the art and aesthetic comprehension of the period.
While some albums are large and heavy with dimensions of 78x55, there are also smaller albums with
dimensions of 41x32.
The common feature of the cover decorations of the albums containing various compositions is the use
of the Coat of Arms of the Ottoman Empire. The skins of bindings are mostly leather, but there are also
wooden, velvet and metal ones.
Specially designed albums consisting of images selected from this collection were sent to the British
Museum in England and the National Library in the United States by Sultan Abdulhamid the 2nd, in
order to get rid of misperceptions about the Ottoman Empire, to introduce the developmental aspects
of the modernizing country to the west and to strengthen the image of the country.
Modernizing aspects of the Ottoman Empire were tried to be explained with 800 photographs in 49
albums sent to England and abount 1800 photographs in 51 albums sent to America.
The collection was transferred from Yıldız Palace to Istanbul University Library, in 1925 on the
instructions of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Today, it is being kept in a specially air-conditioned environment
in the Rare Works Library of Istanbul University.
Under the auspices of the Presidency, within the scope of “Photo Albums of Sultan Abdulhamid the
2nd Project” high-quality and high-resolution digital shooting studies using the uptodate technology
and detailed cataloging of all photographs have been done and have been digitalized. Completed
photographs are accessible on the library web page.
Photography technology, which started to develop in the first half of the nineteenth century, attracted
great attention in some parts of the society, especially the palace, in the Ottoman Empire. The interest
and support of the Ottoman Sultans in photography reached its peak especially during the reign of
Sultan Abdulhamid the 2nd.
Abdulhamid expressed the importance he gave to photography with these words: “Every photo is an
idea. A picture inculcates political and emotional meanings that cannot be expressed in a hundred-page
article. Therefore, I use photographs rather than written information”
Abdulhamid, in line with this idea, created a very large collection of photographs. Many local and foreign
photographers have reflected the conditions of those days on the photographs based on the idea that
“whatever is remarkable should be photographed”. Images covering every aspect of life in the empire
were recorded with impressive photo frames.
This large collection containing excellent frames for the conditions of that period is still being kept in
Istanbul University Rare Works Library. In addition, its digital frecords are located in the Library of
Islamic History, Art and Culture Research Center (IRCICA).
The discovery of X-rays and their first use inside the Ottoman Empire also coincides with the reign
period of Abdulhamid the 2nd. It had been frequently used at the time for imaging war-wounded
people, and this usage included the first applications in the world in this regard. It started to be used in
other fields in a short time.
There are many radiology-related images in the collection. The numbers of the albums containing
these images and the number of photos in them are as follows:
Album No: 779-41. 22 lots in total
Album No: 779-87. 45 lots in total and 39 of them are radiology related.
Album No: 90679. 30 lots in total
Album No: 90738. 10 lots in total
Album No: 779-35. 105th lot
Album No: 779-62. 5th lot
Album No: 779-67. 20th lot
Album No: 90609. 16th and 17th lots
Album No: 90611. 18th and 19th lots
Album No: 90613. 9th and 10th lots