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The Age of Sinan

Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire

Mimar Koca Sinan (1489–1588), the most celebrated of all Ottoman Empire architects, is particularly renowned for his contributions to the cityscape of Istanbul. During his fifty-year career he designed hundreds of buildings, and his distinctive architectural idiom left its imprint on the terrain of a vast empire extending from the Danube to the Tigris.

Sinan’s mosques are considered among his best work, and with their light-filled centralized domes, remain a testament to his inventive spirit and passion for experimentation. In this major study of Sinan’s extraordinary buildings, Gülru Necipoglu argues that Sinan’s rich variety of mosque designs sprang from a process of negotiation between the architect and his patrons, rather than from unrestrained formal experimentation. Using primary source material, Necipoglu describes how Sinan created a layered system of mosque types, reflecting social status and territorial rank.

“Brushing aside skewed orientalist and nationalist readings which have colored many previous studies of his work, the author, using original documentation, provides the most detailed written study ever, of not only Sinan’s architecture, but also, arguably, of Ottoman culture, politics and society in the classical age  . . . Without question, The Age of Sinan is one of the most remarkable architectural biographies ever written and the book Sinan’s life and work richly deserves.”—Prospect

“The effort that has gone into the research and compilation of this publication is remarkable . . . an essential text for anyone with a serious interest in architecture.” —Architectural Review

592 pages | 250 color plates, 296 halftones | 9 x 11 | © 2005

Architecture: European Architecture

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Contextualizing Sinan

Part I: Architectural Patronage in the Classical Period
Chapter 1: Imperial Territory, Social Hierarchy, and Identity
Chapter 2: The Legal Apparatus and Memory
Chapter 3: Culture of Architecture and Decorum

Part II: The Chief Architect as an Individual and Institution
Chapter 4: Portrait of the Divine Maestro
Chapter 5: Institutional Frameworks of Architectural Practice

Part III: Interpreting Mosques and Mosque Complexes Attributed to Sinan
Chapter 6: Sultans, Princes and Vassals
Chapter 7: Queens: Wives and Mothers of Sultans
Chapter 8: Princesses and their Husbands
Chapter 9: Grand Viziers
Chapter 10: Viziers
Chapter 11: Grand Admirals
Chapter 12: Provincial Governors and Administrators
      Western and Central Anatolia
      Eastern Anatolia
      Syria and the Arab Lands
Chapter 13: Officers of the Imperial Council and Other Dignitaries
Chapter 14: Aghas and Attendants of the Inner Imperial Palace
Chapter 15: Merchants and Tradesmen

Epilogue: Sinan’s Legacy
Appendices (1–4)
Select Bibliography
Maps (1–5)
Photographic Acknowledgements

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