Husam Al-Din Chelebi

Ḥusām Al-Dīn Chelebi is Brought to a Reception Given for Rūmī by Mucīn Al-Dīn Parvāna, a Minister of Konya

Tarjuma-i Thawāqib-i manāqib (A Translation of Stars of the Legend), in Turkish
The translation was ordered in 1590 by Sultan Murād III (r. 1574–95) from the Persian abridgement of Aflākī.

Iraq, Baghdad
225 x 140 mm

Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1911

MS M.466, fol. 151v, 154r
Item description: 

Rūmī and Ḥusām Chelebi (d. 1284) are shown in the garden at the right. Rūmī's deep love and yearning for his young disciple and designated successor is indicated by well-known metaphors: the entwined cypress and blossoming fruit tree, the young gardener below, and the youth picking flowers. In the text, Rūmī is described as a nightingale and Ḥusām as a rose. Within the palace the young minister, wearing a white turban with flowers and a black feather, awaits the arrival of Rūmī and his beloved. It was Ḥusām who asked Rūmī to compose a didactic poem for his disciples. Rūmī responded with the "Song of the Reed," the first eighteen verses of the Masnavī, his six-volume poetic work in rhyming couplets. Ḥusām assisted Rūmī by transcribing his 24,660 couplets.

This miniature is part of a sixteenth-century manuscript account of the life and miracles of the Persian poet and mystic known as Rūmī. It is a Turkish translation of an abridged version of the original fourteenth-century Persian account by the dervish known as Aflākī.

Exhibition section: 

Rūmī, Persian Mystic And Poet
The sixteenth-century miniatures presented here concern the life and miracles of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, called Mē vlāna (Our Master), the most famous member of the Mevlevī order and Persia's greatest Sufi mystic and poet. He was born in Balkh in 1207, but his family emigrated after his father foresaw the Mongol conquest. They eventually resettled in Konya, Turkey, then the capital of Anatolian Rūm (thus Rūmī), where the poet died on 17 December 1273.

Several Persian accounts of Rūmī's life have been written, the first by his son, Sultan Walad. The third, laden with moralizing miracle stories, was ordered by Rūmī's grandson Ulu ˓Ārif Chelebi. It was written by the dervish Shams al-Dīn Aḥmad, called Aflākī (d. 1360). Aflākī also incorporated verses from Rūmī's works, notably his six-volume Masnavī (a poetical form of rhyming couplets) and the Dīvān-i-Shams al-Dīn Tabrīzī, named after Shams of Tabriz, the mystic who changed Rūmī's life and transformed him into a poet when they met in 1244.

In 1590—three and a half centuries after Aflākī wrote his life of Rūmī—the Ottoman sultan Mūrad III ordered a Turkish translation of a 1540 abridged version of Aflākī's text entitled Tarjuma-i Thawāqib-i manāqib (Stars of the Legend). The translator was Darvīsh Mahmud Mesnevī Khān of Konya. Two illustrated copies of the Murād translation, both made in Baghdad, survive. One, dated 1599, is held by Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, and has twenty-two miniatures. The other, richer manuscript is held by the Morgan. It dates to the 1590s and includes twenty-nine miniatures. They are all featured here, along with two folios from other collections that are believed to have once been part of the Morgan manuscript.