The Hunername Topkapi Palace Museum,
Among the officials in the Palace organization of the Ottoman State were the Chroniclers (Sheynameci) who used to record in verse and prose daily events, the personality of the sultans, and the details of their battles and campaigns. The chroniclers were sometimes called ‘vaka nuvis’ or ‘history writer’. The Ottoman Sultan Murad III also had a chronicler who was called Seyyid Lokman. Among his works is a two volume Hunername which was decorated with miniature paintings by master artists, who were called ‘nakash’ at that time.
The historian Seyyid Lokman took five years from 1579 to 1584 to write this book. The first volume covers the reigns of the Ottoman sultans from Osman Gazi who founded the Ottoman State, to Yavuz Sultan Selim, while the second concerns the reign of Sultan Suleyman the Law Giver. The book describes the sultans’ lives, wars, hunts, entertainments and deaths, and important historical events. After the Hunername was written a calligrapher called Bosnali Sinan inscribed it fresh and masters of the art of book decoration took over. They drew pictures of each sultan mentioned in the book and of interesting events which were placed in the appropriate section of the book. This first edition of the Hunername is 48 cm. long and 31 cm. wide and has 514 pages. It is a masterpiece of the art of calligraphy and book decoration. The fact that one of the great masters of the art of miniature painting, Osman, painted some of the miniatures for this book enhances its interest still further. Osman was born at the beginning of the 16th century in Bosna, and originally came to Istanbul to study. When the teachers saw how beautifully he painted they sent him as an apprentice to the palace miniature painting department. Taught by master miniature artists Osman soon learned, and his works began to be passed around from hand to hand, his fame spreading fast.