Unfolding Text, Image, and Artifact: Theory, Poetics, and Ethics in Cafer Efendi’s Seventeenth-Century Book on Ottoman Architecture


Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art


Art History


This book-length project is the first sustained and critical analysis of “A Book on Architecture,” the scholar Cafer Efendi’s book about Ottoman architecture and the life of Mehmed Agha, the chief architect of the Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul in 1617. Based on an interdisciplinary approach and close readings, this project reveals architecture’s relationship to diverse modes of knowledge, scientific learning, and artistic practices as they intersected with intellectual, visual, and material cultures of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The study shows how theory, poetics, and ethics helped to convey architecture’s legitimate foundations to artists, architects, courtly elite, and scholars, and reinforce its mediating role in sustaining social order and cosmic harmony for the public. The project brings to light a unique manuscript from the early modern Islamic world and places it within a broader crosscultural context, contributing to scholarship on global art and architectural history and theory.