Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy

Lectures & Editorials on Calligraphy

Necmeddin Okyay Efendi [Efendi, Necmeddin; Üsküdari (b Istanbul, 29 Jan 1883; d Istanbul, 5 Jan 1976) ]

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(b Istanbul, 29 Jan 1883; d Istanbul, 5 Jan 1976). Turkish calligrapher. He attended the Ravzai Terakki school, where he received lessons in calligraphy from Mehmed Şevki and from Hasan Talat Bey. In 1905 he received permission to write in the ta’lıq style from Sami Efendi (1838–1912) and in 1906 received permission for the thuluth and naskh styles from Bakkal Arif Efendi. Later, at the School of Calligraphers, he learnt to draw tughras and practised jali-thuluth (Turk. celi-sülüs) with Ismail Hakkı Altınbezer (1870–1946). He also learnt from Shaykh Ethem Efendi the art of marbled paper, at which he became very skilful. His use of the surname Okyay came from his proficiency at archery. He succeeded his father as preacher and Imam at the Yenicami mosque at Üsküdar in Istanbul, where he remained for 40 years. He taught at the School of Calligraphers, the Oriental Decorative Arts School and finally at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, where he practised the ta’lıq style with his pupils. In addition to writing, he explored many crafts and skills related to calligraphy. From Baha Efendi he learnt the art of Turkish classical bookbinding and made fine sunburst bindings, and in turn trained Emin Barın (b 1913) and Islam Seçen in this art. He also learnt how to polish paper, developed formulae for preparing different varieties of ink and was skilled at identifying unsigned works of calligraphy. Among his pupils was the calligrapher Ali Alparslan (b 1925).

S. Rado, ed.: Türk hattatlari [Turkish calligraphers] (Istanbul, n.d.), p. 265 [Turk. text]
M. Ülker: The Art of Turkish Calligraphy from the Beginning up to Present (n.p., 1987), p. 89 [Eng. and Turk. texts]

Photography © Gallery of Portakal Sanat ve Kültür Evi, Istanbul. Text: Grove Art Online

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Written by calligrapher

May 7, 2007 at 5:20 pm

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