The Ottoman Turkish Zenanname (ʻBook of Womenʼ) – British Library Blog

Today’s post is from guest contributor and regular visitor to Asian and African Collections, Sunil Sharma, Professor of Persianate and Comparative Literature at Boston University


British Library Or.7094 is an illustrated copy of the late Ottoman Turkish poetic work, Fazıl Enderunlu’s Zenanname (ʻBook of Womenʼ), which describes the positive and negative qualities of the women of the world along with satirical and moralistic parts at the end. The text is a poem in mesnevi form that was completed in 1793. I became interested in this work because typologies of women began to appear in Mughal and Safavid poetry and painting in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and there was the possibility of doing comparative scholarship across Persianate cultures.

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