Saturday, July 5, 2008

Telhis-i Resailü’r-rümat ( Ottoman ''Turkish'' Traditional Archery Book )

Telhis-i Resailü’r-rümat
compiled by Mustafa Kani
Istanbul : 1263 [1847],
Darü’t-Tibaatü’l-Amire [Imperial Printing House].
278 p.
Özege 20378
This book is listed with number 20378 in Özege catalogue,
the unique reference of Ottoman books.
Telhis-i Resailü’r-rümat was published in Istanbul in November 1847
Written in Osmanli Turkish, there are now paragraphs, and chapter headings are set in ornamented parentheses. There
are 278 pages.
The page size measures 6” by 8½”, and the box enclosing the text is 3?” by 6¾”. The spine of the book is cloth, and the
boards are marbled on the outer surface.
The back of the book has a folded page with 21 illustrations bearing Turkish captions. Most of these appear in pages 273-
278 inclusive.
Pages 3-4 contain the firman, or Imperial Edict issued by Sultan Mahmud II in 1836, as a result of which Kani undertook
the work.
Pages 4-36 inclusive contain the writings of Abdullah Effendi. He was scribe at the Ayub Ansari Mosque. It consists of a
dedication to the ruler, and the forty hadith about archery, along with other religious material. Kani also includes his own
discussion on the traditions and views of Turkish archers.
Pages 37-60 – chapter 1 – deals with traditions, legends, and history of Turkish archery.
Pages 60-116 – chapter 2 – describes the course taken by a novice archer through to his full initiation into the Archers
Guild. It also describes the technical side of archery in great detail.
Pages 116-128 – chapter 3 – is a detailed account of distances achieved by Sultan Mahmud II and his associates on the ok
Pages 128-207 – chapter 4 – deals with the technical side of bow construction, along with errors on shooting technique.
Pages 207-272 – chapter 5 – is the conclusion, or closing chapter. It gives detail on construction of accessories, and
tournament rules of the archer’s guild.
Pages 223-269 – is a record of flights made on the 48 ranges of the ok maydan.
Page 269 – is a statement that the Sheikh of the Archers Guild has read and approved of the book, and that his son,
Bodjet, and archer and arrow maker, has made the drawings.
Page 270 – contains an appendix to chapter 4, in which details of arrow making are given.

Extant copies of this book can be found at
Turkey - Erzurum Ataturk Universitesi Kutuphanesi
Milli Kutuphane (8 copies)
Germany - Staatsbibliothek of Berlin (2 copies)
Switzerland - University of Basel (1 copy)
U.S.A. - University of California, Berkley, California
Harvard University, Columbia University, New York (5 copies)
UK- None!


Anonymous said...

Gokmen on ATARN ( has mentioned this book is now transliterated into modern Turkish. This would be very useful as a check on translations into other languages since it is much easier to follow text in modern Turkish.

Bede Dwyer (Australia)

Rıdvan Uzuntaş ; said...

Telhis published last week in Turkish.Thanks your comment.