Green Knowledge. Ottoman Manuscripts on Botany and Agriculture
(53rd Annual Meeting of the PIAC, St. Petersburg 2010)
From the Manchu summer residence in Jehol to the sultan’s palaces on the Bosporus, and from Timur’s Samarcand to Babur’s Delhi, gardens have always marked imperial power and taste. Textual and architectural/archaeological evidence suggests that these gardens, adorned with a great variety of plants, show different designs and practices depending on horticultural tradition, geographical location and period of time. But what do we know about the men who created and cultivated these gardens? Where did they derive their expertise from, and what was their vision of the plant kingdom? It is interesting to note that there are not many works on botany and agriculture in Turkic languages kept in the international manuscript collections. This paper attempts to give a survey of the available Ottoman sources and place them in the context of the genre.