Sakıp Sabancı’s (d. 2004) collection of calligraphic works by famous calligraphers, Korans and illuminated manuscripts began with the purchase of a levha (calligraphic panel) by Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808-39). During the 1980s, the Sakıp Sabancı collection expanded with the purchase of private collections, and from 1989 onwards, the collection was exhibited in major museums abroad. The keen interest attracted by these exhibitions cemented Sakıp Sabancı and his family’s resolve to further enlarge the collection and encouraged the idea of founding a museum.
In 1998, the family mansion was bequeathed by the Sabancı family to Sabancı University to be converted to a museum, and in 2002, the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum opened to the public. The upper floor rooms of the mansion were transformed into galleries to exhibit Ottoman manuscripts and calligraphic compositions.
Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s Calligraphy and the Arts of the Book Collection consists of illuminated Korans, prayer books, calligraphic albums and panels with Koranic verses, hadith and aphorisms, and illuminated documents bearing the tuğra (imperial cipher) of the Ottoman sultans.