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It is fair to surmise that increasingly fewer works on paper are likely to survive as one goes back in time, so it is to be expected that, comparatively, more manuscripts from the Il-khanid period have been preserved than earlier ones, but this is not sufficient to challenge the notion that the late 13th century and especially the first quarter of the 14th can be regarded as perhaps the most important formative period in the history of Persian painting, an epoch of great changes, and a moment of fervor and stimulation on the part of both patrons and artists.

As a matter of fact the number of complete, illustrated manuscripts that survive from this period is not so large, just a dozen or a few more; but dispersed folios, the miscellaneous material included in albums in Istanbul and Berlin, as well as documentary evidence, help to suggest that book illustration became one of the most popular art forms in Il-khanid Persia, trickling down from the patronage of the courtly elite to that of powerful viziers, governors, and less wealthy patrons in just a few decades.

From the artistic point of view, the single major change that took place in Persian painting was due to the strong influence and incorporation of eastern Asian, mostly Chinese, elements that freely circulated in Persia, an area that represented just one section of the pan-Asian highway that was open to all kinds of traffic during the Mongol period.

It is not clear whether Chinese painters were actually transferred to Persia and trained local artists or if it was mostly a matter of wide circulation of Chinese scrolls and other works on paper in Persia that made a special impression on Persian artists. There was, however, a clear evolution in the selection, integration, elaboration, and ultimately reinterpretation of Chinese elements in a context the manuscript or codex , and in pictorial compositions images illustrating an Arabic or Persian text in prose or poetry that were familiar to local patrons, calligraphers, and painters.

It is this integration and elaboration of exotic constituents into the traditional fabric of book illustration that marked a new chapter in the history of Persian painting, one that would carry its effects all the way to the new heights reached during the Timurid period in the 15th century. There is no question that artistic activities almost came to a halt for a few decades following the Mongol sack of the city in , but it is interesting that the first three dated, illustrated manuscripts that survive from the Il-khanid period were produced in Baghdad or nearby in Iraq, whose central cultural role obviously had not been entirely wiped out, having actually been revived under the control of local Arab or Persian governors working for the Il-khanids.

These elements are, however, isolated or outright awkwardly positioned in the painting for example, large peonies on a pomegranate tree; Plate I and therefore suggest that this process of integration had just started and was taking its first steps in Baghdad. Two other earlier works from this period with illustrations were also produced in Iraq.

Baghdad would remain the most important center for the production of illustrated manuscripts until the Il-khanid court officially converted to Islam and at the same time became more and more persianized, adopting manners, customs, and ultimately the legendary pre-Islamic history of Iran, the nation they had conquered.

Thereafter, Baghdad and the region of Iraq would become just a province, and its great manuscript-producing tradition declined for the rest of the Il-khanid period. Although it is heavily restored and partially repainted, this manuscript, dateable to ca. As expected, at the close of the 13th century, its pictorial style is eclectic, including a less awkward insertion of East Asian elements than in previous codices; but it also shows the traditional approach to drawing, color, and composition that was present in the area before the arrival of the Mongols Schmitz, pp.

Here, the traditions upon which the three, possibly more, painters that contributed to the codex drew are even wider than in previous works, since they include those from the Jazira around the capital Mosul as well as those from southeastern Anatolia. They, however, represent the beginning of the blended, eclectic new style that became typically Il-khanid Carboni, ; Plate III. Arab This unique, illustrated codex, a treatise of calendar systems, is clearly a step forward in both the choice of subject matter and complexity of painted compositions. They can be regarded as a turning point in Persian painting in that their compositions demonstrate that the artists who conceived and executed them had come to terms with the new artistic language developed in the previous years and had finally blended all elements, the East Asian and the multiple indigenous ones, into successful works, thus creating a truly original style Soucek; Hillenbrand, ; Plate IV.

In general, Chinese sources, mostly scroll painting, predominate Plate V. It must be kept in mind, however, that only about two hundred pages with just over one hundred illustrations survive from the original Arabic work of , corresponding to the second half of the second volume and therefore to about one-eighth of the entire work Edinburgh, University Library, Ms. The works that are now in Germany, collected by the Prussian Heinrich Friedrich von Diez at the end of the 18th century, were also compiled from material originally assembled at the royal Ottoman palace.

This practice of arranging in albums miscellaneous examples of calligraphy, illustrations, and drawings detached from their original context actually started during the Timurid period, when works from the Il-khanid era were regarded as important models from the past. Hardly of great artistic importance and rather repetitive, this manuscript testifies nonetheless to the popularity of that style of painting at the beginning of the 14th century Robinson, pp.

Like many other conquerors, the Mongols made an effort to find a place in history by adopting and reinterpreting events of the past. The Il-khanids soon understood that, if they blended in a single work the power of the written word and the highest expressions of Persian poetry with the intensity and immediacy of illustrations, they would create an everlasting vehicle to transmit to posterity their legitimacy to rule over their new homeland.

What remains of the manuscript after several centuries and, especially, after its dismemberment at the hands of the dealer George Demotte in the early 20th century, is about one-third to one-fourth of the illustrations according to the most recent reconstruction, 57 out of the estimated survive, at present widely dispersed in public and private institutions worldwide and much less of the original text, parts of which were also rewritten in recent times. Study of this codex is made even more difficult by the fact that some illustrations have been pasted over unrelated text and that a number of extant paintings have been restored.

From an art historical point of view, many of its illustrations are true masterpieces as regards to composition, fully and successfully integrated elements from different pictorial traditions, interpretation of the subject, craftsmanship, and use of color. Since the scenes are transported into Mongol times, the attention to architectural details and the illustration of portable objects are extremely useful to contribute to the scant information we have on the material culture of the royal Il-khanid milieu.

Court and funeral scenes help us to understand Mongol customs and manners as adapted to the Iranian environment Plate VII.

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Some of the scenes are memorable because they express a kind of pathos, unbridled emotions, or simply a sense of action and dynamism that are unique to this phase of Persian painting Plate VIII. Their lack of a surviving colophon and the relatively modest attention to details make their place of manufacture and date rather uncertain, with suggestions ranging from Baghdad at the beginning of the 14th century Simpson, to northwestern Persia around , except for the Gutman manuscript, which has been convincingly attributed to an atelier in Isfahan in around , when the city was indirectly under Il-khanid control Swietochowski and Carboni, pp.

The codex, however, includes a double frontispiece that seems to suggest that it was indeed made for a princely Il-khanid couple. The function of the illustrated manuscript was also extended in this period. While some manuscripts had simple pictures inserted regularly into the text, manuscripts commissioned by important court patrons had carefully scrutinized texts and specific cycles of illustration.

These manuscripts were meant to make an ideological point, to project the concerns or policies of the court. In later Persian painting this range of functions continued, from more popular manuscripts meant mainly to delight the eye and mind of the beholder to more elaborate ones designed for rhetorical purposes. Methods of production. The Metropolitan style under Ilkhanid court patronage, c.

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The Rashidiyya school, c. Metropolitan painting, — c. Provincial production in southwest Iran. The Ilkhanids continued the nomadic practices of the steppe: even when not on campaign, the court regularly migrated from summer pastures in northwest Iran to warmer winter quarters in Iraq. Artisans joined this mobile court and may even have produced luxury manuscripts en route.

Extant manuscripts show that the scribe first copied the text, leaving blanks for the illustrations. It is unclear how specialized artists were: whether they performed a variety of tasks or whether they were restricted to certain techniques, such as line drawing or illumination, or to certain materials, such as gold or opaque watercolors. Some of the slaves attached to the complex were assigned to the tasks of calligraphy, painting and gilding, and all manuscripts were to be done on good Baghdadi paper in a neat hand, collated with the originals in the library and bound in fine leather.

While the patrons of these two manuscripts are unknown, two manuscripts from the s are linked to the Ilkhanid court and show the origins of the Metropolitan style. The double-page frontispiece shows on the right a squatting groom leading a caparisoned horse and on the left a scribe seated beneath a tree taking dictation from a standing figure in a flowered coat, presumably the author, who was chief vizier to the Ilkhanid court.

The manuscript was copied in one of the Ilkhanid capitals, Maragha in Azerbaijan, in or , and is illustrated with 94 paintings, some no bigger than 50 mm in each direction. Those on the first folios follow a conservative Mesopotamian style: the paper is left plain as a background and there is no attempt to depict space illusionistically. In other paintings towards the end of the manuscript an awareness of Chinese painting and a new sense of atmosphere and space are apparent. Figures are smaller in scale and more integrated into their setting. Landscape is more developed, with such new motifs as gnarled trees and convoluted clouds.

In contrast to the symmetrical compositions of the earlier paintings, figures are sometimes cropped at the edge of the picture, suggesting a world beyond its narrow plane. Two other dated illustrated manuscripts are closely relatedto this court-sponsored school. The text belongs to the literary genre of mirrors for princes, consisting of didactic fables intended to guide a future ruler along the correct ethical and moral path.

Contrary to normal practice, the three illustrations at the beginning of the manuscript were painted before the text; they depict the Prophet Muhammad, the author and the patron. The paintings are set off by thick gold borders and show traditional compositions and figure types, but new sartorial and tonsorial details, such as overlapping kaftans, looped coiffures and varied hats, are introduced. The text discusses the calendars used by pre-Islamic peoples, and the 24 small illustrations show some of the historical events relating to them.

Gold rulings and patterned borders frame the illustrations; the simple, symmetrical compositions, haloed figures with turbans and robes, and patterned drapery are typical of the earlier Baghdad style, but the convoluted clouds and colored grounds are new. All these early Metropolitan manuscripts combine Near Eastern and Chinese styles, injecting traditional compositions with such new motifs as lotus blossoms, swirling clouds, pomegranates, patterned kaftans and looped coiffures.

Although the paintings within the text are relatively small, they exhibit a new interest in space: frame bands separate illustration from text, and receding ground-lines, grassy tufts and circular arrangements of figures expand the setting. The trend of incorporating Chinese elements and opening up the image continued in the manuscripts produced under the auspices of Rashid al-Din. Despite these precautions, no manuscript has survived intact, and only fragments of three contemporary copies of the second volume, which contains the history of non-Mongol Eurasian peoples, have survived.

The first H. The second H. These two copies can be used to determine the size, rate and subjects of illustration, but most of their images were not painted until the late 14th century or early 15th. The narrow illustrations extend across the page and occupy about one-third of its height. The text is not illustrated regularly; instead, certain subjects e. This selectivity suggests that the images were not intended to be merely illustrative but to make a political point.

The illustrations are done in a common house style using colored washes, a technique derived from Chinese brush painting. The horizontal format of the images and the abrupt cutting-off of the figures at the margins echo Chinese handscrolls, and conventional depictions of water, rocks and peaks behind peaks imbue the landscape with a Chinese spirit. These images do not copy contemporary Yuan painting but are filtered through another medium, such as textiles or ceramics. The Rashidiyya house style is so specific that other works can be attributed to the same milieu.

A manuscript London, BL, Orient. Detached paintings preserved in four albums Berlin, Staatsbib. The same colored washes and stylistic conventions are used as in the fragments of the second volume, and the paintings are similar in width, although many are considerably taller and would have filled almost the entire page.


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In this respect they prefigure another fragmentary copy of the first volume Calcutta, Asiat. The paintings show an extraordinary range of styles and techniques. The large-scale figures dominate the landscape and display a quality of emotion rarely found in Per-sian painting. In Ardawan Captured by Ardashir the circular composition focuses attention on the mounted victor, impassive before the bowed and humbled Ardawan. Contorted trees and hooded soldiers add exoticism and drama to the event.

Manuscript production in the Metropolitan style continued during the political chaos of the last two decades of Ilkhanid rule. Petersburg, Rus. The dedication of the dispersed copy dated to a vizier of the Injuid family, who governed southwest Iran from c. These manuscripts are all medium-sized the written page is c. The paint is often unevenly applied so that the underdrawing shows. While the palette is extensive, certain colors are repeated, especially red or ocher backgrounds see fig. Landscape is imaginatively depicted but is strictly planar and uses a limited range of conventions, the most distinctive being conical hills.

This productive school blossomed under the economic revival sponsored by the Injuids, but its origin is difficult to trace due to lack of dated manuscripts. The meander borders, inverted cloud conventions and bamboo tree trunks hark back to the Mesopotamian style of the 13th century, but the red backgrounds, flowered robes and lotus-petal borders are all typical of the group produced in southwest Iran in the s and s, and the small dome-shaped hills seem to be forerunners of the more pointed conical ones used in Injuid manuscripts.

All are extremely small in format e. Patterned designs crowd the compositions, and the small, vivacious figures seem to burst from the frame. The small figures and lack of a high horizon show that these manuscripts belong to the late 13th century or early 14th, but their exact provenance is still open to question see fig. The quality and number of these manuscripts bespeak a consistent level of taste, which may represent a different level of patronage rather than a distinct geographical or chronological locale. Bibwsn, liv , pp. Buchthal, O. Kurz and R.

Gray: Persian Painting Geneva, R. Ettinghausen: Arab Painting Geneva, G. Chelkowski New York, , pp. Gray, ed. Adle Paris, , pp. Adamova and L. Soucek University Park and London, , pp. Swietochowski and S. Carboni; New York, Met. Raby and T. Bridges and J. Blair and J. Komaroff and S. Komaroff, ed. The painters of this transitional period not only fused Chinese and Near Eastern pictorial elements into a coherent whole but also developed a new formula for the depiction of space.

Manuscript illustrations of the late 14th century also show a change in subject matter and mood: the repertory of manuscripts illustrated was expanded greatly, and the emotionalism of the early 14th century was replaced by a lyrical detachment that became a hallmark of later Persian manuscript painting. Following the disintegration of the Ilkhanid Empire from , the Jalayirid dynasty r.

Their capitals at Tabriz and Baghdad became major centers of book production in the Ilkhanid tradition. Two Jalayirid rulers, Uways I r. The Muzaffarids r. Early Jalayirid painting, to c. Painting during the reign of Ahmad Jalayir r. Painting under the Muzaffarids — The works in the middle decades of the 14th century are disparate, ranging from those that have an affinity with earlier styles to others with expanded spatial compositions closer to the manuscripts dated to the reign of Sultan Ahmad.

There appears to be a transition from the emotional pathos of the Ilkhanid works to the refined reserve that would mark later styles of Persian manuscript painting. Given the eclectic quality of the works and lack of securely dated examples, it is almost impossible to establish a coherent evolution of forms. One of the great disappointments of this crucial period is the low quality of the few dated manuscripts surviving from the midth century.

A manuscript of Kalila and Dimna —4; Cairo, N. By contrast, the undated manuscripts ascribed to this period are of superb quality, but in the 15th and 16th centuries several key paintings were cut from their original manuscripts and pasted into albums with other works from different periods. Many of these pages have traditionally been attributed to the reign of Uways, who is known to have been an active patron of the arts, but it is difficult to assign them to an exact date, artist, place of production or patron.

The high quality of these undated works can be seen in the illustrations to a manuscript of Kalila and Dimna pasted in an album Istanbul, U. The Kalila and Dimna manuscript was surely a royal commission and may have been initiated by an Ilkhanid patron, as Cowan suggested, but some of the most impressive illustrations, such as the Clever Merchant and the Gullible Thief fol. There are also affinities between this page and certain illustrations in the cut-up Kalila and Dimna , most particularly the tendency to suggest animal faces in the rocky landscape.

The hand of a revolutionary artist has also been at work in the page fol. The fabulous bird cradles the abandoned child Zal as it slows for its approach hovering over a group of writhing and convoluted rocks. Above, a towering mountain peak is crowned by trees set against windswept clouds. The painting is permeated by the drama of untamed nature animated by mysterious energies. The vertical format of the illustration breaks completely with the horizontal format traditionally used in Near Eastern painting.

No longer is the painting a mere footnote to the text; it is a visual entity in itself. This new format may reflect the impact of the Chinese hanging scroll. After it became thoroughly Persianized in the late 14th century, the vertical composition remained a favorite for the next three centuries of painting in the greater Iranian world. Four of the paintings have been attributed by a 16th-century hand to Ahmad Musa. Further fine works that date from this period are found in four albums Berlin, Staatsbib.

He had capitals in both Tabriz and Baghdad, but in Timur occupied Tabriz, center of the Ilkhanid and Jalayirid scriptoria, forcing Ahmad and his most skilled artists to retreat to Baghdad. By the next year, however, he was able to return to Baghdad, where his workshop continued to produce until June , despite a brief interruption by Timur in Ahmad then fled again to Egypt. He briefly reoccupied Tabriz, only to be driven out. He died in his attempt to retake it in The earliest dated manuscripts associated with the reign of Ahmad are not as fine as the ones associated with his father, Uways I.

The shift from the illustration of history, legends and epics to lyrical and romantic poetry is one of the innovations of painting under Ahmad. It contains nine paintings in a similar style of the highest quality. One of them, depicting Humay and Humayun on the Day after their Wedding fol. Their strong vertical compositions are the logical result of the spatial experiments seen in paintings from the Istanbul albums. The Khwaju Kirmani illustrations retain the earlier fascination with the forces of nature, yet blend it with a sweet atmosphere of delicacy and refinement. In comparison to these illustrations, the raw emotional themes of earlier Ilkhanid illustrations seem almost brutal.

The dramatic page fol. The excitement inherent in this emotional encounter is suggested by the rearing horse, the whip-like movements of the curvilinear trees and the soaring birds that flutter up from the forest in reaction to the human drama below. It is not surprising that such a work was the direct inspiration for some of the finest works of the 15th century. These include a copy of Kalila and Dimna ; Paris, Bib.

Oxford, Bodleian Lib. The illustrations are connected to the Western tradition of depicting the seasons and labors of the months. An astrological manual Ham, Surrey, Keir priv. The text blocks of exquisite calligraphy on 8 of the folios have marginal drawings in black ink with slight touches of blue and gold depicting the life of the nomad and scenes of daily life in the country. The illustrations are charming in their fine draftsmanship and narrative quality and, with their reflections of Far Eastern ink painting, are the best examples of chinoiserie in the Jalayirid period.

The spread of Sufism may also have contributed to the sense of an animated landscape bursting with life and energy that pervades these illustrations. The few manuscripts remaining from this period show a radical shift from the provincial red-ground style practiced under the Injuids to one that reflects contemporary Jalayirid innovations. The tendency to turn everything into a pattern and to conceptualize nature is already present. The production of luxury manuscripts expanded in Shiraz after the arrival of the Timurids, to judge from a sumptuous two-volume copy of a collection of five epic poems —8; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib.

It contains several pictorial conventions of the Shiraz style, such as gold skies, tufa-like rocks and figures emerging half-hidden behind the high horizon, that allow its attribution to that city. The tenacity of older traditions in Fars is exhibited in a poetic anthology copied by Mansur Bihbihani ; Istanbul, Mus. Eleven of the twelve paintings accompany the poems of Nizami and are pure landscapes devoid of figures.

The subject matter of these paintings attests to the surprising variety of book painting in late 14th-century Iran. Bibliography M. Tema: Oriente e occidente nel medioevo: Roma, , pp. Rosen-Ayalon Berlin, , pp. Canby Bombay, B. Painted illustration in finely copied and illuminated manuscripts assumed its classical format and reached the apogee of quality during the rule of the Timurid dynasty r.

Painting during the reign of Timur r. Painting made for Iskandar Sultan — c. Painting made for Shahrukh r. Painting made for Baysunghur — Painting made for Ibrahim Sultan — Other illustrated manuscripts commissioned during the reign of Shahrukh. Painting during the reign of Husayn Bayqara r. The paintings depicted the ruler, his court, his exploits and his family and were executed by artists from the conquered lands of Iran, Iraq and possibly even Syria.

The earliest surviving paintings of the Timurid period are found in two illustrated volumes Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib. Although they have no dedication, they are dated —8 and are written and illuminated in a Shiraz-style hand on unmistakably Shiraz paper; they have 16 illustrations in a style that combines Jalayirid features with others typical of painting in Central Asia. These paintings differ from Jalayirid court painting in several ways: the figures are ample and natural and fill the pictorial space; the compositions are simple with virtually no architecture and a rather high horizon; the rulings around the paintings are wide gold lines instead of bundles of lapis-blue, black and gold lines.

The landscapes often comprise only a series of steeply angled planes differentiated by color and the surface texture of rock or desert. Subsidiary figures are only partially visible, placed at a dip in the horizon or cut by the margin. This mannerism, in addition to the Central Asian appearance of the demons Pers.

The illustrated manuscripts known to have been made for him date between and an Anthology ; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian, LA ; the paintings were completely ruined by a flood in and have been entirely repainted ; a smaller Miscellany —11; see fig. All are unmistakably similar in style and execution to the paintings in manuscripts commissioned by Iskandar Sultan as well as to the Persian epic poems of —8.

Compositions are as elaborate, exteriors are integrated within the shape of the image, interiors are well designed and the figures are numerous and surely disposed throughout the picture. Figures remain ample in all the paintings connected with Iskandar; faces are notably oval in shape and often tilted to one side in a mannerism that survived for many decades. These manuscripts also differ in content from most later Timurid illustrated manuscripts: they are compendia of religious texts and prayers, scientific works, histories and belles-lettres.

To accommodate multiple works in one volume, as had been done in Muzaffarid Shiraz, one text would be written diagonally in the margins of a folio bearing another text or illustration; the diagonal lines meet at the middle of the vertical margin in a triangular space that was then illuminated. At least ten unillustrated manuscripts connected with Iskandar Sultan by reasons of scribe, locus of production or style of calligraphy and illumination can be added to these illustrated manuscripts and detached paintings. They form a coherent school, one created by a particular Timurid prince with an interest in specific subjects and a marked taste for certain styles of calligraphy, illumination and painting.

This pattern of patronage was repeated throughout the century by other members of the Timurid family. They are large, squarish compositions executed in four distinct styles; most include large figures in open landscapes whose antecedents can be found in Shiraz manuscripts produced under the Muzaffarids and Iskandar Sultan.


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  • Compositions or parts of them , the drawing of figures and the oval, tilted faces, as well as the wide gold bands framing the images recall the manuscripts commissioned by Iskandar Sultan. Some compositions make daring use of empty space, a novel feature not found in the best Timurid illustrations, and the most memorable have a forceful, dramatic energy. Despite the variation in quality, the paintings use similar shades of gold and colors. The entire manuscript has a breadth of scale and magnificent illuminations that distinguish it from the other historical manuscripts of the century.

    Almost all the episodes are depicted in a hilly landscape devised with stencil-like monotony. The narrative may be vividly conveyed but with few figures clumsily disposed in pictures of old-fashioned format, squat bands placed horizontally across the written surface of the folio. They all share roundish and flaccid faces and a palette of simple, strong primary colors. It recounts the miraculous night-journey of the Prophet Muhammad accompanied by the archangel Gabriel through the Seven Heavens and Hell.

    It is unusual for the supernatural world it depicts, for the lack of a dedication or colophon, and for the material differences between it and most other surviving fine Timurid volumes. The gold and pigments used for the illumination and illustrations are of extremely high quality. Similarities of the paper to that in an astrological manuscript Paris, Bib. It is a product of the part of the Timurid world that continued to draw on its Central Asian past for inspiration.

    In he was sent to take Tabriz from the Aqqoyunlu Turkmen, where he presumably encountered the Jalayirid calligraphers and artists whom he took back to Herat. There he appears to have established a workshop, referred to in a rare and important progress report c. It is a style characterized by fluid perfection, extravagant line and color, and even monotony. Among the more than twenty manuscripts, ten pictorial and text fragments and numerous drawings that can be associated with Baysunghur, eight manuscripts dedicated to him contain superb paintings that exemplify the essence of Timurid painting.

    Each of these manuscripts has a distinct character that depends on the subject illustrated, the drawing and palette of the paintings and the date of execution. In the entire group of over 90 paintings, several different hands may be distinguished. All his volumes were written by renowned scribes appropriate for a prince who was himself a fine calligrapher , on paper thicker than Shiraz paper and of a warm brownish-cream color.

    The books are exquisitely illuminated using compositions derived from Jalayirid rather than Muzaffarid models. The bindings of leather and of cut and gilded paper are equally exquisite see Bookbinding. All the quantifiable aspects of the volumes—paper, rulings, paintings, even the height of the calligraphy—are proportionately related, a fact that contributes profoundly, if subtly, to the overall harmony. These features, together with the accepted practice of repeating compositions, shaped a classical style that retained its currency for the next three centuries throughout the Islamic world from Egypt and Turkey to India.

    The earlier manuscript is 40 mm larger in height and width but has only 21 paintings compared to the 31 remaining in the Muhammad Juki manuscript. The palette of the earlier manuscript is deep, with a predominant dark purple cast, while the palette of the later one is brighter and lighter, with white pigment added to many colors.

    The clearest difference between the manuscripts is seen in the choice of subjects and compositions: many of the paintings in the earlier manuscript invoke such concepts of high seriousness as princely legitimacy and the responsibility of good government, while the paintings in the later manuscript emphasize the deeds of the great hero Rustam. In the earlier manuscript the settings are either Timurid gardens of the kind created in Herat or closed architectural compositions of a unique and complex character, while the feats of prowess in the later manuscript are set in a fairy-tale world of unearthly towering mountains and desert landscapes.

    The manuscripts connected with him continue the scribal, decorative and pictorial traditions of earlier Shiraz manuscripts, some being written by such Shiraz scribes as Mahmud ibn Murtaza al-Husayni. Kst, J. The lavish illumination is in the earlier minute and unoutlined Shiraz style; its 29 illustrations, which must have been painted by a number of hands, also recall the distinctive style of paintings made for Iskandar Sultan.

    Two illustrations in the Anthology are in a new style which became the hallmark of manuscripts made at Shiraz for Ibrahim Sultan over the next 15 years: relatively few figures, which are tall and slender and which move with simple but forceful gestures in desert landscapes or architectural settings with strong lines but minimal details.

    The narrative details have been reduced to essentials, leaving images with an overall stark, farouche and curiously modern quality. One manuscript St. Its 38 paintings are conceptually and stylistically related to those in manuscripts made for Baysunghur, but they are not so fine in the quality of their finish. The manuscript is written in three columns, the outer written on the diagonal in one direction only, a vestige of the Shiraz format of framing a text block with a second text written on the diagonal. This archaizing feature is curious in a manuscript the illustrative program of which is so advanced, especially when compared with another Khamsa ex-Cartier priv.

    This Khamsa is datable between and ; the compositions, facial types and the wide gold rulings show that its paintings were done by artists who had worked for Iskandar Sultan, but its text is laid out in the four-column format standard in most Herat manuscripts. The composition of the paintings of the St. Petersburg Khamsa are the most varied of all surviving manuscripts produced at Herat for princely patrons.

    They also provide the best surviving example of the Timurid pictoral aesthetic in which copies of traditional compositions, reworked versions and entirely new compositions all ranked of equal importance within the context of a princely manuscript. They show many different hands whose work spanned several decades in Timurid Iran. Shirin Sees the Portrait of Khusraw fol.

    Several attendants on the right side of the St. Petersburg Khusraw Holding Court in a Garden fol. Moreover, biographical dictionaries Pers. Both the and —6 copies of the Khamsa are incomplete. The former has only one painting contemporary with the text; fourteen fine ones were added towards the end of the 15th century see below and another four added c.

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    The latter has eleven contemporary paintings, one blank space, and two paintings fols. The unfinished state of these manuscripts doubtlessly reflects the uncertainty of Timurid life in the midth century. For the next two decades princes of the dynasty fought among themselves, leaving little time or inclination for the patronage of the arts. The commissioning of fine manuscripts passed to members of the Turkmen tribal confederation, whose princes gradually took control of Iran, Khurasan and even, briefly, Herat.

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    From that date until his death, Herat returned to the position it had enjoyed during the reign of Shahrukh, as a city whose ruler was said to have encouraged all the arts and crafts of the world to such a degree that in each profession he produced an unsurpassed master. The very finest, with superb calligraphy, illumination and illustration, number fewer than ten, a small proportion of the number of manuscripts produced there in the last quarter of the century. Many good illustrated manuscripts are not of the highest quality; many were never intended to be illustrated; some of the finest transcribed in Herat were illustrated only in the following century in Bukhara, Tabriz or Delhi; in some cases paintings were removed and thus survived from manuscripts that no longer exist.

    The volumes from which some paintings were removed are known e. Fine manuscripts had fewer illustrations than those from the first half of the century, but often paintings are signed in ways that leave no doubts about the authenticity of the signatures, and the names of painters are also found in a variety of contemporary and later sources. Trust col. Fourteen paintings were added c. All these paintings, whether or not they bear a true signature or an attribution, share a naturalism, a sense of human ease, variety of movement and a preoccupation with daily life in late 15th-century Iran: battles and hunts, the construction of mosques and palaces, wrestling matches and bath-house scenes, feasts in gardens or pavilions, meetings in mosques and religious gatherings, and episodes in the countryside although these are quite specific to the mystical texts they illustrate.

    For all their naturalism, however, such pictures are composed of stock figures and compositional patterns developed throughout the century. It is questionable whether the individual work of any late Timurid painter may be distinguished from that of his fellows; it seems more likely that even in the late 15th century classical Persian manuscript painting was still an art with a canonical ideal of perfection. With the capitulation of Herat in the early 16th century to the Shaybanid dynasty of Transoxiana, the equilibrium of this visual language used to illustrate classical texts was destroyed, to emerge in various guises in the following century.

    In Tabriz, Qazvin and Isfahan, successively the capitals of the Safavid dynasty r. Indeed, the history of the court-sponsored schools of Persian manuscript painting in the 16th and 17th centuries is that of painters with distinct artistic personalities interpreting classical texts in new, and sometimes distinctly unclassical, versions of the classical style of Timurid painting. Bibliography F. Martin and T. London, J. Jennings London, , pp. Stchoukine: La Peinture des manuscrits timurides Paris, R. Robinson, ed. Simmonds and S. Digby Leiden, , pp. Venezia, viii , pp. Lentz: Painting at Herat under Baysunghur ibn Shahrukh diss.

    Lentz and G. Canby Bombay, , pp. Golombek and M. Subtelny, eds. Hattstein and P. Delius Cologne, , pp. Robinson , ed. Hillenbrand London, , pp. Roxburgh: Prefacing the Image Leiden, D. Thackston, ed. Canby London, , pp. Hillenbrand Aldershot, , pp. Roxburgh; London, RA, , pp. Their main capital was Tabriz in northwest Iran; it became the Aqqoyunlu capital when they defeated the Qaraqoyunlu in , but Shiraz remained an important center of book production.

    They employed captured artists of varying origins and traditions, and Turkmen manuscripts from the midth century contain paintings in three distinct styles often side by side in the same volume e. The first style continued the traditions associated with manuscripts produced in Shiraz under the Timurids, the second was founded on the classical canon associated with Timurid Herat, and the third is a comparatively simple style which apparently originated in northwest Iran.

    By the late s or early s the Herat-inspired style had triumphed for court painting at the expense both of the Shiraz style, which had disappeared, and the northwest style, which was relegated to the illustration of commercially produced manuscripts. The Herat style was used for all the manuscripts executed c. Robinson has argued that the finest achievement of this school is the manuscript of Kalila and Dimna Tehran, Gulistan Pal. The Herat tradition established under Pir Budaq was developed under the Aqqoyunlu between and in a group of small but exquisite manuscripts in which the figures have round and rather childish faces, tiny feet and turbans set high on the head.

    Their size and quality suggest that they may have been executed for the Aqqoyunlu ruler Uzun Hasan r. His two leading artists were Shaykhi and Darvish muhammad. They contain many works attributed to Shaykhi but only three to Darvish Muhammad. They also contain a considerable body of paintings and drawings attributed to the master Pers. Two fine Turkmen manuscripts are of royal quality but fall outside the main tradition. The paintings have bright colors, fine draughtsmanship and bushy vegetation, while the figures are sometimes grotesque, with thin long necks and heavy bulbous bodies.

    Since the 14th century, Shiraz had probably been the main center for the production of manuscripts for commerce and export; under Turkmen rule in the last quarter of the 15th century this role was expanded. The paintings in well over illustrated manuscripts are in the Turkmen Commercial style, a simple but effective and utilitarian idiom that retains the stocky child-like figures and simplified landscapes of the northwest style of mid-century.

    Manuscripts illustrated in the Turkmen Commercial style outnumber by more than two to one all other 15th-century illustrated manuscripts combined, and whenever the place of production is named, it is invariably Shiraz. Another style also found in the commercial manuscripts of the s and s is known as the Brownish Turk. It is lighter and more delicate than the Turkmen Commercial style; figures are smaller and slimmer and landscapes more delicately drawn.

    The grass tufts, in particular, are placed closer together. Its origins can be traced to the Khamsa of —4. Bibliography B. Gray London and Paris, , pp. The other is a magical miscellany Paris, Bib. It includes two works, one completed at Aksaray in , the other completed at Kayseri in The original illustrations are line drawings of magical scripts and talismanic figures, although few were ever completed and the blanks were filled, possibly as late as the Ottoman period, with highly coloured figures of demons, the planets and marvels from the Alexander Romance the stories of a mythical Alexander or popular stories based on the lives of the Koranic prophets Arab.

    Many of these have little to do with traditional stereotypes and seem to derive rather from Byzantine art. The earliest illustrated manuscript produced under the Ottoman dynasty r. No other illustrated manuscripts survive until the reign of Mehmed II r.

    These are, however, of only marginal relevance to the history of Ottoman painting, since Ahmed I r. The double frontispiece depicts Solomon and Bilqis each enthroned above tiers of ministers, angels, demons and monsters. The subject matter derives largely from the text of the Greek Testamentum Salomonis , an illustrated, although unrelated, copy of which was in the library of Mehmed II, while the arrangement and style derive from one or more southern Spanish prototypes which probably reached Ottoman Turkey with the great Jewish diaspora following the fall of Granada in Bibliography A.

    Daneshvari Malibu, , pp. Grube and E. Sims, eds. The book was the only art, other than architecture, in which a distinctive tradition evolved under the succession of sultanates that ruled the region from the early 13th century to the midth. Mamluk features include garments with a pattern of stylized folds, vegetation of large flowering plants, and sky represented by banded arcs resembling one or more canopies sagging at the center.

    The closeness to Mamluk work argues for a western Indian provenance, since the Egyptian trading contacts were primarily with the ports of Gujarat and other centers on the western seaboard. The Mamluk style was still current in Egypt when the Amir Khusraw manuscript was illustrated, but its Injuid-derived red backgrounds, datable to at least a century after the last known examples of Injuid painting, suggest that the early development of Indo-Islamic manuscript illustration in the Sultanate period must already have taken place when Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq r.

    In contrast to these manuscripts, likely to have been copied in commercial scriptoria, a Khamsa of Nizami Rome, Bib. This suggests that the style may have been practiced in at least one court workshop and was perhaps of wider currency than has hitherto been assumed. Such changes may be due to the presence of imported manuscripts in Indian collections rather than the arrival of artists from Iran. It was probably imported from there, but a recently arrived Shirazi artist could equally have been responsible for its miniatures.

    A profusely illustrated Persian anthology copied by two scribes from Isfahan between and Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib. The manuscript is illustrated in a provincial Persian style with rhythmic and decorative elements suggestive of an Indian origin. These include motifs identical to those found on tile panels formerly in the public audience hall of the fort of Shihab al-Din Ahmad r. Another group of manuscripts illustrating Persian or Avadhi texts are clearly the work of Indian painters trained in the indigenous medieval styles normally associated with Jaina painting, although they incorporate elements from Persian or Mamluk sources in an attempt to meet the requirements of bourgeois Muslim patronage.

    None of the manuscripts has a colophon, but they are generally agreed to be roughly contemporary with the group centered around the Amir Khusraw manuscript, i. Zurich, Mus. Rietberg; Paris, Mus. The faces are all shown in three-quarter view with pupils in the corners of the eyes except for demons, who are goggle-eyed.

    Landscape and architectural features are minimal, there is no skyline, and the traditional profiled face with protruding eye is restricted to such figures as boatmen. In particular, its paintings show a greater variety of tree types than in other works of this group, and the sky is occasionally rendered by undulating bands of color; faces are mostly in three-quarter view. Of these, the six detached pages in the Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, are almost entirely within the indigenous stylistic tradition with profile faces and protruding eyes, although areas of empty space clarifying the narrative are partly the result of lessons drawn from Persian or Mamluk painting.

    On the other hand, they also incorporate distorted motifs from Iranian and Mamluk painting. Bands of color, ultimately of Mamluk origin, at times imitate the curved horizon of Timurid Shiraz painting or are occasionally contorted into a parody of Chinese cloud pattern. Embroidered cloud collars are further debased. Manuscripts executed for known royal patrons show a clearer understanding of foreign sources.

    The two artists who collaborated on the manuscript emphasized different features of the contemporary commercial Turkmen style of Shiraz; the more skilled and inventive of the pair also introduced sophisticated representations of indigenous costumes and facial types. The paintings in this manuscript are all in a pure Shirazi style of c. Like many other later versions of the Arabic work, its illustrations are copied with minor variations from a Mamluk original—further evidence that earlier Egyptian or Syrian manuscripts were available as models in the libraries of Sultanate India.

    Like the Bukhara school of the later 16th century, this is clearly Herat painting at one remove from its late 15th-century inspiration but still competent and capable of lively narration. It also includes features of even earlier Shirazi painting, such as rocks painted in the Muzaffarid manner of the late 14th century. These would already have been archaisms in midth-century Shiraz, and their presence supports the view that foreign influences in painting during the Sultanate period were introduced and assimilated over a long time, although certain stages in this process have been obscured through the loss of libraries during dynastic conflicts.

    In the later part of the century, however, the importance of the illustrated book as a work of art gave way to the single-page drawing or painting, often destined for mounting in albums, although illustrated manuscripts of modest pretensions were still produced for the market in such provincial centers as Shiraz. Increased contact with Europe in the 17th century brought about the introduction of Western subjects and pictorial conventions, such as vanishing-point perspective, shading and atmospheric color. The illustrated book never regained its importance in the 18th and 19th centuries, although under the Qajar dynasty r.

    In Central Asia the Timurid and Safavid traditions of book illustration were faithfully maintained under the Shaybanid dynasty r. The most important developments in the sart of the illustrated book during this period occurred in India under the Mughals r. An equally distinctive style emerged in the Ottoman Empire, where Persian models were adapted to depict contemporary events in manuscripts prepared for royal patrons. Iran, c.

    Central Asia. Ottoman Empire. The style of Tabriz, — The style of Qazvin, — The style of Shiraz, c. Traditional painting at Isfahan and other courts, c. Eclectic painting at Isfahan and other courts, c. Painting under the Safavid dynasty r. Thus Safavid painting may be described as being in the style or manner of Tabriz, Qazvin and Isfahan, the series of capitals in which the Safavid shahs held court; Mashhad and Herat, where governors or regents ruled; or Shiraz and Khurasan, provincial cities and regions where traditional modes of painting were only partly affected by metropolitan developments in the pictorial arts.

    These names signify distinctive styles and sometimes types of painting rather than specific geographical provenances. Book painting under the Safavids includes the most spectacular ensembles of Persian manuscript illustration as well as the most pedestrian; between these two poles are many manuscripts that are good, interesting, captivating or distinguished in one way or another but that may never merit special discussion.

    Yet Safavid painting should be understood not only as traditional book illustration but as other pictorial modes as well. Most numerous are evocative single-figure compositions, both drawings and paintings, which are often bound into albums alternating with handsome examples of calligraphy. Some of the same figural compositions occurring in illustrated manuscripts, finished colored drawings and large-scale paintings were adapted for the decoration of textiles and ceramics, which were important and widely exported Safavid trade goods.

    Trade was a central element of Safavid life and art. Contacts with the Indian subcontinent and Europe brought people and objects to Iran that had a lasting influence on the styles and techniques of contemporary and later painting. This fundamental change forever altered the traditional relations between wealthy patrons and anonymous artists. In addition to the number of artists known from authentically signed paintings and drawings, the number of artists discussed in contemporary written sources amounts to a small explosion of information.

    Stchoukine could name 75 artists documented by at least one source or picture; many more have been recorded since. Moreover, the emergence of the artist as a personality no less worthy of recognition than the calligrapher seems to be coeval with the breakdown of the traditional Persian pictorial aesthetic that eschewed originality and rewarded adherence to classical canons in the making of fine pictures. It is no coincidence that more distinctive and personal styles of painting and drawing may be noted during the two centuries of Safavid rule than at any other time in the history of Persian art.

    Painting in Iran during the first half of the 16th century is inextricably tied to the turbulent events accompanying the rise of the Safavid dynasty. In the Safavids defeated the Aqqoyunlu Turkmen and took over their capital at Tabriz in northwest Iran, including the Turkmen court library and its book-making workshops. By the Safavids were already on the defensive at their western frontier, facing the first of four invasions by Ottoman armies. This continued Ottoman threat eventually forced the Safavids to move their capital southwards to Qazvin in The movement from Herat of artists, patrons and the works of art that accompanied them accounts for many aspects of the later history of Persian painting.

    There are, however, some notable exceptions. The other two Safavid paintings one dated —5 and one Turkmen painting were detached from the manuscript Ham, Surrey, Keir priv. The 15th-century paintings in the manuscript are considered the finest of all Turkmen court painting. The dimensions c. They similarly divide into later Turkmen court and earliest Safavid stylistic groups. In both manuscripts the Safavid paintings show the distinctive Safavid headgear Pers.

    While the Jamal and Jalal paintings remain a curious pictorial dead-end, the paintings in the Khamsa prefigure Safavid painting as it was to develop under the sponsorship of Tahmasp I r. The hand of Sultan-Muhammad has also been discerned in another painting London, BM, ; see color pl.

    Incomplete and damaged, the manuscript now contains three paintings, whose subjects appear to be generalized scenes of courtly life; analysis of the pictures in the context of the poetry surrounding them shows how explicitly each painting renders in images the words of the poem in which each is embedded. His patronage falls into two distinct phases. There followed a decade during which he apparently renounced the visual arts, but his recovery from an illness c.

    In , when he was barely a few months old, Tahmasp had been sent to Herat as nominal governor, and his love of fine manuscripts, his skill as a calligrapher and his connoisseurship of the arts of the book are surely connected to his exposure to the aesthetic modes and mores of Herat conferred by his early life in that city and by the presence in Tabriz of Bihzad, the great master of the Herat style of painting. Presumably Tahmasp established his own scriptorium—library Pers.

    Most of its 15 paintings and a detached picture in Dublin Chester Beatty Lib. It is undated, its calligrapher is unidentified, and even the place where it was executed is uncertain, although it was probably made at Tabriz. Each of its four originally five paintings is unusual. Princely Entertainment is remarkable for the dark intensity of its green garden setting. Allegory of Drunkenness , also signed by Sultan-Muhammad, is an audacious and wickedly humorous portrayal of a Sufi gathering, with realistic portraits of an entire community in the throes of spiritual and literal intoxication.

    Episode in a Mosque , which bears an attribution to Shaykhzada, is unusually large. It shows an elaborate interior which juxtaposes an agitated crowd of men against highly decorated rectilinear shapes, comprising architectural components and textiles placed on them. Tahmasp, during his period of renunciation, gave the manuscript to the Ottoman sultan Selim II r. The creation of the manuscript must have occupied a small army of craftsmen and artists over a considerable period.

    It is extremely uneven in quality, for some of the paintings are superlative and merit every word of praise, contemporary or modern, ever lavished on them; others are fine but undistinguished illustrations; some are banal and boring. Towards the middle of the volume the need to produce large numbers of pictures at some speed dictated a formula: pictures occupy only part of the written surface with essential figures or other elements placed in the simplest of settings, often with a void in the center.

    Virtually every important painter in Tabriz is presumed to have worked on the manuscript, although the paucity of signatures is curious in view of the later Safavid habit of signing pictures. It was copied in Tabriz by the famous scribe Shah Mahmud Nishapuri and bears dates between and It has splendid ornamentation, and its wide margins are further enhanced by drawings executed in gold touched with silver of animals cavorting in wind-blown landscapes. Scotland, —70 and three more were added by Muhammad Zaman in —6. The paintings were executed separately and pasted into spaces left for them in the text.

    The manuscript remained unfinished in the 16th century: not all the spaces for illustration were filled. These paintings are more temperate and less cramped than earlier Safavid pictures and often variations on a pictorial aesthetic, with a surprisingly wide range of differing styles in each. In them are merged the components of earlier Safavid painting: the frenetic type of landscape with unusual coloring, and visionaries or other-worldly beings, associated with painting in late 15th-century and very early 16th-century Tabriz; the limpid, cool and balanced compositions associated with Herat; the increasingly naturalistic depiction of humans engaged in daily activities, and the taste for the multiplication of patterns, in textiles, tile panels, tents, architecture, pools, fountains and the smaller accoutrements of Safavid life.

    Each is set out of doors or includes a garden background. Palatial terrace or nomad camp, enchanted wilderness pool or barren hunting-ground, each picture is a broad, balanced composition conveying a sense of limitless space, whether it has many figures Khusraw Enthroned , fol. The Ascent of the Prophet to Heaven see color pl. Against a star-spangled blue sky with white clouds in curling Chinese shapes that half-hide the golden moon with a white halo around it, soars the Prophet Muhammad.

    He is mounted on Buraq, the human-headed horse that bears him through the Seven Heavens into the Divine Presence. Dressed in green, his face veiled with white, he blazes with a huge halo of flame. The archangel Gabriel, with a smaller flaming nimbus, escorts him.

    Angels wearing crowns or foliage headdresses and bearing offerings surround him. The composition is classical, but none of the earlier examples approaches the grandeur of this picture or conveys its other-worldly atmosphere nor achieves its nobility of form and color. Whoever imagined, and painted, this vision of faith and glory for it carries no attribution , it is a fitting final image in any discussion of Tabriz painting under the sponsorship of Shah Tahmasp. Blair and Jonathan M. The repeated Ottoman invasions of Iran during the reign of Tahmasp seem to have persuaded the Shah, probably in , to move his capital away from the Ottoman threat southeast to Qazvin.

    Also in the mids Tahmasp is said to have wearied of calligraphy and painting and occupied himself with important affairs of state, the well-being of the country and the tranquility of his subjects Qazi Ahmad, p.

    olivier umecker painting | Painted things | Contemporary paintings, Painting, Drawings

    Qazi Ahmad records that the Shah himself painted several group or genre pictures Pers. At least 28 paintings are known and more are unpublished. They are large c. They vary in style, but the overall quality is high, even when the solution to composing pictures on such a scale is to fall back on strict symmetry, large areas of abstract pattern, or the division of landscape into well-differentiated bands of color against which the protagonists, whether of this world or another, are displayed. One of the most striking images Geneva, Mus. Khalili Col. James, After Timur , London, , pp.

    Its superb quality has led to the supposition that it was made in Qazvin and possibly for Tahmasp himself. Painters had to look elsewhere for their livelihood.