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Illustrating Epic Poetry and History in Persian Manuscripts from the Mongols to the Timurids
Art - Lecture/Discussion
Thursday, November 15, 2018
6:00 PM-7:00 PM
Speaker: Dr. David Roxburgh, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History at Harvard University
Description: In the early 14th century, several new developments took place in the arts of the book. Among the most important was the practice of illustrating works of epic poetryAbu al-Qasim Firdawsis Shahnama (Book of Kings), which versified the lives and deeds of Iran's pre-Islamic kingsas well as history. Of the latter, the best known example is Rashid al-DinsJami al-Tawarikh (Gatherer of Chronicles), a history whose four parts narrated the span of human time and much of its geography. Manuscripts of Firdawsis epic and Rashid al-Dins history exerted an impact on contemporary book production in Iran under Mongol rule, and continued to shape the concept of illustrated books into the 15th century and beyond. At that time, Iran, Central Asia, and Afghanistan were ruled by members of the Timurid dynasty, founded by Timur (d. 1405).
The lecture examines inventions in the concept of the book and its illustration under Mongol rule and the extension, and adaptation, of these practices well into the Timurid period. Works of art in the Worcester Art Museum provide a focus and are contextualized in relation to a broad horizon of artistic and cultural production in such cities as Tabriz, Shiraz, and Herat.
Highlight Object: Ambassadors of the Mamluk Sultan al-Nasir Faraj b. Barquq Present their Gifts of Tribute to Timur in September 1404, folio from a afarnma (Book of Conquests), by Sharaf al-Din Ali Yazdi, before 1435. Watercolor pigment, ink, and gold on paper, 33.6 ´ 24.5 cm (folio) (13 15/64 ´ 9 41/64 in.). Commissioned by Ibrahim Sultan. Timurid period, Shiraz, Iran. Worcester Art Museum, Jerome Wheelock Fund, 1935.26.
Cost: Free with museum admission
Sponsored by: Master Series is sponsored by AbbVie. Presented with support from the Bernard G. and Louise B. Palitz Fund. Media Partner: WGBH Forum
Suggested Audiences:Elders, Adult, College, High School
Last Modified: November 14, 2018 at 3:23 PM