Book arts of Isfahan : diversity and identity in by Alice Taylor

By Alice Taylor

Released to coincide with an exhibition on the J.Paul Getty Museum, this publication explores the colourful inventive legacy of the capital urban of the Safavid Empire in seventeenth-century Persia. Isfahan was once a crossroads of foreign exchange and international relations and, for this reason, grew to become a kaleidoscope of resident languages and religions. The artists of the town have been remarkably aware of the actual and mental range of its many peoples: Armenians, Uzbeks, Turks, Christians, and Jews. So specified was once their process that artwork historians now recognize an Isfahan kind. Book Arts of Isfahan brings jointly dozens of miniatures, so much of them drawn from the collections of the Getty Museum, the collage of California, la, and the l. a. County Museum of paintings. With Alice Taylor's concise and readable textual content, they supply a great evaluate of the books and manuscripts produced within the Isfahan kind.

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The illustrations in the Judeo-Persian manuscripts are part of the long Persian tradition of manuscript illustration. Placing them within that tradition involves a consideration of the ways they resemble—and differ from—their predecessors in sixteenth-century illustration, as well as the ways they resemble and differ from royal Safavid manuscript illustration in the late-seventeenthcentury style of Isfahan. A sixteenth-century manuscript of Nizami from Shiraz in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art includes several scenes paralleled in the Judeo-Persian Khosrou and Shirin.

An image of Hainan as Vizier (fig. 11) shows his power in terms contemporary Safavid grandees might have used. Haman is visiting his palace under construction. Domes and arches rise above a high podium. A niche bears images of courtly power: a mural showing a rider, accompanied by a youth and a dog, passing a worker. Haman and his entourage mirror the image on the wall of his new palace. , pi. 14) show other trappings of power that Jews would have known in Isfahan. The king sits on a raised platform, while his astrologers kneel on the rug before him.

1398. Judeo-Persian Illustrated Manuscripts * 39 The images match Nizami's narration in this regard, for, in the text, Shirin's beauty never changes, no matter what happens to her; it is a reflection of God's love. Hence Nizami can continually compare her face to the moon or the stars. The illustrations in the Judeo-Persian manuscripts are part of the long Persian tradition of manuscript illustration. Placing them within that tradition involves a consideration of the ways they resemble—and differ from—their predecessors in sixteenth-century illustration, as well as the ways they resemble and differ from royal Safavid manuscript illustration in the late-seventeenthcentury style of Isfahan.

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