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Hundreds of illustrated volumes survive today, doubtless only a fraction of the actual artistic production that began in the Il-khanid (Mongol) period, if not earlier, and continued into the modern era in both painted and printed form (Robinson, 1983). 256-69; Melville and van den Berg; Davidson and Simpson), and even inspired contemporary artistic production (Milz; Komaroff, 2013; Sadri); see also the exhibitions and conferences listing following the Bibliography). 1-8, 13, 20; Brend, 2012; Rizvi, 2012; Simpson, 2013b, 2013c). PERSIAN INFLUENCES ON INDIAN PAINTING; Robinson, 1983, pp. One such volume widely (although not universally) accepted as Sultanate is dated 841/1438 and contains 93 small and simple miniatures that relate stylistically to works produced in Shiraz during the Mozaffarid period and into the first decades of the 15th century (Brend, pp. Indian admiration for the remained strong during the Mughal period (Sharma), particularly among the dynasty’s early rulers, as evidenced by the manuscript, previously mentioned, made for the Timurid prince Moḥammad Juki, ca. Subsequent members of the Mughal elite also owned illustrated s, documented, as with the Moḥammad Juki volume, by seals and inscriptions (Stanley, pp. Interest in Ferdowsi’s poem continued in India in later centuries, as evidenced by a volume dated 1131/1719 and illustrated, possibly for a Hindu bibliophile, in the provincial style of Kashmir (Titley, pp. had perhaps even greater currency during the Ottoman period in Turkey, and illustrated copies, many from Shiraz, were avidly collected, along with other Persian manuscripts, by the Ottoman sultans in Istanbul and other high-level court officials during the 16th and 17th centuries (Uluç, 2006, pp. While the manuscript’s picture format (with its illustrations set within the text columns) and iconography adhere closely to traditional practices, the paintings themselves reflect an eclectic mixture of both early and late Safavid styles, as well as the strong influence of European (or perhaps Indian) art, particularly in the treatment of landscapes, buildings, furniture, and costumes. The first such lithography volumes with pictures were printed in Bombay in 1262/18/1849, in Tehran in 1265-67/1851-53, and in Tabriz in 1275/1858, each with 57 illustrations integrated with relevant text passages, as in the long-standing manuscript tradition. Christine Woodhead, “An Experiment in Official Historiography: The Post of Şehnameci in the Ottoman Empire, c. “Heroic Gestes: Epic Tales from Firdawsi’s Shahnama,” Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass., 18 June-27 November 2010.
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Whatever the impetus and meanings, the practice of decorating portable objects and interior decors with illustration in manuscript form begins in the Il-khanid period (1256-1353), coinciding with the start of the canonical history of Persian painting, and more specifically around the year 1300 (Hillenbrand, 2002, pp. That Ferdowsi’s epic had a particular appeal in this period is attested by the fact that a third of the illustrated manuscripts surviving from the first half of the 14th century happen to be copies of the , far more than any other literary text. The extant volumes seem to have been illustrated in the major centers of manuscript production in the 14th century, including Tabriz, Shiraz, and possibly Baghdad and Isfahan. Three stylistically related works, attributed to circa 1300 and known collectively as “the Small s” because of their physical size, originally contained a minimum of 106-110 illustrations each. Other 14th century manuscripts, and specifically four volumes made between 13 in Shiraz, then capital of the Inju dynasty that ruled the Fārs province on behalf of the Il-khanids (Adamova, 2004, pp. Thus, for instance, three of the four Injuid manuscripts include Bahrām Gur at the hunt with Āzāda, depicted in precisely the same compressed iconography (that is, with successive narrative moments conflated into a single, epitomized composition) found, as already cited, on numerous pre-Mongol objects (Shukurov, pl. 3-4), the first step in the production of such a book involved the transcription of the epic verses, usually in six columns (that is, three verses per line), and sometimes in two separate volumes.
The popularity of a given episode and/or the availability of a visual model may have been a factor. As research on individual volumes has revealed (conveniently summarized by Hillenbrand, 2004, pp.