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Article

[Khwāja ‛Abd al-Ḥayy]

(fl c. 1374; d Samarkand, 1405).

Illustrator and painter. According to the Safavid chronicler Dust Muhammad, ‛Abd al-Hayy trained under Shams al-Din at Baghdad during the reign of the Jalayirid sultan Uways I (reg 1356–74) and became the leading painter under his son Ahmad (reg 1382–1410), who was also ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil. When Timur took Baghdad, ‛Abd al-Hayy was sent to Samarkand, either in 1393 or in 1401, where he spent the rest of his life. He seems to have specialized in monochrome ink drawings: Dust Muhammad recorded that ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil, Ahmad Jalayir, contributed a black-and-white drawing to a manuscript of the Abūsa‛īdnāma (‘Book of Abu Sa‛id’), and a number of examples attributed to the late 14th century and preserved in various albums (e.g. Berlin, Staatsbib. Preuss. Kultbes., Orientabt. Diez A. 70–73) bear the notation that they were copied from ‛Abd al-Hayy’s drawings by Muhammad ibn Mahmud Shah Khayyam. In his album (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. ...

Article

Milo Cleveland Beach and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair

[(Khwāja) ‛Abd al-Ṣamad; ‛Abd as-Ṣamad; Abdus Ṣamad]

(fl c. 1540–95).

Iranian miniature painter and calligrapher, active also in India. Trained in Safavid Iran, ‛Abd al-Samad migrated to India, where he became director of the Mughal painting workshops under the emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). In this key position, he influenced the development of Mughal painting in the second half of the 16th century more than any other artist (see Indian subcontinent §VI 4., (i), (b)).

No inscribed works by ‛Abd al-Samad are known from the period when he worked in Safavid Iran, though attributions have been proposed, such as a depiction of the assassination of Khusraw Parviz from the copy of the Shāhnāma made for Shah Tahmasp I (reg 1524–76). Already a mature painter, he paid homage in 1544 to Akbar’s father, the Mughal emperor Humayun (reg 1530–40; 1555–6), when the exiled ruler was given refuge at the court of the Safavid shah Tahmasp at Tabriz. In ...

Article

Sheila R. Canby

[Mīr Sayyid ‛Alī-i Tabrīzī]

(b Tabriz, c. 1510; d Mecca, after 1572).

Persian painter, active also in India. He was the son of the Safavid-period painter Mir Musavvir. Though Qazi Ahmad, writing in the late 16th century, deemed him cleverer in art than his father, Mir Sayyid ‛Ali reveals paternal influence in his meticulous rendering of ornamental patterns and details. As he was a junior artist at the time of the royal Shāhnāma of c. 1525–35 (dispersed, see Dickson and Welch), his contribution to this was limited. Only two miniatures (fols 135v and 568r; priv. col. and New York, Met., respectively; see 1979–80 exh. cat., nos 20 and 33) are attributed to him, and possibly passages in other works by Sultan Muhammad and Aqa Mirak. By the time of the illustration of the Khamsa (‘Five poems’) of Nizami of 1539–42 (London, BL, Or. MS. 2265), Mir Sayyid ‛Ali was a first-rank Safavid court artist, painting four (or possibly five) miniatures, three (or possibly four) of which were subsequently removed from the manuscript (Cambridge, MA, Sackler Mus., 1958.75 and 1958.76; Edinburgh, Royal Mus. Scotland, ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair

[Muẓaffar ‛Alī ibn Haydar ‛Alī al-Tabrīzī]

(fl late 1520s–70s; d Qazvin, c. 1576).

Persian calligrapher, illustrator, painter and poet. He was a versatile artist who belonged to the second generation working for Tahmasp I (reg 1524–76) at the Safavid court in north-west Iran (see Islamic art, §III, 4(vi)(a)). His career has been reconstructed by Dickson and Welch on the basis of brief notices by Safavid artists and historians, signed calligraphies and ascribed paintings. He studied calligraphy with the master Rustam ‛Ali, and several folios in the album compiled for Bahram Mirza in 1544–5 (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2154) are signed jointly by Rustam ‛Ali for the writing and Muzaffar ‛Ali for the découpage (Arab. qat‛). He was a master of nasta‛lıq script, and two examples in the album prepared for Amir Ghayb Beg in 1564–5 (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2161) are signed by him. In the introduction to this album, Malik Daylami wrote of his skill in calligraphic decoration and gold illumination, and the chronicler Qazi Ahmad reported that he also excelled in gold-flecking, gilding and varnished painting. Muzaffar ‛Ali reportedly studied painting with the renowned master ...

Article

[Ashraf; ‛Alī Ashraf]

(fl c. 1735–80).

Persian painter. Known for a large number of painted and varnished (‘lacquered’) bookbindings, penboxes and mirror-cases (see Islamic art, §viii, 10), ‛Ali Ashraf worked in a small floral style with a characteristic motif of pansies or African violets on a black ground. His style, notable for its richness and delicacy, is derived directly from that of his teacher Muhammad Zaman but is standardized and simplified. His debt to his teacher can be seen in his signature, az ba‛d-i mu ḥammad ‛alī ashraf ast, which can be read as either ‘‛Ali [the Prophet’s son-in-law] is the noblest after Muhammad [the Prophet]’ or ‘‛Ali Ashraf is a follower of Muhammad [Zaman]’. This is the way he signed four mirror-cases with fine bird-and-flower designs (1740–1, Edinburgh, Royal Mus. Scotlandr, 1921–43; 1747, London, V&A, 758–1876; 1751–2, New York, Brooklyn Mus., 88.92; and 1755–6, London, J. Pope-Hennessy priv. col.) and a similar but undated penbox (Berne, Hist. Mus., 21–...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

[Muḥammad Bāqir]

(fl 1750s–1760s).

Persian painter. He is known for decorations in the margins of manuscripts, copies of European prints and 17th-century paintings, and wash drawings. His subjects range from floral sprays to nudes, such as the watercolour of a sleeping nymph (1765; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., cat. no. 282.VI). He contributed paintings and marginal decorations to a sumptuous album (1758–9; St Petersburg, Hermitage), probably compiled for the Afsharid court historian Mirza Mahdi Khan Astarabadi. Muhammad Baqir’s punning signature there suggests that he was a pupil of ‛Ali Ashraf. Muhammad Baqir signed one of the finest marginal paintings in a smaller but similar album (1764; dispersed; sold Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 23 June 1982) and may have been responsible for all of them, which include rose sprays and copies of Susannah and the Elders. Muhammad Baqir is sometimes said to have continued to work under the Qajar ruler Fath ‛Ali Shah (...

Article

Basawan  

Milo Cleveland Beach

[Basāwan; Basāvana]

(fl c. 1556–1600).

Indian miniature painter. One of the great talents to flourish under the emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), he was a prolific painter who contributed to virtually all the great illustrated manuscripts executed in the imperial workshops over a span of some 40 years. While most Mughal artists were concerned with the importance of line, colour and surface pattern, Basawan, with a greater understanding of the techniques of imported European works, developed a palette closer to that of European oil painting and dissolved outlines to create greater three-dimensionality. In his work, surface patterns are subservient to a dramatic spatial penetration of the picture plane. These traits were quite new within both Indian and Islamic traditions, and Basawan led the vanguard in adopting them. His work is remarkable also for the complexity of his compositions, his skill at giving roundness and density to his figures and his sensitive portrait-like faces. A contemporary assessment of Basawan is found in the ...

Article

Anand Krishna

(fl c. 1580–c. 1604).

Indian miniature painter. Not to be confused with the contemporary master Farrukh Beg, he was a middle-rank, prolific painter who contributed to most of the major illustrated manuscripts produced for the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), starting from the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’; c. 1580; London, BL, OR 4615) and ending with the Akbarnāma (‘History of Akbar’; c. 1590; London, V&A, IS.2:1896). His personal style can be detected in certain leaves of the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’). He seems to have been a disciple (chela) in Akbar’s new religion, the Tauhid-i Ilahi. He sometimes used the epith khurd (‘younger’), which would distinguish him from another Farrukh with the epithet kalan (‘elder’), presumably Farrukh Beg.

Like other painters of Akbar’s court, Farrukh Chela must have been fully trained in the given style when he entered the imperial studio, yet he retained his personal (perhaps traditional) style, which is well projected in his paintings. A single-handed painting from the ...

Article

Philippa Vaughan

[Haribas]

(fl c. 1580s–1602).

Indian miniature painter. His only known attributed work is in the Jog-bashisht (1602; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., Ind. MS. 5), the Persian translation of a Sanskrit text on Vedanta philosophy. The manuscript has 41 illustrations produced at Allahabad under the patronage of Prince Salim (later the Mughal emperor Jahangir, reg 1605–27). However, Haribans began his career in the 1580s in the studio of Akbar (reg 1556–1605), for he is named 16th of the 17 painters listed in order of seniority in the Āyin-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of Akbar’s administration as it was c. 1590.

The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court (exh. cat. by M. C. Beach; Washington, DC, Freer, 1981) The Art of the Book in India (exh. cat. by J. P. Losty; London, BL, 1982) M. C. Beach: Early Mughal Painting (Cambridge, MA, 1987) L. Y. Leach: Mughal and Other Indian Paintings from the Chester Beatty Library...

Article

(b Najaf, 1944).

Iraqi calligrapher, painter, printmaker and writer, active in Paris (see fig.). He studied painting and calligraphy in Baghdad from 1960 to 1969, and in 1969 exhibited his work at the Iraqi Artists’ Society exhibition and at the French Cultural Centre in Baghdad. The same year he went to Paris and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1975. Thereafter he lived in Paris. Although influenced by traditional calligraphy, he developed his own calligraphic style, which incorporated painterly elements. In many of his works, for example Je suis le feu tapi dans la pierre. Si tu es de ceux qui font jailler l’étincelle alors frappe (1984; Paris, Inst. Monde Arab.), he employed proverbs and quotations from a range of sources. He also researched and wrote about Arabic calligraphy.

Article

Sheila R. Canby

[Sayyid Aqā Jalāl al-Dīn Mīrak al-Ḥasanī (or al-Ḥusaynī) al-Iṣfahānī]

(fl Tabriz, c. 1520–55; Mashhad, c. 1555–65; Qazvin, 1565–?75; d before 1576).

Persian illustrator and painter. He was painter, purveyor and boon companion to the Safavid shah Tahmasp I and was well known in contemporary circles. The contemporary chronicler Dūst Muhammad mentioned that Aqa Mirak along with Mir Musavvir did wall paintings for Prince Sam Mirza’s palace in Tabriz and illustrations for royal manuscripts of Firdawsi’s Shāhnāma (‘Book of kings’) and Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’). Qazi Ahmad wrote that he had no peer in artistic design and was an incomparable painter, very clever, enamoured of his art, a bon vivant, an intimate [of the Shah] and a sage. A manuscript (London, BL, Or. MS. 2265) of the Khamsa done between 1539 and 1543 has four illustrations bearing attributions to Aqa Mirak. Dickson and Welch have attributed other paintings to Aqa Mirak in the monumental copy (dispersed; ex-Houghton priv. col.) of the Shāhnāma made for Tahmasp, and have used these attributions to define four periods in the artist’s life. Works ascribed to a youthful period in the 1520s have tautly composed landscapes inhabited by a few large-scale figures. A transitional period in the early 1530s was followed by mature works produced from the late 1530s to ...

Article

Mu‛in  

Eleanor Sims

[Mu‛īn Muṣavvir]

(b c. 1617; fl Isfahan, 1635–97).

Persian illustrator and painter. Numerous works clearly signed in black ink mu‛īn muṣavvir (‘Mu‛in the painter’) establish the dates of this artist’s activity. He codified the style developed by his teacher Riza and remained impervious to the eclecticism of late 17th-century art (see Islamic art, §III, 4(vi)(a)). Mu‛in often drew in magenta; his art had a firm ground in calligraphy and an equally firm colourism, but his palette is less intense than Riza’s and less deep in tonality; his figures are also less mannered in form and less extravagant in line than Riza’s and the males often sport the broad moustaches made fashionable by ‛Abbas I (reg 1588–1629). Signed works include copiously illustrated manuscripts, nearly 60 single-figure paintings and ink drawings, and painted and varnished bookbindings (see Islamic art, §VIII, 10). Many of the manuscripts (e.g. Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., P. 270, dated 1656) are copies of Firdawsi’s ...

Article

Mukund  

John Seyller

[Mukunda]

(fl c. 1570–1600).

Indian miniature painter. All known works by Mukund were painted under the patronage of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). He must have joined the court atelier before the time of the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’; 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Singh II Mus., MS. AG. 1683–1850), for the earliest works ascribed to him record the rare assignment of both the design and execution of six illustrations in that manuscript and another five in the Khamsa (‘Five poems’) of Nizami of c. 1585 (London, priv. col.). His prominence in the atelier is affirmed by ascriptions in all major manuscripts of the 1580s and 1590s and his inclusion among the 17 painters named in the Āyīn-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of Akbar’s administration.

Like most Mughal painters, Mukund was capable of working in a variety of styles, from the relatively open composition, stocky figures, and nīm qalam (uncoloured) style of the ...

Article

Sheila R. Canby

[Mīr Muṣavvir]

(b Termez or Badakhshan, late 15th century; fl Tabriz, c. 1510–48; d India, c. 1555).

Persian illustrator and painter. According to the contemporary chronicler Dust Muhammad, Mir Musavvir and Aqa Mirak were two matchless sayyids in service to the Safavid royal library who did wall paintings for the palace of Prince Sam Mirza and illustrations for royal manuscripts of Firdawsi’s Shāhnāma (‘Book of kings’) and Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’). Manuchihr Enthroned (fol. 60v) from the monumental copy (dispersed; ex-Houghton priv. col.) of the Shāhnāma made for Tahmasp (reg 1524–76) is signed on a courtier’s turban, and a verse couplet written in the iwan in Nushirwan and the Owls (fol. 15v) in a magnificent copy (London, BL, Or. MS. 2265) of the Khamsa, made for the Shah between 1539 and 1543, says that it was penned by Mir Musavvir in 1539–40. A portrait of the steward Sarkhan Beg (London, BM, 1930–11–12–02) is also inscribed as the work of Mir Musavvir....

Article

Esin Atil

(fl 1619–22).

Ottoman painter and astrologer. Employed as the official timekeeper at the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, he was also the foremost illustrator of historical manuscripts under Sultan Osman II (reg 1618–22). His earliest known work is the series of 49 illustrations he provided for a copy of the Shaqā’iq al-nu ‛māniyya, a biographical dictionary of Ottoman scholars by Taşköp rülüzade Ahmed Efendi (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 1263). The manuscript was commissioned in 1619 by the grand vizier Öküz Mehmed Pasha as a gift for the Sultan, and the last scene shows the Grand Vizier presenting the book to the Sultan in the presence of the artist. The illustrations in the Dīvān (collected poems) of the court epic-writer Nadiri (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 899), made in c. 1620, can be attributed to Ahmed Nakşi on stylistic grounds, as can those in the same author’s Şâhnâme, an account of Osman II’s campaign against Poland in ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

Current opinion considers the portrait to be a cultural construct linking the subject, the creator and the audience. Despite a widespread objection in Islamic societies against figural imagery in religious art, examples of portraiture can be found in the secular arts of the Islamic world almost from the very beginning. The portal of the palace at Khirbat al-Mafjar, for example, was decorated with a sculptured figure, presumably a portrait of the patron, the Umayyad ruler al-Walid II (reg 743–4). Although few other portraits are known to survive from early times, some remains of wall-painting from the Ghaznavid period (reg 977–1186) show realistic, albeit anonymous, figural representations as part of the palace decoration. Literary sources of this period also refer to life-like depictions of heroes, heroines and representations of royal personages in palace wall-painting, for instance the portraits of seven princesses in the palace of Bahram Gur in the ...

Article

[Muḥammad Qāsim Tabrīzī]

(b ?Tabriz; d 1659).

Persian illustrator, painter and poet. He was the most important painter in mid-17th-century Isfahan after Mu‛in. Muhammad Qasim contributed illustrations to several manuscripts, including many tinted drawings for two copies (1640; Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 1010; and c. 1650; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 299) of Hafiz’s Dīvān (collected poetry) and 42 paintings to a copy (1648; Windsor Castle, Royal Lib., MS. A/6, Holmes 151) of the Shāhnāma (‘Book of kings’). The artist also painted several murals of single figures and groups of picnickers in the side room (P4) adjoining the reception hall of the Chihil Sutun Palace (1647; see Isfahan, §3, (vii)). He is best known for his album paintings of single figures or small groups (see fig.); they often include short poems or letters that reflect his reputation as a celebrated poet. He was an accomplished draughtsman and sensitive colourist who repeated a few carefully controlled hues to create overall balance and harmony, but his elegant figures are somewhat stiff and his landscapes mere backdrops....

Article

Sadiqi  

S. J. Vernoit

[Ṡādiqī; Ṡādiqī Beg; Ṡādiqī Beg Afshār]

(b Tabriz, 1533–4; d Isfahan, 1609–10).

Persian calligrapher, painter, poet and chronicler. He came from a notable family of the Khudabandalu Turkmen tribe. At the age of 32 he turned to art, studying under the poet–calligrapher Mir San‛i at Tabriz; in 1568 Sadiqi moved to the Safavid capital at Qazvin, where he studied painting with Muzaffar ‛Ali. Sadiqi rose quickly in the royal atelier. The last major manuscript produced for the Safavid ruler Tahmasp (reg 1524–76), a copy (London, BL, Or. MS. 12985) of Asadi’s Garshāspnāma (‘Book of Garshasp’), dated 1573–4, has one painting (fol. 85v) attributed to Sadiqi, and he played a leading role in illustrating the incomplete copy (dispersed) of the Shāhnāma (‘Book of kings’) made for Isma‛il II (reg 1576–8). The seven paintings ascribed to Sadiqi show such characteristics of his early style as distinct colouring, hard contours, flat architecture and rigid figure drawing. During the reign of Muhammad Khudabanda (...

Article

[Sa‛īd, Shākir Ḥasan al-]

(b Samawa, 1925; d 2004).

Iraqi painter and writer. Said graduated in 1954 from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, where he was taught by Jawad Salim. In 1955 he was sent on a government scholarship to Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian, the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and also trained as a special student under Raymond Legueult (1898–1978). In 1959 he returned to Baghdad and was inspired by Arab painting of the 13th century, notably the work of al-Wasiti (see Islamic art, §III, 4(iv)(c)); he also read the works of the mystic philosopher al-Hallaj (d ad 922) and was drawn to Sufism. He gave up figural depiction in his paintings and turned to Arabic calligraphy, the spiritual and physical qualities of the letters becoming the central subject of his compositions. In 1971 he formed the ‘One-dimension’ group in Baghdad, which promoted the modern calligraphic school in Arab art, and in the same year the group held its only exhibition. His preoccupation with the spiritual element in art continued in his later work (e.g. ...