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[Khwāja ‛Alī Tabrīzī]

(fl Herat, 1420–45).

Persian illustrator. Khwaja ‛Ali of Tabriz is named as illuminator and illustrator in the colophon to a fine copy (Istanbul, Tokapı Pal. Lib., H. 781) of Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’), completed in 1445–6 for Ismat al-Dunya, the wife of the Timurid prince Muhammad Juki. The artist is probably to be identified with the ‘portraitist’ of that name who, according to Dust Muhammad, was brought by Muhammad Juki’s half-brother Baysunghur to Herat from Tabriz in 1420. Khwaja ‛Ali’s paintings in the Khamsa are distinguished by round-headed snub-nosed figures, refined and meticulous architecture and interiors, fresh and verdant foliage, and a palette of primary colours with much green and purple. Many of his compositions repeat those used in earlier manuscripts. His style can be identified in several other manuscripts produced at Herat: a copy (1431; Istanbul, Mus. Turk. & Islam. A., MS. 1954) of Nizami ‛Arudi’s Chahār maqāla (‘Four discourses’) made for ...


Sheila R. Canby

[Qāsim ibn ‛Alī Chihra-gushāy: ‘portrait painter’]

(fl c. Herat, 1475–c. 1526).

Iranian illustrator. He was one of the most renowned painters at the court of the Timurid sultan Husayn Bayqara (see Timurid family §II, (8)) and his associate ‛Alishir Nava’i (see also Islamic art, §III, 4(v)(d)). The chronicler Mīrzā Muhammad Haydar Dughlāt (1500–51) described him as a portrait painter and pupil of Bihzad and said that Qasim ‛Ali’s works came close to Bihzad’s but were rougher. The historian Khwāndamīr (d 1535–6) noted that Qasim ‛Ali worked in the library of ‛Alishir Nava’i, the poet, bibliophile and major patron, but that by the 1520s, having made the pilgrimage to Mecca and moved to Sistan, he apparently had ceased painting. His style is difficult to define because many works are falsely ascribed to him. The four paintings most convincingly attributed to him are in the style of Bihzad and illustrate a copy (divided, Oxford, Bodleian Lib., Elliott 287, 317, 339 and 408; Manchester, John Rylands U. Lib., Turk. MS. 3) of ‛Alishir’s ...



Priscilla P. Soucek

[Kamāl al-Dīn Bihzād; Behzad]

(b c. 1450; d Tabriz, 1535–6).

Persian illustrator. The most famous master of Persian painting, he is important both for the paintings he executed and for the wider influence of the style associated with his name. Evidently orphaned at a young age, Bihzad is said to have been raised and trained by Mirak, a painter and calligrapher employed in Herat by Sultan Husayn (see Timurid family §II, (8) and Islamic art, §III, 4(v)(d)) and his minister ‛Alishir Nava’i. The earliest literary reference to Bihzad’s work is contained in the Khulāṣat al-akḥbār (‘Essences of the eminent’), a history of the Timurid dynasty composed by Khwandamir in 1499–1500 but recounting events before 1471. Khwandamir described Bihzad as one of several skilled painters associated with these two patrons. The senior artist among them was Bihzad’s teacher, Mirak, but greatest praise was reserved for another painter, Qasim ‛Ali. By 1524, when Khwandamir completed his general history, Habīb al-siyar...



Karen L. Brock

(fl c. 1405–23).

Japanese painter and Zen monk. Contemporary biographical information about Josetsu is limited to two references. A brief entry dated 1448 in the diary of the Onryōken, a subtemple of Shōkokuji in Kyoto, mentions that in around 1416 Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimochi consulted with Josetsu about going to the island of Shikoku in search of stone for the carving of a stele in commemoration of Shōkokuji’s founder, Musō Soseki. The entry makes no mention of Josetsu as a painter, but it suggests his acquaintance with Yoshimochi and an association with Shōkokuji, which was an important centre in the development of ink painting in the Muromachi period (1333–1568) (see Japan §VI 4., (iii)). A colophon by the otherwise unknown Kanjōsō on Josetsu’s Sankyōzu (‘The three doctrines’; Kyoto, Ryōsokuin) states that the painting is by ‘[Jo]Setsu’ (clumsy-like), and that the painter was given this name by Zekkai Chūshin (1336–1405...



S. J. Vernoit

[Mīrak Naqqāsh; Amīr Rūḥallāh]

(fl Herat, c. 1468–1507).

Persian calligrapher, illuminator and illustrator. The chroniclers Mirza Muhammad Haydar Dughlat and Dust Muhammad refer to Mirak as the teacher of the painter Bihzad, who was also brought up by Mirak, according to the author Qazi Ahmad. Mirak rose to become director of the library of the Timurid Sultan Husayn (reg 1470–1506; see Timurid family, §II, (8)) and attended the Sultan closely, on journeys and at court. According to Haydar Dughlat, Mirak worked in the open air and was known for his athletic abilities. Paintings attributed to him include four illustrations (one a double frontispiece) from a copy of Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’; 1494–5; London, BL, Or. MS. 6810) to which Mirak’s name has been added in the margins by later hands. He was probably responsible for the four contemporary paintings in a copy of ‛Attar’s Man ṭiq al- ṭayr (‘Conference of the birds’; New York, Met., 67.210.1–67 and may have planned the compositions for the other four not finished until the early 17th century. Mirak’s figures are stiffer and more archaic in comparison to Bihzad’s work. The Timurid historian Khwandamir related that Mirak designed most of the inscriptions in the buildings of Herat and died during the occupation of Khurasan by Muhammad Shaybani (...


[Darvīsh Muḥammad]

(fl Tabriz, c. 1475–1500).

Illustrator. Darvish Muhammad was active at the court of the Aqqoyunlu sultans Khalil (reg 1478) and Ya‛qub (reg 1478–90). His name appears in a lengthy note to a fine copy (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 762, fols 316v–317r) of Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’), which was completed under the patronage of a succession of Timurid and Turkoman rulers (see Islamic art, §III, 4(v)(e) and fig.). The note recounts the complicated history of the manuscript and says that Khalil commissioned Darvish Muhammad, along with Shaykhi, to illustrate the work. The name Darvish Muhammad also appears on three works in the two Ya‛qub Beg albums (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2153 and H. 2160). As so few works in the albums are attributed to this important painter, Robinson suggested that Darvish Muhammad be identified with Muhammad Siyah Qalam, whose name appears on 65 works in the albums....



Eleanor Sims


(fl Tabriz, 1475–82).

Illustrator. The name Shaykhi is recorded in a single manuscript, a copy of Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’; Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 762), which contains the finest surviving examples of Turkmen painting (see Islamic art, §III, 4(v)(e)). A note on fols 316v–317r recounts the complicated history of the manuscript and states that the Aqqoyunlu ruler Khalil (reg 1478) commissioned Shaykhi, along with Darvish Muhammad, to illustrate the work. None of the ten Turkoman-period paintings remaining in the volume is signed, but most of those illustrating the poem Haft paykar (‘Seven portraits’) are considered the work of Shaykhi. His style is characterized by squat figures, vibrant colour and exuberant vegetation which bursts from the frame. The two Ya‛qub Beg albums in Istanbul (Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2153 and H. 2160) contain 71 works attributed to Shaykhi. The attributions are written in black ink beside illustrations of Turkoman and Chinese figures, Central Asian nomads, fantastic monsters, demons and chinoiserie. Many of the drawings are similar in style to the paintings from the ...