Persian painter. He was one of a small group of artists working in Iran in the second half of the 17th century who painted in an eclectic manner that drew on European images and Mughal Indian styles (see Islamic art, §III, 4(vi)(a)). He appears to have been the earliest of this group, which included Muhammad Zaman and ‛Aliquli Jabbadar, to integrate these ‘exotic’ elements into his work. He invariably inscribed his work with the punning Persian phrase Bahā girift chū gardīd Shaykh ‛Abbāsī (‘It [He] acquired worth when he became Shaykh ‛Abbasi’). The honorific it contains (‛Abbasi; also a type of coin, whence the pun) suggests that he was in the service of Shah ‛Abbas II (reg 1642–66). He also signed paintings during the reign of Shah Sulayman (reg 1666–94).
Shaykh ‛Abbasi illustrated manuscripts and painted miniatures on single leaves of paper and, almost certainly, on lacquered papier-mâché objects, such as penboxes and mirror cases. More than 15 of his known paintings are signed, 8 in one manuscript (Baltimore, MD, Walters A. Mus., MS. W.668), and 25 can be attributed to him. His subjects include portraits of Safavid and Mughal rulers and of the Virgin and Child copied from European prints. His style is unmistakable, combining sure draughtsmanship with pale, transparent colour washes. Unlike Muhammad Zaman, he had a minimal interest in illusionism, restricting himself to darkening the edges of trees and buildings along one side (usually the right). His figures, especially heads and faces, are Indian in appearance as well as in the stippled manner in which they are drawn. His later pictures seem more Indian than his earlier work; Zebrowski proposed a connection with Golconda painting (...
Çigdem Kafesçioglu and Walter B. Denny
Jeffrey A. Hughes
(fl c. 1615–58).
Indian miniature painter, son of Aqa Riza and brother of Abu’l-Hasan. Both his father and his brother worked for the Mughal emperor Jahangir (reg 1605–27). Although ‛Abid probably began working in the royal atelier c. 1615, all of his known signed works are datable to the reign of Shah Jahan (reg 1628–58). His style varied somewhat from that of his celebrated older brother, but ‛Abid’s work also stayed within the strict formalism of the Persian-derived courtly concerns for symmetry, technical perfection and minute detail. Within these constraints, ‛Abid’s portraits of court figures are injected with an animation that creates characterization of individual personalities and intensifies the narrative. ‛Abid was an accomplished colourist, whose vivid use of colour seems to contrast with the realism of his subjects, primarily battle and court scenes. His known paintings are relatively few; most are from the Padshāhnāma of c. 1636–58 (Windsor Castle, Royal Lib., MS. HB.149, fols 94...
J. P. Losty
(b 1588; fl 1600–30).
In 1618 the Mughal emperor Jahangir (reg 1605–27) wrote in his memoirs that Abu’l-Hasan’s ‘work was perfect…At the present time he has no rival or equal… Truly he has become Nadir al-Zaman (“Wonder of the age”)’. Some of this artist’s paintings are among the greatest in Mughal art. He was born in Jahangir’s household in 1588, the son of the erstwhile Safavid artist Aqa Riza. Abu’l-Hasan’s earliest known work, a drawing based on Albrecht Dürer’s St John and executed when he was only 12 (Oxford, Ashmolean), already shows in its naturalism the trend of his mature work. A single painting in a manuscript of the fable-book Anvār-i Suhaylī (‘Lights of Canopus’), probably done in 1604 (London, BL, Add. MS. 18579), develops the naturalism of his portraiture but still contains a Safavid landscape based on his father’s work; his sense of respect for the latter is indicated by his signing himself here ‘the dust of Riza’s threshold’. He maintained throughout his career the meticulous finish of the Safavid style (...
R. Nath, Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom
Dynasty that ruled portions of southern India from 1489 to 1686. Its founder, Yusuf ‛Adil Shah (reg 1489–1509), had come to India from Persia and was appointed governor of Bijapur under the Bahmani family rulers. He declared his independence when that dynasty declined. Yusuf had a prolonged conflict with the Portuguese, who were able to secure Goa in 1510. The ‛Adil Shahis and their rival states in the Deccan formed a series of alliances and counter-alliances in the struggle for hegemony. For example, in 1543 a confederacy of Ahmadnagar, Golconda and Vijayanagara attacked the ‛Adil Shahi capital Bijapur, but Ibrahim ‛Adil Shah (reg 1534–57) maintained control. His successor ‛Ali ‛Adil Shah (reg 1557–79) joined an alliance that destroyed Vijayanagara in 1565. ‛Ali ‛Adil Shah was an enlightened prince who built a large number of public works, including the Jami‛ Mosque at Bijapur. The dynasty reached its zenith under ...
[Mir Afżal al-Ḥusaynī al-Tūnī]
(fl Isfahan, 1640–51).
Persian illustrator. Active during the reign of the Safavid shah ‛Abbas II (reg 1642–66), Afzal produced manuscript illustrations and single pages for albums in different styles. Most of the 62 paintings he made for the voluminous copy (St Petersburg, Saltykov-Shchedrin Pub. Lib., Dorn 333) of Firdawi’s Shāhnāma (‘Book of kings’) presented to the monarch by the head of the royal guard, Murtiza Quli Khan, are scenes of battles and combats in the Metropolitan style that was transferred from Herat to Bukhara (see Islamic art, §III, 4(vi)(c)). Unlike the tinted drawings of his contemporaries, Afzal’s single-page compositions use a rich, sombre palette highlighted with gold. Most depict the standard repertory of languid youths and lovers in the style of Riza, but are more erotic. Bishop with a Crosier (Los Angeles, CA, Co. Mus. A., M.73.5.456) is the only known Persian portrait of an Armenian religious figure; it shows a broad-faced, sensitively modelled figure similar in style to those in the ...
(b Garmish, Berat, Albania; d Istanbul, c. 1660).
Ottoman architect. He followed the typical career path for an architect at the Ottoman court: recruited as a janissary, he was trained in the imperial palace in Istanbul before his appointment (by 1626–7) as chief court architect. Twice exiled because of court intrigues and the fall of fellow Albanian officials, he always managed to return to the capital. Although Kasım Ağa had general responsibility for all imperial foundations during his tenure as chief court architect (c. 1623–44 and 1645–51) and for many of the projects commissioned by senior members of the Ottoman ruling élite, his exact role in the design and execution of these projects is unclear. Works frequently credited to him personally include the Çinili complex (1640) at Üsküdar in Istanbul and the Revan and Baghdad kiosks (1635 and 1638) in the Tokapı Palace there. He is said to have completed the Sepetciler Kasrı (...
[Sedefkâr: ‘mother-of-pearl worker’]
(b Kalkandelen, western Macedonia or Ilbasan, Albania, c. 1550; d Istanbul, 1622).
Ottoman architect and worker in mother-of-pearl. He followed the typical career path of architects at the Ottoman court: recruited as a janissary (c. 1562), from 1569 to 1588 he studied architecture in the imperial palace under Sinan (see Sinan) and mother-of-pearl inlay under Usta Muhammed. He was appointed superintendent of the water supply, the second ranking official in the corps of imperial architects, in 1597 or 1598, and finally replaced Ahmed Dalgiç as chief court architect on 11 October 1606. Mehmed Ağa travelled extensively: appointed court gate-keeper in 1589–90, he went to Egypt on official business and returned via Syria and Anatolia, visiting the holy shrines along his route, and as inspector of fortresses and garrisons he was sent to the Balkans, Hungary and the Crimea. From 1593 to 1597 he also worked in the provincial administration of Diyarbakır, Damascus and Hawran.
According to his biographer Ca‛fer Efendi in the ...
[Meremetçi: ‘the Mender’]
(d Istanbul, c. 1665).
Ottoman architect. Known as the ‘Mender’, owing to his early career as a repairer and restorer, he was appointed chief imperial architect on the removal of Kasım Ağa in 1644, although he reportedly spent so much on building stables at Üsküdar for Ibrahim (reg 1640–48) that he was dismissed the following year. Reappointed in 1651, he was charged with the rebuilding of the Dardanelles fortresses at Çanakkale (1659–61). His major commission, executed between 1660 and 1663, was to complete the Yeni Valide Mosque at Eminönü in Istanbul, begun by Davud Ağa in 1594. Mustafa Ağa added its associated pavilion, public fountains, primary school, Koran school, the tomb of its founder and nearby Mısr Çarşı (Egyptian Bazaar). He supervised construction of the pavilion (Turk. kasr) of Davud Pasha (1665) and was responsible for the construction of the fountain (Turk. sebil) of Mustafa Ağa (...
Çigdem Kafesçioglu and Walter B. Denny
Islamic dynasty and rulers of Morocco since 1631. Like their predecessors the Sa‛dis, the ‛Alawis are sharīfs (descendants of the Prophet Muhammad), and both dynasties are sometimes classed together as the ‘Sharifs of Morocco’. From a base in the Tafilalt region of south-east Morocco, the ‛Alawi family was able to overcome the centrifugal forces exerted by the Berber tribes who had destroyed the Sa‛di state in the first half of the 17th century. To restore political authority and territorial integrity, Mawlay Isma‛il (reg 1672–1727) added a new black slave corps to the traditional tribal army. Although royal power was weak during the 19th century and the early 20th, when the French and Spanish established protectorates, the ‛Alawis’ power was fully restored after independence from the French in 1956.
‛Alawi building activities (see Islamic art, §II, 7(v)) were concentrated in the four cities that have served as their capitals: Fez and Marrakesh at various times from ...
[Muḥammad ‛Alī al-Mashhadī ibn Malik Ḥusayn al-Iṣfahānī]
(fl Isfahan, 1645–60).
Persian illustrator. The son of a painter, Muhammad ‛Ali became one of the most popular and prolific painters at the court of the Safavid monarch ‛Abbas II (reg 1642–66). Muhammad ‛Ali was a skilled and competent artist who preferred rounded contours and simple forms. Although he was not as innovative in form and style as his contemporary Mu‛in, Muhammad ‛Ali’s figures convey tremendous charm, animation and vitality. Eight of his paintings illustrate his own copy (Baltimore, MD, Walters A.G., MS 649) of Muhammad Riza Naw‛i’s Sūz u gudāz (‘Burning and consuming’). The largest number of the artist’s ink drawings highlighted with colour washes and gold illustrate a copy (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 1010) of Hafiz’s Dīvān (collected poetry). His album pages include standard figures of youths, elderly men and lovers as well as more unusual group scenes, such as one of bears imitating a court.
See images tab for additional illustrations....
[Muḥammad ‛Alī Muzahhib]
(fl c. 1600–10).
Persian painter, active in India. He has been identified from three inscribed works bearing his name: a Seated Poet (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.), a Seated Youth (Washington, DC, Freer) and the drawing of A Girl in the Binney Collection (San Diego, CA, Mus. A.). The latter, signed Muhammad ‛Ali Jahangir Shahi with the presumed regnal date 5 (
Indian miniature painter. Trained in the studio of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), he blossomed under Akbar’s successor Jahangir (reg 1605–27). Anant is known through two sole compositions in the Tīmūrnāma (‘History of Timur’; 1584; Bankipur, Patna, Khuda Bakhsh Lib., fols 182r and 206v, and, as colourist, fol. 115v)) and as a colourist in the first Akbarnāma (‘History of Akbar’; c. 1590; London, V&A, I.S.2. 1896.117) but eventually specialized in allegorical illustrations. The ‛Iyar-i danish (‘Book of fables’; c. 1590–95; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib.) and Anvār-i Suhaylī (‘Lights of Canopus’; 1596–7; Varanasi, Banaras Hindu U., Bharat Kala Bhavan) were the prelude to his best work in the Anvār-i Suhaylī completed for Jahangir in 1610–11 (London, BL, Or. Add. 18579, fols 6r, 130v, 169r, 197r and 267r). Although he was capable of fine natural history studies, in this manuscript he concentrated on the symbolic function of animals to communicate the moral of the tale. The simple, open compositions reflect the studio style of the early 17th century....
(fl c. 1596–1640).
Indian miniature painter , brother of Payag. Balchand began his long career in the imperial Mughal atelier with figural illuminations on at least three pages (fols 17r, 33v, 60v) of the Bāharistān (‘Spring garden’) of Jamiz of 1595 (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Elliot 254). The small, repetitive figures in two lightly coloured illustrations in the Akbarnāma (‘History of Akbar’) of 1596–7 (Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 3, fols 152v–153r; alternatively dated c. 1604) also bear the mark of youthful apprenticeship. Among the few works known from the next two decades are a single illustration ascribed to him from a dispersed Shāhnāma (‘Book of Kings’) of c. 1610 (ex-Colnaghi’s, London, 1976, no. 88ii), a border decoration in an album prepared for Jahangir between 1609 and 1618 (Berlin, Staatsbib. Preuss. Kultbes., Libr. pict. A117, fol. 13v), a portrait of the Dying ‛Inayat Khan...
Town in the province of Kirman, southern Iran, on an important route skirting the southern fringes of the Dasht-i Lut Desert. The old walled city was founded in the Sasanian period (
Dynasty that ruled portions of southern India from 1527 to 1619. It was one of five successor states that emerged in the Deccan as the Bahmani family kingdom disintegrated. Qasim Barid, a Turkish slave who became a powerful noble under the Bahmani rulers, declared himself chief minister as the dynasty collapsed. His son Amir Barid (reg 1527–43) raised a succession of puppet rulers to the Bahmani throne. When Kalimullah (reg 1526–36), the last Bahmani, fled, Amir Barid threw off any pretext of allegiance and established the Barid Shahi dynasty, ruling from the Bahmani capital of Bidar. ‛Ali Barid (reg 1543–79), the first to assume the title Shah, was a patron of arts and letters. Architectural achievements of his reign include his own fine tomb and the apartments of the Rangin Mahal in Bidar fort, which he had renovated. The rival Nizam Shahi and ‛Adil Shahi family dynasties coveted the territory of Bidar and made several attempts to annex it in the 16th century. In ...
Çigdem Kafesçioglu and Walter B. Denny
Robert Skelton and Jonathan M. Bloom
revised by Sheila S. Blair
(b c. 1547; d after 1615).
Persian painter, active in India. He went to India at the age of 39. His year of birth,