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Afzal  

[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 ...

Article

Aga Khan Award for Architecture  

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established in 1977 by HH Karim Aga Khan (b 1936), the spiritual head of the Nizari Isma‛ili Muslim community since 1957, to identify and encourage building concepts that address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence. The Award, organized on a three-year cycle, is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by the Aga Khan, which selects an independent Master Jury, which in turn selects the projects for awards. Since its inception, the Award has completed nine cycles and documented over 7500 buildings worldwide. Master Juries have selected 92 projects to receive awards, with prizes totaling up to US $500,000. A Chairman’s Award, established to honour accomplishments outside the scope of the Master Jury’s mandate, has recognized the lifetime achievements of the Egptian architect Hassan Fathy, the Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji, and the Sri Lankan architect ...

Article

Davud Ağa  

Howard Crane

(d Istanbul, Sept 1598).

Ottoman architect. He followed the standard career pattern for architects at the Ottoman court: recruited as a janissary, he studied architecture under Sinan (see Sinan) in the imperial palace in Istanbul, rose to the rank of superintendent of the water supply, the second ranking official in the corps of imperial architects, in 1576 and finally replaced his teacher as chief court architect in 1588. He also participated, presumably as a military engineer, in the campaign against Iran in 1583. He worked on various projects under Sinan’s direction, including the Selimiye Mosque (1569–75) in Edirne, the mosque (and probably the tomb) of Mehmed Ağa (1585) in the Çarşamba district of Istanbul and a hall and bath for the Yeni Saray. Davud Ağa’s own works in Istanbul include the Incili Kiosk (1589), the Septeciler Kiosk (1591), the complex of Sinan Pasha (...

Article

Kasım Ağa  

Howard Crane

(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 (...

Article

Mehmed Ağa  

Howard Crane

[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 ...

Article

Mustafa Ağa  

Howard Crane

[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 (...

Article

Agha, Zubeida  

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Faisalabad, 1922).

Pakistani painter. She introduced non-traditional pictorial imagery in Pakistan and initiated a new era in painting. She completed a degree in political science at Kinnaird College, Lahore. Her introverted disposition and concentrated study of philosophy formed the background against which her abstract ‘idea’ paintings emerged. At the Lahore School of Fine Art (1945), Agha began a study of Western art. In addition to copying Old Masters, she came into contact with contemporary Indian painting and folk art.

Mario Perlingieri, an Italian painter who had studied with Picasso, introduced Agha to abstraction in 1946. Unlike the majority of Pakistani artists in the 1950s and 1960s, who emulated Cubism (see Cubism, §I), Agha evolved a personal style synthesizing East and West. Four years in London and Paris (1950–53) brought her face to face with modern European art. Agha’s predilection for discordant shapes, tension, and mysterious and irrational juxtapositions link her art to that of Marc Chagall and Edvard Munch. An intensely private and cerebral individual, she was awarded the President’s Medal for Pride of Performance in ...

Article

Aghlabid  

Lucien Golvin

Islamic dynasty that governed Tunisia, Algeria and Sicily from ad 800 to 909. The province of Ifriqiya, roughly corresponding to modern Tunisia, had been administered from Kairouan since the Islamic conquest in the 7th century by governors named by the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. The caliph authorized one of these governors, Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab (reg 800–12), to appoint his own successor, thereby engendering a dynasty that maintained its position by paying the caliph an annual tribute. Ibrahim immediately built a satellite city, which he named al-‛Abbasiyya, with a palace, known as the Qasr al-Abyad, and a congregational mosque. His sons ‛Abdallah I (reg 812–17) and Ziyadat Allah I (reg 817–38) continued to put down insurrections, and Tunis was temporarily outside the authority of the Aghlabid amir in Kairouan. The conquest of Sicily (827) was conducted like a holy war against the Byzantines, and the troops, encouraged by indoctrination in fortified convents (Arab. ...

Article

Agra  

R. Nath

City and administrative seat of the district of the same name, in Uttar Pradesh, India. Situated on the Yamuna River in the fertile north Indian heartland, it is 200 km south of Delhi and 55 km south of the ancient city of Mathura. A centre of Mughal culture and government in the 16th and 17th centuries, Agra has numerous monuments of that period, including the famed Taj Mahal (see §II, 1).

Agra’s antiquity is indicated both by a living literary and religious tradition and by occasional archaeological discoveries of ancient pottery, bricks, pillars and sculpture in and around the city. Pilgrimage centres upstream on the Yamuna are associated with the great epic the Mahābhārata, and nearby Mathura is one of the ancient sites identified with the worship of Vasudeva Krishna. The name Agra may derive from the ancient Hindu sage Angira. The area was ruled by Rajput chiefs prior to the Muslim conquest (...

Article

Ahmad  

[Aḥmad]

(fl 1815–50).

Persian painter. He specialized in oil portraits of the Qajar rulers Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834) and Muhammad (reg 1834–48). To judge from Ahmad’s style, he was a pupil of Mihr ‛Ali (see islamic art, §viii, 11(i)). His early works include two portraits of Fath ‛Ali Shah. One dated 1818–19 (untraced) shows the Shah, whose face has been repainted, in full armour seated on the chair-like throne known as the takht-i nādirī and part of the Iranian Crown Jewels. A second portrait dated 1822–3 (Tehran, Brit. Embassy) shows the ruler seated on a jewelled carpet with a hooka at his side. Ahmad’s later work is more Europeanized in style. A large painting dated 1844 (Tehran, Gulistan Pal. Lib.) depicts Muhammad reviewing his troops, and another oil dated 1846 (Tehran, Firuz priv. col.) is a fine bust portrait of the monarch. Two paintings of female acrobats have also been attributed to his hand on the basis of the bold palette, bravura treatment of pattern and use of white to delineate eyelids and forehead....

Article

Mir Sayyid Ahmad  

Wheeler M. Thackston

[Mīr Sayyid Aḥmad al-Ḥusaynī al-Mashhadī]

(b Mashhad; fl 1550–74; d Mazandaran, 1578).

Persian calligrapher. He belonged to a family of Husayni sayyids, or descendants of the Prophet, and his father was a chandler. He was trained in calligraphy at Herat by Mir ‛Ali Husayni Haravi. When Mir ‛Ali was taken to Bukhara by the Uzbeks in 1529, Mir Sayyid Ahmad followed his master and was employed in the workshop of ‛Abd al-‛Aziz Khan, Shaybanid ruler of Bukhara. After the Khan’s death in 1550, Mir Sayyid Ahmad returned to Iran. For some years he served the Safavid shah Tahmasp (reg 1524–76) before retiring to Mashhad, where he taught calligraphy. When Tahmasp revoked his pension, Mir Sayyid Ahmad lived in penury until Mir Murad Khan, governor of Mazandaran province, visited Mashhad in 1557 and invited the calligrapher to his court. After Mir Murad Khan’s death, Mir Sayyid Ahmad returned again to Mashhad. He was in charge of assembling the Amir Ghayb Beg Album (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2161), a splendid album of painting and calligraphy completed in ...

Article

Ahmadabad  

R. N. Mehta and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair

[Ahmedabad]

City in western India, until 1970 the state capital of Gujarat.

Remains of bones and tools indicate occupation in the area around Ahmadabad during the second millennium bc. The earliest permanent settlement, called Ashaval after its founder Asha Bhil, was established on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati River in the 8th century ad and prospered in subsequent centuries. In 1391 Zafar Khan was appointed Governor of Gujarat by the Sultanate rulers in Delhi. In 1403 his rebellious son, Tatar Khan, proclaimed himself Sultan of Gujarat at Ashaval but died a few months later, possibly from poisoning. His father regained power and, assuming the title Muzaffar Shah I, proclaimed himself Sultan of Gujarat. On his death he was succeeded by his grandson, Ahmad Shah I (reg 1411–42), who built a capital at Ashaval, naming it Ahmadabad. Ahmad’s reign chiefly involved the expansion of his realm and the propagation of Islam....

Article

Çigdem Kafesçioglu and Walter B. Denny

In 

Article

Ajmer  

Asok Kumar Das

[anc. Ajayameru]

City in Rajasthan, India, that flourished from c. 12th century. Ajmer was an important centre of Jainism in the 8th century, but it was not until c. 10th century that the area came into prominence under the Chahamanas (Chauhans) of Shakambhari. King Ajayapala is said to have founded the city in the 12th century, naming it Ajayameru after himself. He is also credited with building the now ruined hilltop fort called Taragarh. His son and successor Arnoraja (also called Anaka) constructed the massive embankment that created Ana Sagar Lake. The Chahamanas, especially Prithviraja (1178–92), constructed numerous temples and other buildings at Ajmer, as well as bathing ghats at Pushkar Lake some 11 km west. None of these are preserved in their original state.

Ajmer was sacked by Mu‛in al-Din Muhammad of Ghur in 1192 and again by Qutb al-Din Aybak in 1193, the latter incorporating it into the Delhi sultanate. The Sanskrit college complex of Visaladeva and numerous temples were destroyed, and the building materials were reused to raise an impressive mosque in ...

Article

Akhlaq, Zahoor ul-  

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Delhi, India, Feb 4, 1941; d Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 18, 1999).

Pakistani painter, sculptor and printmaker. Educated in Pakistan and abroad, he has consciously and successfully synthesized Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. In 1963, a year after graduating from the National College of Arts, Lahore, he joined the faculty as a lecturer in art, later becoming a professor and head of the Department of Fine Arts. His studies abroad have included post-graduate work in London (1966–7, 1968–9) and the United States (1987–9).

Like many of his colleagues, Zahoor was influenced by his mentor, Shakir ‛Ali, principal of the National College of Art from 1961 to 1975. Both artists were motivated by art history, philosophy and aesthetics. Zahoor’s non-figurative paintings of the 1960s evolved into tangible—though not always realistic—images addressing the dualities of space and time, East and West. Most of his triptychs and single canvases were conceived within a grid that provides a stabilizing structure for their compositions. This grid refers to Zahoor’s admiration for the American artist ...

Article

Zayn al-‛Abidin  

Sheila R. Canby

[ Mīr Zayn al-‛Ābidīn Tabrīzī ]

( fl c. Qazvin, 1570–1602).

Persian illustrator, illuminator and calligrapher . The grandson and pupil of Sultan-Muhammad , Zayn al-‛Abidin worked exclusively for royal and noble patrons at the Safavid court in Qazvin ( see Islamic art, §III, 4(vi)(a) ). He contributed an illustration of Nariman Killing the Ruler of China to a copy (London, BL, Or. MS. 12985; fol. 90v) of Asadi’s Gārshāspnāma (‘Book of Garshasp’) produced at Qazvin in 1573 and four paintings to a dispersed copy of the Shāhnāma (‘Book of kings’) made for Isma‛il II (reg 1576–8). The artist’s style is characterized by solid forms, extreme precision and compositions that resemble the style typical of Tabriz in the first half of the 16th century rather than the more mannered one typical of Qazvin in the 1570s. His best known illumination is the splendid signed frontispiece for the unfinished copy (Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 277) of the Shāhnāma, thought to have been commissioned upon the accession of ‛Abbas I in ...

Article

Hashem Muhammad al-Baghdadi  

[Hāshem al-Khaṭṭāṭ]

(b Baghdad, 1917; d Baghdad, 1973).

Iraqi calligrapher. He studied in Baghdad with Mulla ‛Arif and then served an apprenticeship with Mulla Muhammad ‛Ali al-Fadli (d 1948), who awarded him a calligraphy diploma in 1943. In 1944 he continued his studies in Cairo, where he was taught by Sayyid Ibrahim and Muhammad Husni at the Royal Institute of Calligraphy and received further awards. After returning to Baghdad, in 1946 he published a textbook on the riqā‛ style of calligraphy (see Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)(c)). He visited Turkey on several occasions and found favour with the Turkish calligrapher Hamid Aytaç of Istanbul, who awarded him diplomas in 1950 and 1952. In 1960 he was appointed lecturer in Arabic calligraphy at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and later became the head of the department of Arabic calligraphy and Islamic decoration. Hashem followed the classical Baghdad style of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi and combined it with features from the Ottoman school of calligraphy. He was among the best calligraphers of the ...

Article

Ibn al-Bawwab  

[Abū’l-Ḥasan ‛Alī ibn Hilāl al-Bawwāb]

(d Baghdad, 1022).

Arab calligrapher and illuminator. He began as a house decorator but turned to calligraphy and refined the ‘proportioned script’ developed a century earlier by Ibn Muqla, in which letters were measured in terms of dots, circles and semicircles. An intimate of court circles in Baghdad, Ibn al-Bawwab was appointed librarian to the Buyid ruler Baha’ al-Dawla (reg 998–1012) at Shiraz. There Ibn al-Bawwab calligraphed the volume missing from a Koran manuscript penned by his predecessor so perfectly that the patron was unable to distinguish the new work from the original. In addition to an epistle and didactic poem on penmanship, Ibn al-Bawwab is said to have copied 64 manuscripts of the Koran, but only one survives: a manuscript copied at Baghdad in 1000–01 (Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1431). The small volume contains 286 folios (trimmed size 175×135 mm). Each page of text has 15 lines in naskh...

Article

‛Abd al-Hayy  

[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

Yaqut al-Musta‛simi  

Nabil Saidi

[ Jamāl al-Dīn ibn ‛Abdallah al-Mawṣulī Yāqūt al-Musta‛ṣimī ]

(d Baghdad, 1298).

Ottoman calligrapher. Yaqut served as secretary to the last Abbasid caliph, al-Musta‛sim (reg 1242–58), and reportedly survived the sacking of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258 by seeking refuge in a minaret. He perfected the ‘proportioned script’ developed by Ibn Muqla and refined by Ibn al-Bawwab , in which letters were measured in terms of dots, circles and semicircles ( see Islamic art, §III, 2(iii) ). By replacing the straight-cut nib of the reed pen with an obliquely cut one, Yaqut created a more elegant hand. A master of the classical scripts known as the Six Pens (thuluth, naskh, muḥaqqaq, rayḥān, tawqī‛ and riqā‛), he earned the epithets ‘sultan’, ‘cynosure’ and ‘qibla’ of calligraphers. He is said to have copied two manuscripts of the Koran each month, but surviving examples are rare (e.g. 1294; Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., E.H. 74). Despite their small size, a typical folio has 16 lines of delicate ...