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Islamic dynasty that ruled 1169–1252 in Egypt, 1180s–1260 in Syria and south-east Anatolia, and 1174–1229 in the Yemen, with minor branches continuing until the end of the 15th century. The Ayyubids were the Kurdish clan brought to power in 1169 by Salah al-Din (Saladin; reg 1169–93) and his nephew Shirkuh when they occupied Egypt on behalf of the Zangid family ruler of Damascus, Nur al-Din (reg 1146–74). Shirkuh soon died, and Salah al-Din became master of Egypt. He ended the Shi‛ite Fatimid dynasty of Egypt in 1171 and brought Aleppo and Damascus under his control in 1183 and 1186. Salah al-Din is best known in both East and West as a tireless foe of the crusaders, and for his liberation of Jerusalem in 1187. The Ayyubid lands were governed by leading members of his family. The sultan ruling in Cairo was paramount, and Damascus was the second capital, but Ayyubid possessions extended to the Yemen and into Anatolia. The counter-crusade continued throughout the Ayyubid period; notable is the failed treaty between al-Malik al-Kamil (...



E. R. Salmanov and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair

[anc. Athropatena, Azarbaijan]

Transcaucasian republic on the west side of the Caspian Sea, bounded by the Dagestan republic of the Russian Federation to the north, the Republic of Georgia and the Republic of Armenia to the west, and Caucasus Mountains to the north and west (see fig.). Armenian territories separate the region of Nakhchyvan from the rest of Azerbaijan. To the south, the Araks River (anc. Araxes) forms the border with Iran. The capital, Baku, is a natural port on the Absheron Peninsula of the Caspian coast. Other major towns are Gandja, Shamakhy, Quba, Shaki, Qazakh, Lankaran, Nakhchyvan, in the centre of Nakhchyvan region, and Khankandi, in the centre of Daghly Qarabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) district.

Azerbaijan is located on the principal route from Europe to Asia along the Caspian Sea. Its origins date from the 5th century bc, when it was the 11th district of a Persian empire dominated by Caspian tribes (Herodotus III.93). At the beginning of the Christian era, the kingdom known as Albania by the Greeks was formed by tribes that were probably of Indo-European origin, to judge from the white skin indicated by the name ‘Albanian’. They lived along the Kura and Arax rivers (Strabo: ...


Mirza Baba  

[Mīrzā Bābā]

(fl c. 1795–1830).

Persian painter. Reportedly a native of Isfahan, he was employed by the Qajar family at Astarabad, as indicated by a signed drawing of a dragon and phoenix (1788–9; ex-Pozzi priv. col.). After Agha Muhammad (reg 1779–97) ascended the throne, Mirza Baba worked at the Qajar court in Tehran in a wide variety of materials, techniques and scales. His oil portrait (1789–90; Tehran, Nigaristan Mus.) of the Sasanian king Hurmuzd IV (reg ad 579–90) probably belonged to a series of historical portraits, for Mirza Baba painted a second series a decade later. One of the two surviving paintings from the later series (Tehran, A. H. Ibtihaj priv. col.) shows the Saljuq ruler Malikshah (reg 1072–92) with his two ministers. Other early works by Mirza Baba include a still-life with pomegranates, watermelon and flowers (?1793–4; Tehran, Nigaristan Mus.) and an arched panel showing Shirin Visiting Farhad as He Carves Mt Bisitun...


Badr al-Din Lu’lu’  

[Badr al-Dīn Lu’lu’]

Ruler of Mosul from 1222 to 1259. He was a freed slave, as his name Lu’lu’ (‘Pearl’) indicates, and became regent (Turk. atabeg) for the last members of the Zangid family dynasty in Mosul in 1210. After the last Zangid died in 1222, the Abbasid caliph recognized Badr al-Din as ruler with the title al-Malik al-Rahim. Throughout his reign he sided with the Ayyubid princes in wars against his local rivals, but he died shortly after the Mongol invasion. Badr al-Din fortified Mosul and built religious structures and caravanserais throughout his domain. The Sinjar Gate, bearing his blazon and inscription, survived until the early 20th century, and remains of his palace in Mosul, known as Qara Saray (1233–59), existed until the 1980s. Built in traditional brick techniques, its rich stucco interior decoration featured muqarnas, large inscriptions in cursive script, arabesques and friezes of busts alternating with spread-winged eagles. The shrines of ‛Awn al-Din (...


Badran, Rasim  

Yasir Sakr

(b Jerusalem, 1945).

Jordanian architect . He graduated from Darmstadt University in 1970. Badran’s career is marked by three distinct phases of development, all of which express his capacity for lucid visualization. In his early formalist phase his work reflected modernist inclinations. Committed to a utopian social vision, in each of his designs Badran proposed a redefinition of form, social function and associated modes of behaviour. This phase is exemplified by a low-cost housing project in Bonn (1972) and Handal’s Residence (1975) in Amman. In his second phase his works reflected historicist tendencies by drawing on traditional images for collective communication, for example Queen Alia neighbourhood (1982) in Amman and the Justice Palace Complex (1984) in Riyadh. Badran’s work further evolved into a third stage, a dialectic between modernism and traditionalism, expressed through metaphors operating at two levels. Sensory metaphors present tectonic and iconographic analogies with natural forms and historical artefacts, adapting the designed space-form to its immediate regional setting. Cognitive metaphors endeavour to establish conceptual analogies with the ordering principles and relationships that underlie tradition, through the overall configuration of the design. The third phase of Badran’s career is characterized by a winning entry for the international competition of the State Mosque (...


Baer, Eva  

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Berlin, 20 Feb. 1920).

Israeli historian of Islamic art. Forced to emigrate from Nazi Germany in 1938, Baer spent the years of World War II in Palestine. She received her B.A. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and met and married Gabriel Baer (1919–82), an historian of modern Egypt. She earned her Ph.D. in 1965 from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She then returned to Jerusalem, where she served as Curator of the L. A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art. In 1970 she began teaching at Tel Aviv University, from which she retired as professor in 1987. Baer lectured and taught at museums and universities throughout Europe and the USA. Her major publications focused on the history of Islamic metalwork and the iconography of Islamic art.

E. Baer: Sphinxes and Harpies in Medieval Islamic Art: An Iconographical Study (Jerusalem, 1965)E. Baer: Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art...



[ Baghdād]

Capital city of Iraq. Located on both banks of the Tigris River in central Iraq, the city was founded in ad 762 near several earlier settlements dating back to the 3rd millennium bc. The site marks the closest approach (c. 60 km) of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers before their eventual confluence in southern Iraq. In ad 750 the Abbasid caliphs (reg 749–1258) abandoned the Umayyad capital at Damascus for Mesopotamia but made several false starts in finding an acceptable site for a new capital: the first choice, named al-Hashimiyya, was located between Kufa and Baghdad, a second was located at al-Anbar on the left bank of the Euphrates and a third was near Kufa. The caliph al-Mansur (reg 754–75) selected another site on the west bank of the Tigris not far from the ancient Seleucid and Sasanian capitals of Seleucia-on-the-Tigris and Ctesiphon. He named his new capital Madinat al-Salam (Arab.: ‘City of peace’), although it continued to be known as Baghdad in popular usage. Al-Mansur and his court occupied the city in ...


Bahmani family  

R. Nath


Dynasty that ruled portions of southern India from 1347 to 1527. ‛Ala al-Din Hasan Bahman (reg 1347–58) threw off the administrative control that the Tughluq dynasty had exerted in the Deccan and established the Bahmani kingdom with its capital at Gulbarga. Hasan Bahman was followed by Muhammad I (reg 1358–75), who streamlined the administration and raised a number of buildings, notably the Jami‛ Masjid at Gulbarga. From 1375 to 1397 there was a succession of five rulers; the notable monuments of this time are the royal tombs at Gulbarga known as Haft Gumbaz. Taj al-Din Firuz (reg 1397–1422) brought stability to the Bahmani dynasty. Firuz was a noted patron of the arts and founded a city called Firuzabad on the Bhima River. His reign was marked by an influx of Persians, Arabs and Turks from West Asia and the emergence of an eclectic Deccani culture. The friction between the immigrants and native Deccanis (both colonists from Delhi and local converts to Islam) was a source of tension at court....


Bahrain, State of  

[Arab. Dawlat al-Baḥrayn; anc. Dilmun, Tilmun, Gr. Tylos]

Independent state in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, comprising an archipelago of low-lying islands. The capital, Manama, is on the main island, also known as Bahrain. Bahrain Island is c. 586 sq. km in area and consists mostly of sand-covered limestone, with a fertile strip in the north and oases fed by natural springs. The discovery of oil in 1932 transformed Bahrain’s revenues, replacing pearls as its main export. Many of the islands are linked by causeways, including one between Bahrain Island and Muharraq Island, and a major causeway (1986) links Bahrain with Saudi Arabia. The indigenous population (c. 500,000) consists mainly of Shi‛a and Sunni Muslims. From the 3rd millennium bc to the mid-1st Bahrain can be identified as Dilmun, a powerful trading centre between the east (e.g. Iran, the Indus Valley) and Mesopotamia, with a colony on Failaka Island (Kuwait) from c. 2000 bc. Islam came to Bahrain ...


Bahrami, Mehdi  

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. 1905; d. Hamburg, 1951).

Iranian scholar of Persian art. After graduating from the Dar al-Moallemin in Tehran in 1931, he worked at the court of Riza Pahlavi (r. 1925–41) until 1934, when he was sent to study art and archaeology in Europe. There, he studied at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and under Ernst Kühnel at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in Berlin. In 1937 he received his doctorate and returned to Tehran, where he specialized in the study of Islamic pottery at the Archaeological Museum and taught at the University. He was later appointed chief curator and then director of the museum. In 1948 he helped organize the Iranian exhibition at the Musée Cernuschi to coordinate with the XXI International Congress of Orientalists in Paris; in the following year, on the occasion of the Shah’s state visit to the USA, he brought an exhibition of Iranian art to New York (Met.) and Boston (Mus. F.A.)....



A. G. Gertsen

[Turk. Baghče sarǎy: ‘Garden palace’]

Ukrainian city in the Crimea, 35 km north-east of Sevastopol, which was the capital of the Tatar in the Crimea throughout the rule of the Giray dynasty (c. 1423–1783). It developed from an important burial ground of the Giray khans, but the Garden Palace (1503–19), founded by Khan Mengli Giray I (reg 1466–1514 with interruptions) and covering over 4 ha in the valley of the River Churuk-Su, represents the historical core of the city. The earliest structure is the Demirkap (‘Iron gate’) with an inscription referring to Mengli Giray and the date 1503. It is thought to be by the Italian architect Aleviz Novy or Aloisio (fl early 16th century), builder of the cathedral of the Archangel Michael (wooden church, 1333; rebuilt 1505–8) in the Moscow Kremlin. Little is known of the layout of the palace in the 16th and 17th centuries as it was badly damaged by fire in ...



E. R. Salmanov

[ Bākū]

Capital city of Azerbaijan. Located on the western shores of the Caspian Sea on the Apsheron Peninsula, Baku is largely built from the limestone that covers the peninsula. The oldest signs of habitation are the White Stones, remains of a cromlech and cylindrical mounds from the Bronze Age in the settlement of Shuvelyan near the city. The oldest monument within the town is the Maiden’s Tower (5th–6th century ad; rest. 12th century), which may have originally been a fortress, temple or fortified residence. Numerous ceramic sherds and coins dating from the 8th and 9th centuries attest to the existence of a large settlement, known in written sources as a centre for the extraction of petroleum used for lighting, medicine and military purposes.

The town developed in a dense oval settlement around the Maiden’s Tower. In the 11th century it was surrounded by powerful fortified walls incorporating a strong citadel; according to an inscription, construction was completed under the Shirvanshah ruler ...



John Seyller


(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...


Balconies in Islamic architecture  

Margaret Graves

A platform projecting from a wall, above ground level, enclosed by a railing or balustrade, supported on brackets or columns or cantilevered from the wall. Balconies merge interior and exterior spaces and they are naturally a common architectural feature of warmer countries, many of them Islamic. Wooden balconies projecting at upper levels and constructed with latticed screens to ensure privacy but allow air circulation were a feature of Islamic domestic architecture in many countries, and specific types developed in particular areas over time, such as the wooden screen known as mashrabiyya in Egypt and the shanashil in Iraq (see Housing and Vernacular architecture §II 7.). Balconies were also employed in mosques, such as the royal boxes (Turk. hünkâr mahfili) in Ottoman architecture (see Maqṣūra), or that in the Bara Gunbad complex at Delhi (1494). The jharokhā, a screened balcony above the entrance, was used for royal appearances in palaces (e.g. ...



City in northern Afghanistan, believed to be the site of Bactra, capital of ancient Bactria, and a major city in the province of Khurasan during the Islamic period. Located on a fertile plain, Balkh commanded trade routes between India, China, Turkestan and Iran. It was already a wealthy city under the Achaemenid dynasty (538–331 bc) and a centre of Zoroastrianism. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, it became important under the Bactrian monarchies (323–87 bc) and then under the Kushana and Hephthalites, and it was a Buddhist centre. The most substantial remains from the early periods are the mud ramparts, which stand more than 20 m at several places. The circular plan around the citadel (modern Bala-Hisar) may date back as far as the Achaemenid period. The only other monuments to survive from the pre-Islamic period are four Buddhist stupas. That excavated at Tepe Rustam in the south of the city is the most monumental found north of the Hindu Kush (platform 54 m on a side; cylindrical dome 47 m in diameter; total height ...


Baltrušaitis, Jurgis, II  

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....


Balyan family  

Godfrey Goodwin


Armenian family of Ottoman architects. Trained in Europe, they designed palaces, mosques, barracks and police stations in a Europeanizing style for Ottoman patrons in and near Istanbul during the 19th century and the early 20th (see Islamic art, §ii, 7(i)(b)). Two sons of Krikor Amira Balyan were active as architects: Senekerim Amira Balyan (b c. 1798; d Jerusalem, 2 July 1833), who built the Fire Tower (1828) beyond the parade ground (now the garden of Istanbul University), and Garabed Amira Balyan. Five of Garabed’s sons were also architects: Nikoğos Bey Balyan, Sarkis Bey Balyan, Agop [Hagop] Bey Balyan (b 1835; d 12 Nov 1875), Simon Bey Balyan (b Istanbul, Feb 1846; d Istanbul, 21 Dec 1894) and Levon Balyan (b Istanbul, 1855; d Paris 1925). Agop collaborated with Sarkis on the Aksaray Valide Mosque (1871) and the palace at Beylerbeyi (...



Abbas Daneshvari

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 (ad 224–632) and flourished until the 18th century; its ruins stand 0.5 km east of the present town of Bam, founded in 1860. On 26 December 2003, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the city, claiming more than 40,000 lives and destroying over 70% of the buildings. Most of the mud-brick remains of the old city date from the 16th century and later, but they give the best impression available of a medieval Iranian provincial town (see fig.; see also Islamic art, §II, 10(ii)). The site is roughly rectangular (300×425 m) with a citadel in the north-west corner. A vaulted bazaar runs from the main south gate to the foot of the citadel, where there is a large open square flanked by stables; to the west of the square is a caravanserai, a two-storey building with a central court. Within the citadel are the remains of the governor’s residence, his reception room and an open rectangle, which was used in the 19th century for the storage of artillery. A congregational mosque of the standard Iranian type, with four iwans facing a central courtyard, is towards the south-east corner of the site, and to its north are a dozen large mansions built for rich merchants. Their public and private quarters, arranged in two storeys around a central court, are decorated with recesses and mouldings; the service areas with stables and kitchens are plainer. In the north-west section of the site, behind the citadel, are smaller houses, perhaps built for peasants, with individual rooms on one or two sides of a courtyard....


Bangladesh, People’s Republic of  

Perween Hasan and Hameeda Hossain

Country in the north-east of the Indian subcontinent, bounded in the south by the Bay of Bengal, on the south-east by Burma (Myanmar) and on all other sides by India. Although a small country of 144,000 sq. km, it supports a population of 147 million (2006 estimate). The region formed part of British India, and in 1947, on partition of the subcontinent at the time of independence, it became East Pakistan. In 1971, following civil war with West Pakistan, it established itself as the independent state of Bangladesh with its capital at Dhaka (Dacca). This entry focuses mainly on the art produced in the country since 1971. For art of the area in earlier times see appropriate sections of Indian subcontinent and entries for Dhaka, Gaur and Rajshahi.

Perween Hasan

In terms of geography, much of Bangladesh is a vast delta traversed by numerous rivers (see fig.). The climate is monsoonal, with high humidity throughout the year. Coastal areas are particularly susceptible to cyclonic storms. Of the population, 98% are ...



[Bāqir; Muhammad Baqir; Muḥammad Bāqir]

(fl c. 1800–30).

Persian painter in enamels. All of his known work was made for the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834). Like ‛Ali, he signed his work with the title ghulām khānazād (‘slave born in the household’), signifying ‘artist in the royal service’. Baqir painted a fine gold bowl and cover, saucer and spoon, which is enamelled with astrological figures and a poetic dedication to Fath ‛Ali Shah (priv. col., see Robinson, 1991, fig.). Several other objects enamelled by Baqir, such as an oval snuff-box with a portrait of the seated King and a teapot with busts of Fath ‛Ali Shah and floral swags and a dedication to the King, are part of the Iranian crown jewels (Tehran, Bank Markazi, Crown Jewels Col.). His style is similar to that of ‛Ali and is notable for its delicate execution and brilliant colour (see Islamic art, §VIII, 3). Baqir is probably the Muhammad Baqir who, together with ...