The Haft Awrang is a compilation of seven masnavi poems and constitutes the major poetical work of Jami d. Lilly Library, Allen mss. This book is comprised of colored papers often sprinkled with gold dust. The 20 illustrations, however, were probably painted in the late 19th early or early 20th century.

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This book was published with the assistance of the Getty Grant Program and with funds provided by the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Studies Program. Mellon Foundation and generous contributions from private donors. Illumination of books and manuscripts, Iranian. Farhad, Massumeh. S84S56 Manuscript Descriptions and Collation A. Illustrated Manuscripts of the Haft awrang D. Haft awrang Illustrations E.

Despite a century of scholarship, the answers remain elusive. Any contemporary study of painting in Islamic cultures must actually deal with two traditions, one historical, the other historiographic. The first is found in the brilliant remains of one of the most distinctive and least understood of all pictorial traditions — an art practiced from Spain to India with astonishing range and imagination over the last millennium.

The second, more immediate but subject to its own intellectual complexities, is the cumulative legacy of previous scholarship. At any moment, this body of achievement — with its inevitable imperfections and misunderstandings — forms the foundation for all subsequent knowledge.

The interaction of these two traditions shapes all attempts to analyze the forms and dynamics of Persian painting. And progress can be made only by both acknowledging the achievements and defining the limitations of past scholarship.

Sackler Gallery. In reexamining a critical moment in the history of painting under the Safavid dynasty — , her goal has been to restore awareness of these paintings as parts of books, not as independent works of art. The result is a work that both complements and extends the last major study of Safavid painting, the monumental Houghton Shahnameh, written by Martin Dickson and Stuart Cary Welch and published in This book is part of a series of scholarly publications devoted to the permanent collections of the Freer and Sackler Galleries made possible by funding through an endowment for publications.

This endowment was initially established by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Simpson to complete her research for the book. One of the highlights of the exhibition was to be the deluxe manuscript commonly known as the Freer Jami — a copy of the Haft awrang of AbduhRahman Jami made for the Safavid prince Sultan Ibrahim Mirza. The necessity of having to write an exhibition label led me to examine the Freer Jami and the literature surrounding it at that time.

This first, rather straightforward encounter initiated a research project lasting well over a decade. I also would like to express my gratitude to Glenn D. Lowry, curator of Islamic art at the Freer and Sackler from to , for his support of my proposal to publish a monograph on the Freer Jami, and to Thomas W. Lentz, deputy director, for his counsel and assistance in bringing the project to completion.

I am also pleased to acknowledge the generous award from the Smithsonian Institution through its Scholarly Studies Program during the time I served as curator of Islamic Near Eastern art at the Freer and Sackler Galleries and continuing to This book was published with the assistance of the Getty Grant Program. As with so many studies of Persian manuscripts, the Freer Jami project necessitated research at the Topkapi Sarayi Miizesi in Istanbul. Words cannot express my deep appeciation to Filiz gagman, head of the Topkapi library, as well as to Zeren Tanindi and Banu Mahir, former library assistants, for countless courtesies and gracious assistance before, during, and after various visits to Istanbul.

Many other colleagues and friends within the ranks of Islamic and Persian art history have been extremely helpful, critical, and supportive. Robinson, Michael Rogers, A.

Houghton, Farzad Rastegar, Abolala Soudavar, Friedrich Spuhler, and Nourollah Elghanayan for allowing me to study and publish works of art in their collections. The specifics are recorded in Chapters Two and Three. The full implications for my hypotheses and conclusions about the Freer Jami will be taken up in a subsequent study.

I am especially grateful to Jerome W. Clinton for his assistance with the Haftawrang text at an early phase in the project and to Wheeler M. Thackston for his critical review of the Divans by Sultan Ibrahim Mirza and for his good-natured advice and thoughtful commentary on a myriad of issues, from the translation of mystical poems to the customs of yogurt-making and sheep-herding.

This project also has depended on the participation of a series of dedicated research assistants whom it is a great pleasure to thank publicly here. Rita Offer prepared synopses of the Haft awrang masnavis and drew together a great deal of important material on the life and poetry of Abdul- Rahman Jami and on the Safavid period.

Marjan Adib checked the Persian inscriptions and transliterations as well as numerous details in the chapters, footnotes, appendices, and references. Sharon Littlefield helped assemble the photographs, prepare the captions, and review the copy- edited text.

Her many suggestions, unfailing tact, and good cheer have been indispensable, and I am proud to acknowledge her invalu- able contributions on the title page of this book.

I am also indebted for technical support to Curtis Millay, who has the amazing ability to make the development of indices and other automated aids seem like fun. My thanks, too, to Michelle Smith, who prepared the index. There I benefited enormously from stimulating discussions about art history, historiography, and method- ology with Henry A. Professor Millon has been the best possible colleague, constantly guiding and goading me toward the completion of this research project. I hope that, if nothing else, my study will answer his incredulity about the manufacture of inlaid paper.

I am also grateful to the Center for Advanced Study for support for my travel and other research needs, and to the Board of Advisors of the Center and the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery for the award of a Board of Advisors Sabbatical Fellowship in — I would like to thank Gary Vikan and my other new colleagues at the Walters Art Gallery for their interest in this project as it wound its way to completion.

The final preparation of the book for publication involved considerable editorial intervention, first by Kathleen Preciado, who labored mightily to control the text, and then by Ann Hofstra Grogg, whose meticulous care instilled order and consistency. General editorial direction has been provided by Karen Sagstetter, editor in chief for the Freer and Sackler Galleries, whom I would like to thank for her willingness to undertake this project and for her forbearance during the pro- tracted editorial and publication process.

I am equally grateful to John Nicoll of Yale University Press and to designer-extraordinaire Derek Birdsall for their imaginative and sensitive response to both manuscript and monograph. Finally, I would like to express my eternal gratitude to Richard L.

Kagan for his patience and sagacity during the many years in which the Freer Jami occupied our shared study, and to Loren Simpson Kagan for the countless questions that have made me more aware of those features — such as polychrome mountains and high-spirited horses — that give the Haft awrang made for Sultan Ibrahim Mirza much of its enduring appeal.

Place names are given in their gem erally accepted English spellings. Foreign words are italicized at their first usage only. A glossary of frequently used foreign terms follows the appendices at the end of the book. Historical events and dated works of art are cited according to the hegira hijra calendrical system a. The works of art discussed here include calligraphies, manuscript illustrations, and album paintings. Dimensions are cited in centimeters; height precedes width.

The concordance to reproductions guides the reader to the various appearances of the same work of art. A map of Safavid Iran appears on page Endnotes appear within chapters, at the end of each section. Citations to manuscript folio numbers should be understood as Persian is read — right to left. The page grid of this book is based on that of the Freer Jami, and the typeface, Monotype Poliphilus, is based on a type first used in an edition of Hypnoerotamachia Poliphili, printed and published by Aldus Manutius in Venice, The gokhflecked pages that appear as chapter dividers are reproductions of folio a of the Freer Jami.

Ibrahim Mirza consigned the transcription of the poetic text to at least five court calligraphers, who spent the next nine years on this task. In its present form the volume is only slightly different from what Sultan Ibrahim Mirza must have originally possessed. Its binding, first text folio, and initial illuminated heading have been replaced. Two folios, one illustrated, have been removed, perhaps along with one or more double pages of illuminated front matter.

Modern flyleaves have been added at the beginning and end, and interleaves have been inserted between many folios. Despite these lacunae, substitutions, and additions, the Haft awrang of Sultan Ibrahim Mirza remains today a masterpiece of the Islamic arts of the book and, since , one of the treasures of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.

The renown of the Freer Jami as it is commonly called has ensured its appearance in all surveys of Iranian painting and a central place in studies of Safavid art. The connoisseurship of these paintings remains a compelling concern. Yet a discriminating patron such as Sultan Ibrahim Mirza must have valued his Haft awrang for its complete contents and not simply the superb pictorial compositions.

To capture this original value, the manuscript should be considered in its poetic and artistic entirety. Initially it was tempting to present the Freer Jami as a work of art belonging to one person and to place it primarily within the context of the artistic patronage of Sultan Ibrahim Mirza. Certainly it is important to understand why Ibrahim Mirza wanted a deluxe volume of the Haft awrang and why he went to considerable effort to possess one.


Folio from a Haft awrang (Seven thrones) by Jami (d. 1492)



Haft Awrang


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