THE ILKHANIDS (MONGOLS)
The nomadic and militant Mongols swept across Central Asia, pillaging and conquering. They destroyed Bagdad in 1258, initiating a period of unrest. The Mongols adopted Islam towards the end of the 13th century and established an empire with its capital in Tabriz. Known as Il-Khans --subordinates to the Great Khan, Mongol ruler or China; their dynasty the Ilkhanids. The rulers assembled a brilliant community of scholars and artists. Art continues many Islamic forms, but the direct contacts of the Mongols with the Orient produces a distinctive aesthetic.
Sack of Baghdad by the Mongols illustrated
in a late 14th century manuscript of The Compendium of Histories
Painting of the City of Sultaniya from Matrakei Nasuh, Bayan-imanazil
Tabriz, Citadel, Mosque of Alishah, c.
*Natanz, Shrine of 'Abd al-Samad 1299-1312
Varamin, Congregational Mosque, begun 1322
Yazd, Congregational Mosque, begun 1325; tilework late 14th century
Isfahan, Imamzada Ja'far, 1325
*Mausoleum of Uljaytu, Sultaniya, 1307-17
Stucco mihrab added to the Congregational Mosque at Isfahan
Examples of tilework from architecture
Examples of metalwork, woodworking, pottery.
Monumental Koran manuscripts made for Uljaytu's mausoleum, 1306-13
Epistles of the Sincere Brethren
(Rasa'il ikhwan al-safa), Baghdad, 1287
Author portrait, style continues the Baghdad school, compare Maqamat ms.
Benefits of Animals (Manafi al-hayavan) by Ibn Bakhtishu, 1297 or 1299
Vestiges of the Past (Athar al-baqiya) by Al Biruni, 1307-8
*Compendium of Histories (Jami al-tawarikh) by Rashid al-Din, c. 1315
*Great Mongol (Demotte) Shah Nameh,
1335, probably made for Ghiyath al-Din. Today split up among many
Isfandiyar Approaching Gushtasp
Rustam Shooting an Arrow into Isfandiyar's Eye
Bringing of Isfandiyar=s Bier
Rustam Slaying Shaghad
Alexander Fights the Habash Monster
Alexander's Iron Cavalry
Alexander Arrives at the Talking Tree
Picture of the Bier of Alexander
Bahram Gur Killing a Dragon
Bahram Gur Fighting a Wolf
Mihran Sitad Selecting a Chinese Princess
Ardashir Battling Bahman
Kalila wa Dimna, 1422, cut apart and put into an album for the Safavid ruler Shah Tahmasp, now in Istanbul.
The Mongol empire split into smaller states, the Jalayirids controlled northwestern Iran and Iraq from 1336-1432. Manuscript painting flourished in Baghdad during the reign of Ahmad Jalayir, when the poetic and lyrical style typical of Persian painting was created.
Mystic Landscape, 14th century
A Princely Couple, c. 1400
*Diwan (Anthology) of Khwaju Kirmani,
Combat of Humay and Humayun
Humay on the Day After His Wedding Has Gold Coins Poured Over Him as He Leaves
Prince Humay at the Gate of Humayun's Castle
Diwan of Sultan Ahman Jalayir, 1403
Margins contain line drawings in the style made famous by 'Abd al-Hayy (as described
by Dust Mohammad, an artist and chronicler of the 16th century)
Study Question: Analyze an illustration from the Great Mongol Shahnameh. Compare text and image.
Consult O. Grabar and S. Blair, Epic
Images and Contemporary History or the
Princeton Shah Nameh Project , a massive web site that contains hundreds of illustrations of the Shah Nameh as well as a translation of the entire huge text (under Warner text). The New Ilkhanid section includes all the illustrations or the Great Mongol Shah Nameh.