Persian Painting: The Arts of the Book and Portraiture
Serious study of Persian paintings began only recently and is primarily limited to a few specialists. Middle Eastern states are now making serious efforts to preserve their history and heritage, thus generating more interest in the Eastern arts. This book serves as a catalogue of the private al-Sabah collection in Kuwait. The collection consists of rare illustrated and illuminated bound Persian manuscripts, miniature paintings, detached folios, and oil paintings spanning from the eleventh to early twentieth century. While most of the works are published for the first time, most of them are well-known to experts.
The works are chronologically arranged starting from the pre-Mongol period which starts from the 9th century onward when the Eastern provinces broke away from the Caliphate in Baghdad. The Mongol period starts with a wave of Mongol invasions and culminated with the fall of Baghdad in 1258. Works covered from this period are primarily from the 13th and 14th century covering the tastes and innovations of the Ilkhanids. The Timurid period spans the 15th century. The Safavid period is the longest and most recent spanning from the early 16th century to the 19th century. Each chapter begins with an overview of the artistic styles and development of the period, followed by detailed explanations of the various works from that period. The book provides readers with vibrant full-page colored reproductions as well as high-resolution magnifications of details when it is part of that work’s discussion.
As the work draws from a single collection, it is not possible to provide a comprehensive historical survey given the gaps inherent in a single collection. However it is possible for readers to piece together a trajectory of the artistic development of Persian paintings from the 9th to the 19th century. Discussion of the individual works is likely to be of interest to specialists, but the overview of the period is more likely appeal to a wider audience. The work’s main appeal is most likely to be the high quality reproductions from the al-Sabah collection.
Adel T. Adamova • Manijeh Bayani
Thames & Hudson