An Illuminated Manuscript from Late Fourteenth-Century Shiraz in the Bodleian Library
- Manuscript Studies: A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 5, Number 2, Fall 2020
- pp. 254-283
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Islamic manuscript illumination production in the eastern Iranian city of Shiraz in the late fourteenth century marked an aesthetic sea-change from mid-fourteenth-century styles that were characterized by polychrome palettes and thick, gold strapwork. The new style of illumination, which was produced under the Muzaffarid dynasty (1314–93), was distinguished by the dominance of deep blue pigments as well as black and gold and the use of minute floral sprays and 'baroque- edged' inscribed cartouches. This profound visual shift eventually developed into the elaborate styles of Timurid, Turcoman and Safavid illumination of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries onwards and is thus of central importance to the history of the Islamic arts of the book. This article builds upon existing scholarship by bringing to light an illuminated manuscript from late fourteenth-century Shiraz that is currently unknown to scholarship. This manuscript – an undated copy of the Kulliyat (Collection) of the Shirazi author Saʿdi (d. 1291) – is richly illuminated and is thus a significant addition to the body of known material from the region. The article gives an account of the political and artistic contexts in which the manuscript was produced before providing a brief overview of known contemporary manuscript material. After an examination of the manuscript itself, the article highlights its visual links to other Muzaffarid and early Timurid material, in an effort to narrow the possible date range of production. Finally, in an effort to advance the general study of Muzaffarid manuscripts and the late medieval Islamic arts of the book, all but one of the article's reproductions have never before been published.