The Evolution of Persian Painting

The McGill Library Collection contains more than fifty Persian miniatures in addition to several dozen illuminated and/or illustrated Persian manuscripts dating from between the thirteenth and the twentieth century CE. The oldest example of Persian painting in the collection is the miniature of two ibex from Ibn Bakhtīshūʿ’s treatise on the usefulness of animals, the Manāfiʿ-i ḥayavān. This painting was likely executed circa 1300 CE, only a few decades after the Mongol conquest of Iran and overthrow of the ‘Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad in 1258 CE. Indeed, the Mongol conquest of the eastern lands of the Islamic Middle East constitutes a watershed moment in the history of Persian painting. The Mongol courts introduced new techniques and elements—many originating from Chinese painting—into the Islamic-Persianate tradition. Throughout the Medieval Period, the princely courts of Iran and Central Asia remained enthusiastic patrons of the arts, allowing important schools of miniature painting with their own distinctive styles to develop in the cities of Shiraz, Tabriz and Herat in particular. Famed painters, such as Bihzād of Herat and his pupils, sought to incorporate detailed scenes from daily life along with their representations of great scenes from history and epic poetry. The arts of the book, including painting, continued to evolve and flourish under the Safavid Dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1501 to 1722 CE.

Displaying 1-5 of 5 images
records per page