This page comes from a manuscript whose size, scale, and quality make it one of the most luxurious Islamic books ever created—a now-dispersed copy of the Shahnama made for Shah Tahmasp (r. 1524–76) in his capital, Tabriz, in northwestern Iran. The manuscript originally included innumerable illuminations; more than one thousand pages of text, all with gold-flecked borders; and 258 illustrations, which use formalized conventions to depict a type of idealized world first perfected in Persian painting more than a century earlier. Here the rich colors of the costumes and the architectural decoration, the sedate poses of the figures, and the carefully contrived landscape and gold sky create a most suitable, if unreal, setting for a royal audience.More...
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