Friday, August 29, 2008

Persian Miniatures

A Persian miniature is a small painting, whether a book illustration or a separate work of art. Each miniature has a story behind it. I'll talk about the story of this one (see below). Miniature painting became a significant Persian form in the 13th century, and the highest point in the tradition was reached in the 15th and 16th centuries. I took the above photo when I was visiting Tous Museum. It was one of the several miniatures kept there. There are also some other miniatures in Astan Quds Museum that mostly belong to Mr. Farshchian.

Arash is a heroic archer-figure of Iranian oral tradition and folklore. The basic story of the bowman runs as follows: In a war between the Iranians and the Un-Iranians over the "royal glory", the two sides agree to make peace. Both reach an agreement that whatever land falls within the range of a bow-shot shall be returned to the Iranians, and the rest should then fall to the Aniranians. Arash is asked to be the archer. He fires the specially-prepared arrow at dawn, which then traveled a great distance before finally landing and so marking the future border between the Iranians and the Aniranians.

Mahmoud Farshchian is the most prominent modernizer of the field of Persian miniatures. Please visit his personal website to view his works. I'm sure you'll love it.