Minister cuts ribbon on new miniature museum 

June 5, 2022 - 22:2

TEHRAN – Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami on Thursday inaugurated a new miniature museum in Tabriz, northwest Iran. 

The museum has put on show 111 rare artworks belonging to the Tabriz school of art, CHTN reported on Sunday.

Illuminated folios from manuscripts of the Shahnameh, the epic masterpiece of Ferdowsi, and some calligraphy, mostly dating from the Safavid era (1501-1736) constitute the highlights of the museum, the report said.   

The museum, located in the historical Hariri mansion, also displays artworks of prominent Safavid-era miniaturists such as Sultan Mohammad and Kamaleddin Behzad. 

Furthermore,  a temporary exhibition has been set up in the Museum to introduce the Hariri mansion, which has been inscribed on the national heritage list, its architectural features, the restoration process, and the Hariri family.

Tabriz school in miniature painting was founded by the Ilkhanian-Mongols early in the 14th century and active through the first half of the 16th century. According to Britannica, the style represented the first full penetration of East Asian traditions into Islamic painting, an influence that was extreme at first but then blended with the native idiom.

The early works of the Tabriz school were characterized by light, feathery brushstrokes, gentle rather than bright Persian coloring, and an attempt to create the illusion of spatiality. 

The Tabriz school reached its apogee just as the Ilkhans were being vanquished by the Timurids (1370–1506), the dynasty of the Turkic conqueror Timur. The school continued to be active in this period, though it was overshadowed by the workshops in Shiraz and Heart. When the Safavids came to power at the beginning of the 16th century, however, the ruler Shah Esmail brought the master of the Heart school, Behzad, to Tabriz, and the school was revived with a radical change in style. 

The figures were individuals rather than types, and the colors were graded in marvelously subtle shades. Following the removal of the Safavid court from Tabriz, the school began to decline, and the Qazvin and Isfahan schools then became the centers of painting in Iran.

Soaked in history and culture for millennia, Tabriz embraces several historical and religious sites, including the Jameh Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and UNESCO-registered Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex to name a few. The city became the capital of the Mongol Il-Khan Mahmud Gazan (1295–1304) and his successor. Timur (Tamerlane), a Turkic conqueror, took it in 1392. Some decades later the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen made it their capital, it was when the famous Blue Mosque was built in Tabriz.

The city retained its administrative status under the Safavid dynasty until 1548 when Shah Tahmasp I relocated his capital westward to Qazvin. During the next two centuries, Tabriz changed hands several times between Persia and Ottoman Empire. During World War I, the city was temporarily occupied by Turkish and then Soviet troops.


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