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جمعه 22 آذر 1398
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The Art and Architecture of Qajar

 After the disastrous reign of Safi, the grandson of Abbas I who have passed his early years within the harem, the rule of Shah Abbas II from 1052-1072/1642-1666 reflected aspects of that of Abbas I in his efficient government, aspects of openness to European influenced whole hearted indulgence in the pleasures of life. In the late century the economy, which hit her to had prospered, began to decline, a factor in this trend being the diminished importance of the overland silk route following the development of sea trade by the European powers.

A terrible blow was struck in 1135/1722 Mir Vays, an Afghan tribal leader of Qandahar, had declared his independence; his son, Mir Mahmud, invaded Persia and after a siege of seven month captured Isfahan. Safavid rule was in effect brought to and end but the struggle to restore Tahmsb II to power was carried on by a member of the Sunni Afshar tribe. When the Shah had proved incompetent and his infant son had died, the Afshar himself accepted rule in 1149/1736e taking the name of Nadir Shah. Nadir Shah went on the offensive, retook Qandahar and in 1152/1739 sacked Delhi.

He then lapsed into despotic rule, and was assassinated in 1160/ 1747 from the ensuing chaos there emerged Karim Khan Zand,a feudal lord in Fars.

He ruled the greater part of Persia from 1164 to 1193 to (1750/1779). His successors contested the country with Agha Mohammad of the Qajars, whose powerbase was in the more prosperous north Persia, and lost. Agha Mohammad, a eunuch, was followed in 1212/1797 by his nephew Fath Ali Shah, who, though his imagination was stirred by the glories of pre-Islamic Sassanids Persia, was obliged to cede Armenia to Russia by the treaty of Turkmanchay. The late Qajar was marked by ever-increasiring European influence, as shown by the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1325/1907 which asserted to spheres of interest in the country. In 1344/1925 the Qajars were displaced by the Pahlavis, who rule until 1400/1979.

The study and appreciation of Persian lacquer work is of relatively recent origin of the revival of interest ¡n late Safavid, Zand and Qajar. Persian lacquer work is formed as small-scale watercolor painting on layered pasted paper, wood or papier mâché which was covered with successive layers of transparent varnish. The favored themes were court rooms, hunting, animal combats, landscapes the favored pateterns, floral and arabesque.

The Lacquer work comes into its own independent art from the 11th/17th century, and then declines into the very capable imitations of today.

There can no longer be any doubt that after the Safavid period the best miniature work of the period is actually produced in lacquer and we should view this medium as the bearer of the finer qualities of Persian miniature Painting. The art of lacquer probably began with Mohammad Zaman and All Ashraf was the complete master of this art. The majority of building come from the two long reigns of Fath All Shah (1212-1250/1797-1839) and Nasir al-Din Shah (1264-1313/1848-1896). It is evident from a study of these monuments and from supporting evidence that there were several centers of tile production. Tehran was obviously one of the most important centers as its position as capital required the construction of numerous buildings and Supplies of material necessary for tile making were outside the city walls. Isfahan, although no longer the principal center, still continued to produce cuerda seca tiles in which the influences of Safavid design are discernible. Shiraz also flourished and manufacture a distinctive type of tile which can still be seen on the thirteenth/nineteenth century buildings.

There Fath Ali Shah’s building activity is seen in an impressive number of mosques and developed the style already seen in the Madreseh-e Madar-shah, of geometrical design worked in a color scheme of yellow, turquoise, black and white, using motifs of stars, crosses, chevrons, checks, and Kufi inscription. Cuerda seca in contrast was used for more curving designs based on floral and foliate motifs. Blue was most frequently used for background reserving yellow, turquoise, grass-greens purple and a soft pink for the motifs. Good examples of tilework may be seen in the Gulestan Sultan Atabad palaces in Tehran. The Gulestan palace, a complex of building set within gardens functioning as both admistrative center and residence of the Qajars, was so expensively rebuit and extended by Naser al-Din Shah between 1284/1867 and 1310/1892 that it may well be regarded as his own creation. The palace of Sultan Aabad was built in 1305/1888 as a summer retreat on the northern outskirts of Tehran. Much tilework was added to the external façade and the retaining walls of the Gulestan palace between 1284/1867 and 1300/1882.

Cuerda seca worked in geometrical patterns of turquoise, yellow, white and black, served to frame doors and windows, whereas cuerda seca appeared as a series of panels employing themes such as an animal combat motif, the Qajar emblem of the lion and the sun, hunting mingled with abundant foliage and roses. Some of the most interesting tiles, however, form a freeze lining at the top of the stairs within the palace dated inscriptions among them indicate that they were installed in 1304/1887. They are important because they are worked in the underglazed-painted technique, which had so far been rarely in tile work.

The Nasta'liq was not restricted to manuscripts or ceramics. The development of the hanging style on coins, seals, silk, and the cartouchs of rugs is worth mentioning.

It was also used in metal inlay and in stone carvings where it is often combined with some decadent Kufi cising script.

 

It goes without saying that there developed styles within a style, often only to the eye of the specialist, but revealing the particular strength of a certain master of school.

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