The empire demonstrated cultural blending from the mix of Europeans, Chinese, and Persians. What was probably the most important result of Western influence on the Safavid Empire? Bier, Carol, ed. 5. Because of the new Shi'a empire and mandatory conversion Sunni neighbors, like the Ottomans, attacked the Safavid Empire. decline of the empire. New York: Asia Society. The stories are represented as scenes repeated within a foliate or rectilinear framework, often accompanied by poetry. Abbas managed to destroy the rival Turkish Gazilbash tribes, reform the army, and create a prosperous economy based on the trade of luxury goods, especially silk brocades. [Source: Suzan Yalman, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org \^/], “Abbas reinforced the image of the Safavid polity with the architecture of his new capital. Copenhagen: De Danske Kongers Kronologiske Samling, 1995. Even though these strict religious values made the empire grow, at the end these strict views were one of the reasons of the Safavid decline in 1736. Carpets and textiles were also important export items, and these were produced in workshops set up under state patronage in Isfahan and other cities. It was regarded as the ultimate signifier of political allegiance. Early on, the Safavids were at a disadvantage to the better-armed Ottomans, but they soon closed the arms gap. Exhibition catalogue.. Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1998; Dickson, Martin Bernard, and Stuart Cary Welch The Houghton Shahnama. The many prints, illustrated books, and oil paintings they brought provided new inspiration for artists in Iran. The height of Safavid style, however, remains immortalized in garments and fragments in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection.” \^/. Nazanin Hedayat Munroe of the Metropolitan Museum of Art wrote: “Safavid textiles are praised as the pinnacle of Iranian loom weaving. \^/, “After the death of Shah Abbas in 1629, the Safavid dynasty began to lose central power and regional governance relegated the monarch to the position of a figurehead. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2010. The á¹¢afavid period, like the Ottoman era, was an imperial age, and therefore there is hardly a part of Iran where either á¹¢afavid buildings or major á¹¢afavid restorations cannot be found. Shah Abbas 1571 - 1629 Ruled during Safavid Golden Age Rebuilt Isfahan Borrowed from European, Ottoman, Persian, & Chinese Culture 5. They expanded their empire by wagging Jihads(Holy war) against other countries. These fashionable figures were also copied in textiles, figural tile panels, and other media. The rich tradition of weaving in Iran excels during the Safavid period, culminating in the production of illustrative figural and floral designs executed by master weavers and designers. The Safavid Empire The Safavid Empire Conquest and ongoing cultural interaction also fueled the development of another empire known as the Safavids. One of the most renowned manuscripts from the period is a now-dispersed copy of the Shahnama epic (1970.301.2). The technical skill of designers in this period is evident in the thin dark outlines that delineate the figures and accompanying motifs, and the seamless repeats throughout the cloth. Sign in|Recent Site Activity|Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites, How have religions, belief systems, philosophies, and ideologies affected the development of the society over time, Ismail I, the first shah of the Safavids, made the conversion to Shi'a from Sunni mandatory and even had the Sunni Scholars killed or executed. Safavid Empire • Textiles and carpets were made of luxury materials as furnishings for the court. London: British Museum Press, 1993; Canby, Sheila R., ed. These designs range from interlocking overall patterns to single repeating motifs arranged in rows (33.80.18), and their depiction in album pages reflects their popularity among the Iranian gentry as well as European aristocrats. Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications. Plus, they are further outcast by the fact that the Mughals and Ottomans are Sunni; the Safavids are Shi’a. Shah Abbas helped create a Safavid culture. This made Europeans move into the land. The dynasty began as a Sufi order but evolved into a major gunpowder empire. In 1501 the Safavid empire declared its … London: British Museum Press, 1995. In order to revive the national economy, Abbas courted foreign traders and made commercial agreements with several European nations. In the seventeenth century, Shah Abbas I (r. 1587–1629) centralized the Iranian economy by developing a state monopoly over the silk trade, controlling production in the Caspian provinces, where the bulk of the raw material was produced. The Safavid Empire, based in Persia (), ruled over much of southwestern Asia from 1501 to 1736.Members of the Safavid Dynasty likely were of Kurdish Persian descent and belonged to a unique order of Sufi -infused Shi'a Islam called Safaviyya. "It was the last time Iran stood tall and was a proud independent country before the coming of the westerners, the imperialists. Since the Safavid empire spent a lot of their efforts to grow Shi'a Islam they spent tons of money to support this. Abbas II (r. 1642–66) added the Chihil Sutun, a pavilion with large-scale wall paintings of historical and literary subjects, to the royal complex in Isfahan. Over the next several decades, major monuments would be erected on three sides of the Royal Square by Abbas and his successors. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. 3. The great days of Safavid art were over, however, and Iran was heading in new directions.”. Royal Persian Paintings: The Qajar Epoch, 1785–1925. Their capitals were Tabriz, Qazvin, Isfahan. Figures on textiles made from the early seventeenth century onward reflect the changing fashions, as the taj haydari was replaced by a wide, elliptical turban. Often these are worn beneath a short-sleeved robe, emphasizing the contrasting colors of the trousers and chemise in lapis blue, emerald green, and tomato red. Woven from the Soul, Spun from the Heart: Textile Arts of Safavid and Qajar Iran, 16th–:19th Centuries. CULTURE WITHIN THE SAFAVID FAMILY. In the Safavid empire, Shah ‘Abbas was the most distinguished rulers and patron of the arts. A number of the artists in their employ were migrants from the Safavid Empire, leading to cultural exchange between the two empires. He increased carpet and textile production in state workshops and settled 300 Chinese potters and their families in Iran to capitalize on the vogue for Chinese ceramics. Culture flourished under Safavid patronage. Pretty much everything you need to know about the Safavid Dynasty revolves around one of two things: 1. Because of the creativity of this society Isfahan has become one of the beautiful and elegant cities in the world. The Safavids were named after their founder Safi al-Din, who died in 1334. \^/, “In addition to figural silks, popular designs included stylized flowers with delicate drawings of deer, rabbits, and birds, and particularly the rose-and-nightingale (gul-o-bul-bul) motif (49.32.99). The most important decisions made by the Safavid Empire when it came into power was declaring the state religion as Shi’ism. It was an Iranian dynasty of Kurdish origin, but during their rule they intermarried with Turkoman, Georgian, Circassian, and Pontic Greek dignitaries. Bier, Carol, ed. How have religions, belief systems, philosophies, and ideologies affected the development of the society over time     Religion has played a big role on the development of the Safavid empire. \^/, “Compound weave structures incorporating gold or silver strips or metal-wrapped threads floating on the face of the cloth (26.231.2), referred to as "brocades," added a sumptuous quality to the sophisticated palette of pistachio green, salmon pink, alizarin, cream, and ochre. The capital of the Safavid empire was Isfahan, founded in 1501. The Safavid Empire lasted until 1736. “Menswear evolved along similar lines, in that the outer robe became more fitted and often included a fur collar and a lining. 1565–1635), son of the court painter Ali Asghar and pupil of the well-known Mucin. He then relocated the Armenians from the city of Julfa, who controlled much of the Persian end of a bustling international silk trade, to a neighborhood in Isfahan called New Julfa and gave them the monopoly on silk exports. London: Unwin Hyman, 1987. Chronicles by visitors such as Sir John Chardin, a French jeweler who traveled through Iran from 1673 to 1677, reveal the importance of appearance and dress in Safavid society and include detailed engravings that illustrate four different costume styles for men and women. • In architecture, they commissioned mosques and palace complexes, restored major shrines, and contributed to sites of pilgrimage. Popular scenes feature idealized pastimes such as hunting, falconry, or poetry reading in garden settings (08.109.3), a trend that mirrors contemporary paintings. Several occasions, such as the annual Nauruz celebration of the spring equinox, required each participant to have a completely new wardrobe for the two-week celebratory period. Women are depicted wearing a small square kerchief (chahar-qad) at the crown of the head tied over longer flowing headscarves. The visual effect is a feast of color, enhanced by delicate woven motifs of the outer silk and gold brocaded fabrics. The Safavid Empire. Shah ‘Abbas’ reputation as a ruler vacillated between that of a worldly king and a religious shaikh, and the arts during his reign reflect this duality. Private workshops in urban centers such as Yazd and Kashan continued to produce textiles for sale within and beyond Iranian borders, and are especially known for velvet and lampas-woven luxury silks.\^/, “Figural designs relied heavily on manuscript illustration for composition and subject matter. From the stability of the empire Shah 'Abbas began to encourage trade during his rule. They were originally a religious brotherhood who became more powerful because of warlords and political marriages. Paintings depict opulently dressed youths languishing in a state of mystic ecstasy, while epigraphic silk textiles recount verses of Sufi poetry. Isfahan had one of the largest with a population of one million. Shah Abbas & the Arts of Isfahan. Great palaces and gardens were built in Isfahan. The dynasty spent much money and effort on the building of bridges, roads, and caravansaries to encourage trade. The Safavid family was a literate family from its early origin. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Floral designs are often presented within a lattice framework, accompanied by birds and foliate designs. The Safavid Empire. powerful empires and several strong regional states brought a steady rise in power and culture over a long period of time. Exhibition catalogue.. Washington, D.C.: Textile Museum, 1987.Blunt, Wilfred Pietro’s Pilgrimage. Studies on Isfahan. \^/, “Persian garments fashioned from these luxurious silk textiles are considered the epitome of the Safavid style. The urban rich, Armenian merchants, foreign travelers, and artists interested in each other's works could now all afford to purchase art. All this finery was draped loosely in an enveloping veil or chador covering the body and lower face when venturing beyond the inner sanctum or andarun of the home. The dynasty’s founder, Shah Isma‘il, and his supporters traced their lineage to Shaikh Safi of Ardabil, a Sufi theologian whose successors gained religious and political authority throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Fabrics were another major industry; travelers Jean Chardin and Jean-Baptiste Tavernier both described silk-weaving factories in the cities of Yazd and Kashan, and the production of velvet increased as it became highly fashionable (59.58).\^/, “In the seventeenth century, adventurous traders and ambassadors sent by foreign kings came to Iran bearing works of art as presents to Persian high officials. The three main exports of Iran were silk, carpets, and textiles. In architecture, the Safavids commissioned mosques, mausolea, and palace complexes, restored major shrines, and contributed to sites of veneration and pilgrimage. London: British Museum Press, 1995. Under the Safavids, Turkish was the language of the armies, Persian was the language of administration and culture and Arabic was the language or religion and law. [Source:Nazanin Hedayat Munroe, Department of Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org\^/], “Centralizing the distribution of raw silk under state control as an important source of revenue, ‘Abbas encouraged the production and sale of high-end silk lampas and velvet textiles for apparel and home furnishings by workshops in Yazd, Kashan, and his new capital at Isfahan. Safavid history is rife with clashes and wars between the Shi'a Muslim Safavid Persians and the Sunni Ottoman Turks. Shah Ismail and Shah Tahmasp for example were poets and painters. In the 1300s, the Ilkhanids, a dynasty founded by the "Genghis Khan's" grandson, Holagu … He also had the fifteenth-century Timurid manuscript Mantiq al-tair (The Language of the Birds) refurbished; four paintings were added and the manuscript presented to the shrine at Ardabil in 1609. The Safavid Empire was a theocracy; The state religion was Shi'a Islam; All other religions, and forms of Islam were suppressed; The Empire's economic strength … A special form of land use in the Safavid empire was the so-called yÅ«rd (Doerfer, Elemente II, pp. Summary of Safavid Empire Timeline . Carpets and Textiles in the Iranian World 1400–¡700. Under the Safavids, Turkish was the language of the armies, Persian was the language of administration and culture and Arabic was the language or religion and law. Cambridge, Mass. His commission of a Shahnama reestablished the royal painting atelier that had shrunk during the reigns of his two predecessors. \^/, “As the dynasty came to a close in the early eighteenth century, fashions and textiles reflect the declining regime. “The Hall of Forty Columns” was famous for its glazed tiles. These workshops were an innovative adaptation to meet the needs of the increasing attention to art and trade during this period. The Safavid Empire reached its zenith under Shah Abbas the Great of Persia (reigned 1588–1629), who ruled with an iron fist. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Atlanta: Scholar’s Press, 1999.Thompson, Jon, Daniel Shaffer, and Pirjetta Mildh, eds. The Mughal Empire was vastly wealthy and demonstrated immense artistry in the textiles, paintings and other commodities for trade. \^/, “Textiles on the loom are produced by the intersection of warp threads, held taut, and weft threads, which are interwoven to create different patterns on the surface of the cloth. \^/, “Another effect of the economic boom was the creation of a new class of patrons. Shenasa, Nazanin Hedayat “Donning the Cloak: Safavid Silks and the Display of Identity.” Master’s thesis, San Jose State University, http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4417&context=etd_theses.. n/a: n/a, n/a. “The Hall of Forty Columns” was famous for its glazed tiles. Though Shah Ismacil is known to have built throughout the empire, only modest buildings survive from his reign. Shah Abbas encouraged trade with Europe, silk being Iran's main export. Books: Holod, Renata, ed. Classes and rank King and Royal class Nobles, Religious officials Merchants, Peasants, Commoners Family Structure. He counted 162 mosques, 48 colleges, 1,802 caravanserais, 273 baths, and 12 cemeteries, indicating Abbas' extensive architectural work in the city. Semi-nude women, languid youths, and lovers soon came to replace the heroes of the Shahnama and the Khamsa in many an artist's repertoire. Most of the extant poetry of … Books: Baker, Patricia L. “Safavid Splendor.” In Islamic Textiles. It is not, however, simply the subject matter of his paintings, but Riza's gift for capturing the inner emotions of his sitter and his famed calligraphic line that have earned him admiration. In pottery, imitations of ceramics from Iznik in Turkey and of blue-and-white ware from China were especially popular, and the native technique of lusterware was revived (30.95.158). Isfahan became one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Album pages by Riza-yi ‘Abbasi, court painter for Shah ‘Abbas, depict lovers and youths dressed in loose, layered clothing with vibrant patterns. May 29, 1555 . Safavid culture played a role in the empire's economy because 'Abbas encouraged the manufacturing of traditional products. The capital of the Safavid empire was Isfahan, founded in 1501. Shah Ismail I himself wrote many poems in Azerbaijani, as well as in Persian and Arabic, while Shah Tahmasp was a painter. Persian artists created great miniature painting, carpets, tapestries, metal work. Likewise, it was customary to wear new clothing at weddings and other celebrations throughout the year. Some of the finest examples of figural silks produced during the reign of Shah Abbas feature characters from popular literature such as the lovers Khusrau and Shirin (1978.60) and Layla and Majnun (46.156.7) from Nizami's Khamsa, or battle scenes referencing the herculean Rustam in Firdausi's Shahnama. The carpets and textiles were created in workshops set up under state patronage. The edges of the outer robe are depicted tucked into a belt made of strips of leather, connected by floral-shaped metal fastenings. The Safavid empire was very closely linked to the Mughal Empire in India. The overall look for men in some cases was more elaborate than that of women, as male ostentation was considered more acceptable by cultural standards. This unique headdress represented the Shici ideology of the Safavid dynasty, with the twelve folds of the turban symbolizing the imams in Twelver Shiism. Shah ‘Abbas implemented an aggressive export program for these luxury textiles, encouraged by elaborate gifts of silk garments and sent to heads of state for distribution throughout their courts. Because of the new Shi'a empire and mandatory conversion Sunni neighbors, like the Ottomans, attacked the Safavid Empire. Silks, tiles, and other goods that were produced in the Safavid Empire were praised from many different empires. Great palaces and gardens were built in Isfahan. \^/, “The woven figural motifs featured on outer garments for men often depicted characters from Persian literature, such as poet Nizami’s Layla and Majnun or Khusrau and Shirin (1978.60), endowing the wearer with an affinity for the qualities of these protagonists. This local textile industry included dyers, weavers, and embroiderers producing luxury textiles mainly for export under the supervision of the state. Although the Safavids are of Iranian origin, they claimed they were descended from the prophet Muhammad. Welch, Anthony. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. Abbas also created a new standing army which halted the encroachments of the Mughals and the Ottomans and restabilized the country's territories. He described the city's population as a mix of Christians, Jews, fire-worshippers, Muslims, and merchants from all over the world. Lampas-woven textiles were used in garments and furnishings (1972.189). Abbas the Great helped create a Safavid culture and Golden Age. Suzan Yalman of New York University wrote: “In 1597–98, Isfahan became the new capital of Iran when Shah Abbas I (r. 1587–1629) moved the Safavid government there as part of his larger plan to lift the country from the slump into which it had fallen. In the paintings, the outermost garment for both men and women consists of a long robe that alternately crosses over in the front and fastens to one side, or parts down the front. \^/, “The popularity of color, weave structure, and iconography are noted in English East India Company documents, and commented upon by European visitors including Englishmen Robert and Anthony Sherley and Italian traveler Pietro Della Valle, who visited the court of ‘Abbas in the first quarter of the seventeenth century. The glory days of Isfahan came to an end in 1722 when the city was besieged by one of the Afghan tribes then in rebellion against the Safavids, and the dynasty, for all intents and purposes, ceased to rule.” \^/. After 1625, however, women are depicted in paintings and on textiles wearing a loose veil fastened with a small tiara or decorative silk ribbon tied behind the head. His work set the tone for much of the seventeenth century, as his students used it as a springboard for developing their own styles (1974.290.43). Complex designs were created using the lampas technique, a compound structure that allowed for figural and floral designs to be produced in fluid lines with a range of delicate colors. There are extant Tati and Persian poetry from Shaykh Safi ad-din Ardabili as well as extant Persian poetry from Shaykh Sadr ad-din. New York: Abrams, 2000.Chardin, Sir John Travels in Persia. Safavid dress is characterized by innovative color combinations, distinctive figural motifs on fabrics, and rich texture due to the extensive use of gold- and silver-wrapped threads. Artists from the Qara Quyunlu, Aq Quyunlu, and Timurid court studios were brought together and their work helped form a new Safavid style of painting. The Safavids spent money to promote religion by using grants to build shrines and religious schools. Although many of the richly woven silk garments of the period are only accessible now as fragments, the tailored shapes suggest that they were once part of the decorative garments worn throughout Iran and sent as diplomatic gifts to Europe and India. During his rule the Ottoman army was defeated in the early 17th century. His successors were ill-prepared to rule and cities such as Shiraz rose to prominence as regional rulers became more powerful. The textile industry consisted of urban workshops producing textiles independently, provincial centers focusing on rug weaving, and small farms cultivating silk in the Caspian region. Consistent with earlier fashions, a chemise and ankle-length trousers are worn underneath the ensemble, culminating in a pointed-toe slip-on shoe. The Ottoman attacks on the Safavid empire resulted in Shah Tahmasp I, Ismail I son and successor, moving the capital from Tabriz to the city of Qazvin, an interior city, in 1548. London: British Museum Press, 2002; Diba, Layla S., ed. Sulayman (r. 1666—94) commissioned two further palaces, the Hasht Bihisht and the Talar-i Ashraf. The growth of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires helped place Islamic culture into global recognition. Ismail I, the first shah of the Safavids, made the conversion to Shi'a from Sunni mandatory and even had the Sunni Scholars killed or executed. Paris: Harmattan, 1999. Textiles were executed as continuous repeat patterns by master designers (nakhshband), with the ultimate goal of obscuring the edges of the repeat block. Even though these strict religious values made the empire grow, at the end these strict views were one of the reasons of the Safavid decline in 1736. Metropolitan Museum of Art, metmuseum.org \^/], “The role of Iran as a major participant in a larger economy created by the European commercial expansion of the sixteenth century was another influence in the arts of this era. Headwear for women around 1600 consisted of a square cloth or chahar-qad, placed on the crown of the head and fastened with a thin ribbon of silk, and sometimes accompanied by a chin strap made of a string of pearls or gems. Exhibition catalogue.. Washington, D.C.: Textile Museum, 1987.Floor, Willem The Persian Textile Industry in Historical Perspective, 1500–1925. The Safavids expressed their belief in Twelver Shiism by donning white turbans with twelve folds wrapped over a red felt cap with a baton, credited as the invention of Isma‘il’s father Haidar, and called alternately the taj Haidari or taj-i Safavi. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Ranging in length from hip to calf, the overcoat was cut with rounded hips or a flared skirt to accentuate the natural curves of the wearer (49.32.76). When the Safavid Empire took power it established Shi'a Islam as Iran’s official religion. But the legacy lives on in the state that exists today and also in the culture of the Safavids - literature, architecture, art and poetry, seen particularly in Isfahan, a capital of the empire for a period. The charming ensemble is finished with ankle boots or slip-on shoes of black or white leather, often sporting a Cuban heel. London: Argonaut Press, 1927.Scarce, Jennifer “Through a Glass Darkly? Tile panels and frescoes from the pavilions of the Chahar Bagh in the Museum's collection are examples of the lavish decoration of these structures. The production of artistic goods became hugely profitable and Abbas had a large hand in encouraging the growth of local crafts. As a result, single-page paintings, less costly than fully illustrated manuscripts, became popular. Silk velvets (12.72.5) were produced either as continuous pile, creating a supple and luxurious cloth, or manipulated by selectively weaving areas with pile and leaving other areas as flat weaves, creating a "voided" effect (52.20.13). Persian artists created great miniature painting, carpets, tapestries, metal work. ), in which a Qezelbāš tribe was granted a defined territory for its migration routes. These two identities of shaikh and king come together under the ruler’s imperative to solidify Iran’s position in international trade, while also maintaining his commitment to Safavid ideology. Isfahan had one of the largest with a population of one million. Peace of Amasya, singed between Shah Tahmasp and Suleiman the Magnificent, ends Ottoman–Safavid War and gives most of Iraq, including Baghdad, to the Ottoman Empire, while the Persians retain north-western territories in the Caucasus Marriage and family was very important The centerpiece of his capital was the new Maidan-i Shah (Royal Square), which was conceived and constructed initially for state ceremonies and sports. Hair was worn long and collected into multiple braids, adorned at the ends with silver or gold ornaments. , roads, and Mir Imad claimed they were originally a religious brotherhood became! Money and effort on the Safavid state and its capital suffered as Shiraz to... As provided for in section 107, the material on this site distributed. The extant poetry of … the Safavid empire spent a lot of their efforts to grow Shi ' a they... In addition, artists were no longer dependent on the royal painting atelier that had shrunk during reigns... 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To Shia Islam they are further outcast by the fact that the outer robe more..., 1801 shops and 263 public baths luxury textiles mainly for export under the supervision of royal... Main export Safavids were at a disadvantage to the empire, leading to cultural exchange between the Shi ' Islam. The ensemble, culminating in a pointed-toe slip-on shoe Houghton Shahnama was not conquest... To terms with the court groups of Western Oghuz Turks from Central Asia 1970.301.2 ) included... This capital was a painter and Mir Imad Museum ’ s Costume of the beautiful and cities. Work in the empire 's economy because 'Abbas encouraged the manufacturing of traditional Persian painting elements of traditional.... Mosques and palace complexes, restored major shrines, and contributed to sites pilgrimage... Collected into multiple braids, adorned at the crown of the westerners, the Hasht and.