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Title: Timurid manuscript production : the scholarship and aesthetics of Prince Bāysunghur’s Royal Atelier (1420-1435)
Author: Mihan, Shiva
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 4252
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Considered one of the pinnacles of the arts of the book in the entire history of Persian art, the life of the Timurid prince, Bāysunghur (1397-1433) and his royal library-atelier have been studied for more than a century. Yet previous scholarship, although solid on it own terms, has not combined study of the entirety of production with sustained analysis of individual productions of Bāysunghur’s atelier. Prior to this study, a number of manuscripts were completely neglected, and several others were studied only briefly. What is more, the single extant document describing procedures and progress in the atelier, although well known, demanded further clarification on various levels. This dissertation discusses in six chapters the operation and productions of the library with particular attention paid to its highlight, Bāysunghur’s famous Shāhnāma. After an introduction to the field and an overview of previous studies, I turn to the report of the head of the atelier, clarifying some technical terms and establishing the date of the report. Secondly, the corpus of Bāysunghurī productions is examined chronologically and in relation to the librarian’s report, with individual manuscripts analysed with regard to their textual and aesthetic traits and their placement in an art historical context. Next, the Shāhnāma of Bāysunghur, which for many years has been inaccessible for close scholarly study, receives extended treatment. The final chapter presents a discussion of the textual and aesthetic content of the corpus and reconsiders the role of the atelier supervisor. The overall aim is to enhance and extend understanding of the arts of the book in a unique royal library, that of Prince Bāysunghur.
Supervisor: Melville, Charles ; Massing, Jean Michel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Codicology ; Baysunghur ; Ja'far Tabrizi ; Ja'far Baysunghuri ; Timurid art ; Timurids ; Persian manuscripts ; Islamic art ; arts of the book ; Persian painting ; Shahnama ; Nasta'liq ; Islamic manuscripts ; Herat school ; Herat ; Shams Baysunghuri ; Kitabkhana ; Shahrukh ; Illumination ; Arzadasht