- 29 - 2006
- 4. Histoire, Période Musulmane
- 4.2. Histoire du XVe au XIXe siècle
- 4.2.1. Safavides et Qâjârs
Wood, Barry D.
« The Tarikh-i Jahanara in the Chester Beatty Library: An Illustrated Manuscript of the ‘Anonymous Histories of Shah Isma’il’ ». Iranian Studies, XXXVII/1, 2004, pp. 89-106.
This article represents an important contribution to our knowledge of Safavid historical literature, since the Author has identified the Tārīḫ-e jahānārā of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin (Ms. Per. 278) as yet another version of the so-called “anonymous histories of Shāh Esmā‘il”, probably compiled in 1683 (p. 91), which would make it the earliest instance of this genre. What makes this particular work even more important is the presence of eighteen illustrations, where the Author detects “the conspicuous influence of European painting” (p. 93), unlike the miniatures of another work of analogous nature, Bijan’s Jahāngošā-ye ḫāqān (ex-Anonymous Ross). The Author also remarks that – curiously enough – the Shah appears only in four of the paintings (again unlike in the Jahāngošā-ye ḫāqān) and identifies the painter as ‘Alī Naqī b. Šeyḫ ‘Abbāsī (p. 97). One episode, the battle between Qizilbash and Abyssinian warriors is illustrated in both manuscripts (cf. c.r. n° 176): however, the Qizilbash commander appears as Morād Beyg in the Tārīḫ-e jahānārā, and also the name of the Abyssinian commander is spelt in a slightly different way (p. 99). The Author devotes a brief digression to another illustrated manuscript of the Chester Beatty Library, Ms. Per. 279, whose paintings are ascribed by the Author to yet another trend of Persian art. The Author states that “it seems beyond dispute that this work [i.e., the Tārīḫ-e jahānārā] was commissioned for or even by Shah Sulayman” (p. 92), but this claim is not really substantiated throughout the article (although not implausible), so that it remains unclear whether “the apparent upsurge of interest in the story of Shah Isma’il under Shah Sulayman” was actually due to the ruler himself, and also whether the latter had “a strongly developed interest in dynastic history” (p. 98). Table 2, “Safavid historical manuscripts from the reign of Shah Sulayman” (pp. 98, 104-105), does not list Bijan’s other known work (An Account of the Life and Times of Rustam Khan, British Library Add. 7,655), and two of the miniatures reproduced at the end of the article (figures I and VI) have been unfortunately repeated.