The central medallion (see figure 4) portrays a male potter in his house reworks, at his wheel accompanied by three male assistants, all engaged in activities related to creating earthen pottery, This scene is overlooked by a bearded male figure, presumably a depiction of the poet (Kamala) himself, The background of the central medallion visually scribes flat structural and architectural spaces with a textile aesthetic i. E. Use of interwoven geometric shapes and saturated colors to dissolve the distinction between positive and negative space, and create a flat, two dimensional tapestry- like viewing experience.
The center fifths medallion contains images that might indicate the artist’s desire to create the illusion of depth by portraying a background setting. A back wall With a separated framed space is shown, Which could be either another painting or a window showing a rocky landscape, with some sparse grasses and a large blossoming tree. The smaller medallions at the top and bottom contain the image of a snow leopard attacking a gazelle, very similar to the “preying lion” (see figure 3) motif that has been observed in Persian royal art since at least 1000 years ago.
For example, this motif is visible in the apse of the dawn at Shirt al. Mafias, Jordan, 740 CE, except it uses a lion, to probably symbolize the authority and strength of the ruler. The outermost border contains foliate patterns that are symmetrical, but have lost the rigid linearity of earlier such Islamic and Persian patterns; the border contains mostly revered lines, and it appears as it the artist purposely used highly saturated color to make the painting stand against the surrounding open space. The patterned body does not create a visual rhythm i. . Encourage the viewers’ eye to travel. Instead it has a very flat aesthetic, with the weightiness of hung fabric. Thin lines encompass this pattern, and the use of different colors creates the experience of various types of fabric. For example, the delicate lines included in the main body are mainly white, gold and pink and are suggestive of woven lace, in comparison to the border, which contains saturated gold and sapphire blue, which can be visualized as belonging to a heavier, more silken fabric, perhaps segregate or velvet.
Compositionally, the pattern seems to converge around all three medallions, and seems very suggestive of the popular analog of Islamic foliate design to the Koran notion Of Paradise. These patterns involve very thin lines of similar colors, which combine to create an almost metallic luster. The use Of atypical colors like pink, lavender, and rust is observed, as we notice that the color saturation reduces as the eye travels from the border toward the center of the page.
There is no text included within the composition of the image, but it is likely that this painting was superimposed on a border page that might have earlier contained text (see top left corner, above frame of image). Despite the plainness of the image, the central medallion serves as a window into the world within. The artist has created an unusual alignment of view- points, perhaps hoping to create illusionist’s space and depth.
For example, the viewer looks through the medallion into the scene, and then has their perspective directed through the windows/ painting on the background wall into another space with lush gardens. This seems akin to an audiences viewpoint of a theatrical set; the scenes seem to he occurring between draped tapestries. The artist has restricted the viewer’s experience of plunging depth by creating stacked layers within the image; almost like pouring water through a funnel onto a plate, and then proceeding to pour that water on the plate though another funnel onto yet another plate. Eel this constant visual and spatial guiding and scattering of focus and perspective does not allow the viewer to feel enveloped in the images’ space; it in fact keeps the viewer at a distance, and creates a theatrical, almost dramatic air. The use of rich materials also highlights the importance given to illumination: light falling on the page would instantly makes the colors and images seem more radiant, almost three- dimensional. The choice of colors is also interesting; the high degree Of similarity in their temperatures creates a monochromatic effect, which when illuminated, would be like shining light onto a sheet of metal, even gold.
It is also interesting to note that all living beings (for example, plants, humans) have been depicted in a naturalistic style, in contrast to objects and the architectural framework, which has been structurally and eternally decomposed to represent hung fabric. II, The painting in a larger context The Rubricate to Omar Kamala is a 12th century Suffix poem composed by Omar Kamala, that was rediscovered and revived in the 19th century by Edward FitzGerald, after which it gained immense popularity.
Historically, Kamala was a mathematician and Paris poet from the prosperous province of Shorans in Northern Persia between 1048- 1130 CE. Though initially under patronage of the ruler, after the annexation of Shorans by recently converted Thurman invaders under the Caliph of Baghdad, Kamala lost favor due to eminent political unrest and his own personal spite, and retired Consequently, he composed the Rubricate, a nostalgic and bittersweet poem about drink, relationships and the fleeting nature of time in a nine stanza format called the “Aruba i”.
This style was completely heterodox from what was used by serious Persian poets; the Rubricate is rhythmic and easy to memorize, presents meaning in a very lucid and literal fashion, and yet has the depth and flexibility to scaffold Shaman’s occasionally controversial, even revolutionary thoughts. This favor gained much popularity and acclaim in late 19th century poetry irises after it’s rediscovery and translation by Edward FitzGerald (180% 1893), which is the version of the poem available today.
It is easy to conclude that the use Of an unorthodox style, the unsympathetic stance toward popular religion and possible mystic and Suffix undertones could be a culmination of the original 12th century verse that was tailored to the sensibilities of late 19th century Victorian England. From reading the FitzGerald version of the Rubricate, it is observed that verses 59 through 68 of the Rubricate have been separated into their own section, titled the Kuaka Mama, or the “Book of Pots”.
Stanza 59 scribes the poet (Kamala) in a potters house or shop on Ramadan night, surrounded by different kinds of pots in various sizes, shapes, types of clay, and in different stages of completion. In the subsequent stanzas, the pots have been personified, and have a conversation with the poet about the stage Of life they are at, and the lessons that they have learnt.
Metaphors have been used to illustrate the central idea of the existence of multiple ways of finding the same God, which resonates with mystic beliefs. The reason behind depicting the “preying lion” motif in the other two medallions in unclear, however there are retain plausible interpretations. Given that Kamala composed the Rubricate after his retirement, and resultant disillusionment with the Caliph and this new authoritative nature of power as he had lost their favor and patronage.
This motif used since Assassin times to signify the might of the concerned ruler, might have been used by the painter to visualize Shaman’s thoughts about the new rulers Who had taken over his beloved homeland Of Shorans i. E. Create a satire about how the nature of Persian kingship in the time had turned from authoritative to tyrannical. The imagery in these accessory medallions seems to et the psychological state for the reader/ viewer with which they can proceed to then meditate over the imagery in the central medallion.
Perhaps the painter meant to recreate Shaman’s physical and mental experiences for the reader,’ as the viewer looks at the central medallion, they can imagine they themselves are with Kamala in that moonlit potters workshop, in conversation with pots, while the other medallions symbolize Shaman’s disillusioned almost cynical psychological state.
I feel the painter consciously allowed the mystic and Suffix undertones of this image to emerge after contemplation, symbolic to a spiritual Rooney to find divine grace, and also highlights the meaningful lesson of teaching men to realize that situations will arise in elite when they need to turn to faith, over everything else. I believe the book painting chose to work with is an illustration to signify the beginning of the Kuaka Norma or literally translates stanza So to imagery.
This particular example of a Persian miniature is probably a more contemporary creation, perhaps late 19th to early 20th century, as it does not adopt traditional stylistic norms, resonant with the poem itself, which is a breakaway from the formal nature of Persian verse. An influence of McHugh Miniature painting (see figure I) is observed, an Indo- McHugh painting tradition that depicted McHugh court life and culture peaking under the patronage of the McHugh rulers Shah Johan and Changer, which continues to be practiced even today.
This style appropriated local customs into orthodox Persian visual language; the subject Of the image is usually presented in the center, framed in a shape, almost like a medallion. There is a heightened textile aesthetic that has lost its flatness and linearity, coupled With a slight hint at depth and space, as he viewer looks into the world of the image though a richly decorated frame.
Therefore, it can be postulated that an Islamic artist under British patronage created the work of art being examined in the late 19th century, as this era does see heightened interaction especially between England and South Asia, especially India, due to its colonization in 1757 by the British East India Company. This book painting of the Kuaka Mama is an example of how a traditional style might have been tailored to suit its patron’s sensibilities i. E.
Victorian England, or even perhaps Englishmen settled in a foreign land who wanted to heighten heir familiarity to local art forms by introducing stylistic elements they were used to seeing. The unusual addition of gold, pink and lavender to the typical color palette of blue and gold creates a monochromatic viewing experience, as these colors are similar in value and temperature. It also uses unusual blue decorative shapes, almost like carthorses (see border of image in Hogue 3), which is uncharacteristic of the Persian style.
The overall scale of the painting is much too large to be classified as a “miniature book painting’, and the proportion of a much larger decorative frame to a smaller painted image is also aberrant. The painter (unknown) has added flowers to the central figure’s (Kamala) robe, included single words of text in the border to possibly draw attention to the next page, and the presence Of writing beyond the frame in the top- right corner Of the page indicates that this painting avgas probably superimposed on a much older page that probably contained some writing: all Of Which are features that are not witnessed in traditional Persian Painting.
The painter has purposely created this painting to exemplify an outlier from a style, Which is quite true to the nature of its inspiration, the Rubricate itself. Eel narrative clarity was not the painter’s intent: the figures in within the medallion i. E. The potters, bearded Kamala, even the lion and the gazelle all appear to be frozen in time, similar to a photograph. This particular painting is a good example of the emphasized interdependency between visual and literary cultures patronized under Persian rule.
The overlapping, interlacing and the almost frolicking visual and direction of focus by the artist suggest that such work was meant for aristocracy and elite. The layers of composition and meaning in this painting indicate that it was robbery meant for enjoyment, to be meditated over, looked into repeatedly, Looking at the complex compositions, meanings, and interpretations to Persian art and literature, we can definitely envision the flamboyance and refinement of their royal court, and argue that to appreciate Persian art was to chew, not swallow, Ill.