The Visual Arrangements of Prophet Zechariah Martyrdom Miniature in Qisas Al-Anbiya

Document Type : Research Article


Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Architecture and Urban Planning, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Iran.


Problem statement: “Qisas Al-Anbiya” is a set of stories derived from the events of the lives of the prophets. Some of the writings in this book are decorated with miniatures and figures to show the concepts expressed more clearly. The most famous manuscript of the “Qisas Al-Anbiya” is the manuscript available at Topkapi Palace Museum, and one of the most significant of these stories, illustrated in the book, is the account of the martyrdom of Prophet Zechariah. In this work of art, the painter tried to visualize Zechariahs’ being oppressed against Iblis’s blasphemy and shows the divine support of him.
Research objective: the purpose of the present study is to examine the visual arrangement based on three characteristics of visual elements (line, color, texture, and form), composition (golden spiral, index square, golden rectangle, and guidelines) and symbolism from three perspectives of personality, event, and dialogue in this miniature. To achieve this goal, first, the pattern of communication between the parameters of these three mentioned features of the arrangement are explained.
Research method: The present study was performed through descriptive-analytical method.
Conclusion: In this miniature, the characters remain faithful to the two fields of narration of the book and the tree which shelter Zechariah from the Iblis’s onslaught. Rotating composition, inducing the position of the tree by using the triangular composition of the elements in such a way that the top of the triangle emphasizes the tree, inducing the sense of peacefulness and stability by using the elements in the golden rectangle, symmetry of human forms, using vertical guidelines to replace the elements, the use of rectangles √ 2 and √ 3 to arrange the inscriptions and miniatures side by side, the association of peacefulness, low-diversity and semantic texture due to the use of visual elements of point and line and finally the arrangement of the spiral structure of the clockwise and counterclockwise elements are the most important points in the arrangement of this work of art. Besides, the use of monotonous azure in the background, the atmosphere of sadness and illusion, the bright yellow in the Iblis’s dress, the emphasis on his character and the use of orange color in the narrator’s dress have caused the colors to rotate in the composition of this work of art. In general, the work is painted with flat and bright colors, without shadows.


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