Components of Rationalism in Miniatures of Shahnameh; A Case Study of the Miniature of Tahmina Comes into Rustam’s Chamber

Document Type : Research Article


1 M.A. in Islamic Arts and Miniature, Lecturer of Faculty of Islamic Industrial Arts, Tabriz University of Islamic Art, Tabriz, Iran.

2 Ph.D in Persian Language and Literature, Assistant Professor of Tabriz University of Islamic Art, Tabriz, Iran.


Problem statement: Reason is one of the key themes of Ferdowsi’s thought in “Shahnameh”. In his reason praising thought in addition to his individual and social tendencies he has also paid attention to the doctrines of Mazdaism and Islamic culture and praised reason in view of its various aspects whether in general rational sense or in the sense of reason as the source of wisdom. The stories of Shahnameh have been a suitable context for promotion of this theme, on the one hand, and on the other hand, in different eras they have served as one of the most important sources of motivation for formation of miniatures by the painters. One of these stories is that of “Tahmina Comes into Rustam’s Chamber” which has been portrayed under this same title in different painting schools. The central problem of the current essay is the depiction of the visual rendition of this key themes in this work.
Research objective: In this essay, we intend to study the theme of reason and express its types in the thought of Ferdowsi and how the miniaturist adopts certain visual measures to provide a pictorial expression of this theme in the miniature of “Tahmina Comes into Rustam’s Chamber ”.
Research methodology: In the present essay, we have used the method of case study in order to first describe the miniature of “Tahmina Comes into Rustam’s Chamber” from formal point of view and then provide an analysis of the concepts hidden behind the visible elements centered around the theme of reason; to this end, the data have been gathered using two from written documents and through observation.
Conclusion: Reflection on the concepts hidden in the visual elements of the miniature of “Tahmina Comes into Rustam’s Chamber” shows that the miniaturist of this work has been familiar with the theme of reason under the influence of Ferdowsi and his efforts towards the expression and visual rendition of it in the process of designing and visualization of the miniature have all been informed by this very theme; thus, this miniature includes the reflection of reason in both form and content dimensions. Moreover, such issues as the spatial situation of the main characters, images and ornaments, color scheme and quantitative presence of number three have made the realization of this possible.


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