History of Shah Abbas the Great


This early 19th-century manuscript contains a history of Shāh ʻAbbas (1571−1629, reigned 1588−1629) and his predecessors, composed in the late 16th or early 17th century by a contemporary. The manuscript most likely was written in Iran. The paper is a light cream, glazed laid stock. The text is written in nasta'liq script, 23 lines to the page, in black ink, with red ink used for headings, keywords, and some punctuation. Catchwords appear on verso pages. ʿAbbās I, also known as ʿAbbās the Great, was one of the most successful rulers of the Safavid dynasty (1502−1736). He expelled Ottoman and Uzbek invaders from Persian soil and transferred the capital of the empire from Kazvin to Isfahan, which he then developed into one of the world’s most beautiful cities. He introduced reforms that improved the lives of his subjects and cultivated new commercial and diplomatic relations with the European powers. Persian artistic achievement also reached its high point during his reign, as carpet weaving, ceramics, painting, and the production of illuminated manuscripts all flourished under his patronage.

Last updated: September 5, 2014