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"Job Lying Under a Tree," Page from an Illustrated Manuscript of the Majma` al-tavarikh (Collection of Chronicles) of Hafiz Abru (d. 1430)

Catalogue Description:
This folio belongs to a famous copy of the Majma` al-tavarikh (Collection of Chronicles), commissioned by Shahrukh in the 1420s in Herat and written by the Hafiz Abru (d. 1430), a historian and courtier who served both Timur and Shahrukh. The history represents one of the most significant methods used by the Timurids to legitimate their rule in Iran. Its text covers the general history of the world from Adam through the reign of Shahrukh and draws from Biblical, Islamic, Iranian, Chinese, and Mongol histories. The format follows the model of the Jami` al-tavarikh (Compendium of Chronicles) written by the Iranian Jewish doctor Rashid al-Din (d. 1318), who served under the Ilkhanids and set a new standard for strategic history writing in Iran. There may be as many as four extensively illustrated copies of this history, but two are known of for certain: a dispersed manuscript formerly in the collections of Emile Tabbagh and Parish Watson, and a dated copy (829 AH/1425 CE) in the Topkap Sarayi Library in Istanbul (H.1653); pages of the c. 1425 manuscript, which was widely dispersed, can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Aga Khan Museum Collection, the Sackler Museum of the Harvard University Art Museums and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Two such pages were exhibited in the landmark exhibition of Islamic art of the Timurid period (r. 1370-1506), Timur and the Princely Vision: Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century in 1989, which took place at LACMA and the Smithsonian Institution's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC. - L. Akbarnia (7/2/08)


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