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Tabriz: International Entrepôt under the Mongols

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Chapter Summary

The historian David Morgan acknowledged history's debt to art history, showing it to be one not just of conquest but also of culture. There are two ways to approach this investigation into the artistic evidence for the cosmopolitan nature of Tabriz under the Mongols from the late thirteenth to the fifteenth century. It first examines what art can tell us about the varied sources available in this international entrepôt, and second looks at what things, whether goods, techniques, motifs, or ideas, were taken from Tabriz and adopted elsewhere. In other words, it examines both the import and the export sides of the situation. Artists in Tabriz looked to Chinese models to illustrate the history of China in the Jāmiʿ al-tavārīkh. In the section recounting the reigns of individual emperors, the artists copied from Chinese woodblock-printed scrolls, but without understanding all the implications of the original iconography.

Keywords: China; David Morgan; entrepôt; Mongols; Tabriz



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