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Les Sujets Soufis Dans la Miniature Medievale Orientale (Collection du Maténadaran, Erevan)

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image of Iran and the Caucasus

The Matenadaran, Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, is a unique repository of Armenian and Oriental manuscripts. The Oriental Collection of the Matenadaran (known usually as Arabo-Persian Collection), including manuscripts in Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Indian and other languages (total ca. 2,500), is formed over a long time and is regularly augmented by purchases and gifts. This collection covers nearly all subjects of human and natural sciences and culture, including theology, jurisprudence, Qur'ānic sciences, Tafsīrs, Hadīthes, lexicography, literature, poetry, history, politics, philosophy, logic, astronomy, magic, mathematics, medicine, veterinary, and agriculture. Among them there are some Sufi codices from the period of the 15th to the 19th century, illustrated and illuminated in the various ateliers in Iran and the region.

The article presents the analysis of some Oriental medieval miniatures from the Matenadaran Collection connected with the Sufi motifs in their compositions.

The most important are illustrative cycles of a copy dating back to 1848-1849 of the Commentaries of the Seven Qasidas by Husayn Ibn Ahmad al-Zuzani (Ms. no. 1610); of the Afghan manuscript of the 18th century Gulshan-i Afghan by 'Ali Akbar Oraqzay (Ms. no. 538); of a manuscript (no. 599) dated from 1841-1842 and containing the poem Yusuf va Zuleykha by 'Abd ul-Rahman Djami; and of a manuscript of 1629 (no.1036), the travel diary of the Iranian diplomat Muhammad 'Ali Bek Isfahani; as well a number of single miniature compositions from the collection of Louise Aslanian (Paris) (no.1999).

Affiliations: 1: Centre Caucasien des Études Iraniennes, Erevan

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