The Persian Album, 1400-1600

From Dispersal to Collection

David J. Roxburgh

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This groundbreaking book examines portable art collections assembled in the courts of Greater Iran in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Made for members of the royal families or ruling elites, albums were created to preserve and display art, yet they were conceptualized in different ways. David Roxburgh, a leading expert on Persian albums and the art of the book, discusses this diversity and demonstrates convincingly that to look at the practice of album making is to open a vista to a culture of thought about the Persian art tradition.

The book considers the album’s formal and physical properties, assembly, and content, as well as the viewer’s experience. Focusing on seven albums created during the Timurid and Safavid dynasties, Roxburgh reconstructs the history and development of this codex form and uses the works of art to explore notions of how art and aesthetics were conceived in Persian court culture. Generously illustrated with over 175 images, many rare and previously unpublished, the book offers a range of new insights into Persian visual culture as well as Islamic art history.

David J. Roxburgh is professor of the history of art and architecture at Harvard University.

“A great deal of thought went into the selection, arrangement, and display of the work in the albums, which therefore offer significant insights into the traditions and values of Persian artistic culture. . . . Beautifully produced, with clear illustrations, this enriching study illuminates some otherwise neglected areas of Persian and Islamic art. . . . Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.”—Library Journal

Selected as a 2006 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine

Received Honorable Mention for the 2006 Saidi-Sirjani Book Award, sponsored by the International Society for Iranian Studies.
ISBN: 9780300103250
Publication Date: March 11, 2005
392 pages, 8 3/8 x 11
125 b/w + 51 color illus.
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