Iranian Architecture/ Islamic Periods
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Persian Architectural Monuments- before Islam
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These following selected designs reflect the artistic cultural varieties and historical development of "Iranian Islamic Architectural Vision" and are the best "Islamic Architectural Monuments" of collectable drawings from the Islamic periods.

These architectural drawings are reproduced as a "Limited Edition", (on demand), from 12"X16" up to 30"X40" (100 X70cm) on a fine grade of artistic canvas or watercolor paper.

 

 
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Mosques of Iran and Central Asia (8-11 century):

Tarik Khana Mosque, Damghan, Iran: (between 750-89): Hypostyle, large axial nave, heavy cylindrical brick piers support elliptical, pointed arches; roof, barrel vaults.

Nine-domed Mosque (Masjid-i-Ta'rikh), Balkh, Afghanistan: (First half of the 9th century), open pavilion with only a qibla wall, heavy brick piers and coupled-columns on the side walls; carved stucco decoration similar to Samarra styles.

Masjid-i-Jami, Nayin, Iran: (10th century)
Hypostyle; heavy cylindrical pillars; carved stucco decoration. Minaret is a transition between western minarets and later Iranian ones.

Development of Mausolea:

The Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara, Uzbekistan: (ca. 914)
Built by Nasr ibn Isma'il, square canopy tomb; tapering walls; engaged columns on the corner; very rich decorative program using brick motifs and patterns. Dome support: ribbed, double-arched squinches.

The Tower Tomb of Gunbad-i-Qabus in Gurgan, Iran: (1006-7)
A ten-sided star plan, a high cylindrical tower (52 m) that ends in a conical dome. Paradoxically identified as a qasr in the inscription.

Architectural Terms:

Qubba: Literally "dome", but the word often signified the mausoleum of an amir or a pious man, which was usually, but not always, a cubical structure covered with a dome.

Mashhad: A complex term that means either a memorial for a shahid (witness of the greatness of God, but later exclusively meaning martyr) or a memorial for a true vision, which mostly involves the Prophet or members of his family.

Hazar-baf: a textile term borrowed in Persian brick architecture to designate the woven-like, checker-board quality of brick decoration that appeared in the ninth century.

Chahar taq: a term referring to the form of the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian fire temples of Iran; a domed square with an opening on each side and no doors

Dihqans: the landed nobility of pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia

Sasanians: dynasty which ruled Iran from 226-651; capital was Ctesiphon.

Sogdians: Central Asian people who inhabited and ruled the land roughly corresponding to the modern country of Uzbekistan up until the Arab invasion in the 8th century.

Ziyarids: dynasty which ruled part of the Caspian provinces of Iran from 932 to c. 1075; nominally Islamic but holding to pre-Islamic Persian traditions and claiming descent from the Sasanians; responsible for several tomb towers, including Gunbad-i Qabus and Pir-i Alamdar.

Samanids: dynasty which ruled part of former Sogdian territory from 819-1005; capital was Bukhara; patrons of New Persian literature, science and architecture.

The Abbasids: The second major Islamic dynasty (750-1258), were the descendants of al-Abbas, the Prophet's uncle, hence the name. Their effective rule lasted only for a little more than a century. After that they became the figureheads of an elusive Islamic unity that did not exist in reality.

The Great Seljuqs (1038-1194): A Turkish, Sunni dynasty which ruled the whole Iranian world (including Khurasan and Transoxania), Iraq, Syria, and parts of Byzantine Anatolia.
Nizam al-Mulk (1020-92): The able vizier of the Seljuq sultans who organized the structure of their state, promoted Sunni learning, and sponsored madrasas in Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, all called Nizamiyya.
Four Iwan Type: A structure with cross-axes ending in four iwans surrounding a courtyard. In four-iwan mosques and madrasas, the prayer hall is the largest iwan. The type first appeared in Khurasan, probably developed from ancient Iranian models. It was the most popular type in the medieval period, and remained dominant in Iran.

The Madrasa: The specialized institution of learning that was adopted by the Seljuqs to promote Sunni teaching. A madrasa usually contains a mosque, classrooms, and lodgings for students and teachers. Madrasas appeared most probably in Khurasan in the 9-10th c. and spread all over the Islamic world in the 11-12th c.

Muqarnas: Also called the stalactite or honeycomb, one of the most distinctive Islamic architectural elements used in domes, in domes' transitional zones, in cornices and friezes, in conches above entrances, and on friezes supporting balconies of minarets. Its origin, symbolic meaning, and date of first appearance are frequently debated.

The Safavids (1501-1732): Of an obscure origin which is most probably Sunni and Kurdish, the Safavids (named after a sufi master, Shaykh Safi) forged for themselves an illustrious genealogy that goes back to `Ali, and proceeded to forcibly change Iran into a Shiite state. In the process they shaped the modern image of the Iranian nation.

Shah Abbas I (1588-1629): The greatest Safavid monarch, he moved the capital to Isfahan in 1598, and built there a royal city that extended to the south of the old city and connected it with the Zayandeh river via a wide avenue, the Chahar Bagh (Four Gardens) Avenue. Shah Abbas's royal buildings were organized around his central Maydan or along the Chahar Bagh Avenue.

The Maydan-i-Shah: Among the largest open squares in the world (1700 by 525 ft), it was the focal point of Shah `Abbas's plan. Its four sides were lined up with shops on two levels, and each side of the Maydan had a monumental structure in its centre.

© Religious Architecture and Islamic Cultures, © britannica.com

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