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Ilkhanid Stucco Mihrabs in Central Iran: New Discoveries Concerning the Works of Two Distinctive Regional Workshops

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JournalBulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Nov 2020
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article examines a series of five Ilkhanid-era carved stucco mihrabs in central Iran, in the region of Kashan, and aims to demonstrate that they were produced by two distinct groups of craftsmen which operated in the area. Several of these mihrabs are little known, and the others have previously been attributed to the Seljuq period. The first group comprises the mihrabs in the Kashan Friday mosque, the Miyandeh mosque in Qamsar, and the ‘Ali mosque in Nushabad, while the second group consists of the one at the Baba Afzal mausoleum in Maraq, and the one in the Imamzadeh at Mahallat-i Bala. It is argued that these latter two were the work of a separate group of craftsmen, who also operated in Natanz.
The research builds on the ground-breaking works of Raya Shani and other scholars, and is based on a combination of the study of the style, artistic techniques, production technology, polychromy, and design principles of the carved stucco. The article provides new information on these aspects, as well as the mobility of craftsmen and the scale of production in the Ilkhanid period

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