year 5, Issue 10 (2-2016)                   mmi 2016, 5(10): 105-122 | Back to browse issues page

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Javani A, Javani A, FEIZABI B. Analyzing the Kufic Writings of Qavam al-Din Shirazi’s Architectural Ornamentation in Gazirgah, Herat . mmi 2016; 5 (10) :105-122
1- Isfahan University of Art ,
2- Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan
3- Isfahan University
Abstract:   (5592 Views)

The Perso-Islamic architectural ornaments have always been of great importance for the scholars of art and architecture. The grand master, Qavam al-Din ibn Zayn al-Din Shirazi (active during 813-842 A.H.), has been one of the most influential architects in this style of architecture and most renowned for his leading prominence in this style, especially its relevant architectural ornamentations. This study explores the designing style of Qavam al-Din Shirazi in the Kufic Mo’aqqali patterns and inscriptions within the “square Kufic motifs, bearing the Ayah 84, Surah 17, Al-Isra” (here briefly called “square motif”), located in the Shrine of Khwaja Abdullah Ansari in Gazirgah, Herat. The aim of this study is to discover the link between this square motif and its sources of inspiration. The question is what underlying design system has been the basis of the square motif in this shrine. Thus, this research follows a descriptive-analytical method. In the process of DATA collection, apart from using the written historical sources and the writings of Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, this square motif has been kept under focus as our primary evidence and the first-hand observation source.

Therefore, through examining various resources and information on the subject, including the interpretation offered by Khwaja Abdullah Ansari in a chapter from his book, “Maydan-i Iradat” (the field of Willfulness) from the book “Sad Maydan” (The One Hundred Fields), it is understandable that the aforementioned verse alludes towards the significance of the intention in prayers; such an intention which would serve as the spiritual rites of the prayer during an inner journey, beginning with a noble intention; otherwise, if the initial intention is flawed, the entire journey would be considered futile. This seems to be the foundation upon which Qavam al-Din Shirazi has developed the conception of his design. On one hand, considering the quadruple arrangement of the verse on all the four sides of the square motif, and on the other hand, the repetition of the “Namaz’s” (prayer’s) content within the circumscribed Kufic writings, organized in the mo’aqqali design, it is conceived that through circumscribing the content of the square motif by the verse “Qul kullun yaAAmalu AAala shakilatihi” (Say: everyone acts according to his own disposition), he has visually and objectively infused its connotation into the circumscribed textual content; in other words, in this manner, he has actualized a visual interpretation for the concepts introduced by Khwaja Abdullah Ansari in the form of the architectural ornamentation.

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