عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسنده [English]چکیده [English]
Studying history through images is a new approach to historiography, because most of the chronicles were expressed in the form of writing, and only part of information about the past may be visually presented. Images can serve as a basis for reviewing the scenes and essence of events, and, of course, a historical study where there is access to the visual documents is much more accurate than a narrative and written study. The visual arts were welcomed in the mid-Qajar era, and the arrival of the camera in Iran accelerated the process of visual documentation. Painting, also influenced by the West, gradually took a step further in the form of portraiture and image documentation alongside the camera. In the meantime, the social structure of the country evolved, influenced by the relationship with the West and modern thinking, and led to the enlightenment of the people in some ways. Following the dissatisfaction with the ruling power, the nation arose alongside the Ulama, meanwhile the influence of the Europeans and their influential relationship with a particular group of the society led to the growth of the upper class, and the women's community undergone transformations to allow for modern communications. The present article aims at investigating the effects of these movements on the content of murals in the second half of the Qajar dynasty and introducing these images as a historical-visual document to study the history of the era. This article investigates the subject by asking two questions: 1) what are some of the manifestations of the effect of society’s development and its modern visage on these murals? 2) To what extent can these murals be named as documents to study the history of this era? This research collects information through historical-interpretive method as field and desk studies, and compiles contents by collecting documents, writing, photographing and surveying the murals of this era. In this research, 73 tile paintings and 38 murals were investigated, which were selected on a case-by-case basis and based on a selective method regarding the research topic. This article presents 17 examples of these images.
Based on the results, by studying the images of this period, one can clearly explore the trace of the three aforementioned streams. Due to their place in society and to be paid respect to, religious Ulama played a role in the murals of public and semi-religious places such as the Tekyeh Moaven al-Molk, with the distinction that in the murals prior to this era, no monograph theme can be observed by Ulama, and can only be observed in the form of images such as court and collective assemblies. Also women, who had a distinctive status, were depicted in the decorations of the palace walls and private mansions. At this time, the woman's presence in the pictures respects her character. The woman is now seen dressed in glittering dresses, jewelry and modern make-up, displaying a distinctive image of herself. The aristocrat social class was also associated with the Europeans because of their wealth, and in pursuit of showing off their wealth, they turned to art which had been neglected. Because of their familiarity with the Western world, as well as imitating the royal court and exhibiting their power through art, they gave rise to the formation of murals in their personal mansions, with pictures of foreign and Iranian women and men with distinctive structures. The princes and nobles who had never been seen before in such murals were now a new subject for drawing, and in some cases the Europeans who were associated with them were depicted on the walls of the nobles' mansions. In the past, if there had been an image of the Europeans, it was based on a diplomatic approach, and in most cases a courtship ceremony or some kind of copy of postcard images, however, it was now recognized as a new theme in these murals. The second part of the findings of the present study showed that visual history, and in particular murals, can be considered as evidence in the study of history. However, these examples can only be studied as complementary to the written documents, and can be relied upon to investigate the status quo of affairs of the time, which is distinctive by changing the coatings and selecting distinctive styles and using modern manifestations in them. Certainly, and based on the results of this article, the paintings alone are not capable of accurately expressing the history, as some of them have undergone changes in relation to the originality of the subject, depending on the painters' taste, and the painter also, influenced by his own community, has accepted the effects of society in creating images of the community. Many of these effects such as imitating the West are mentioned in the article.