عنوان مقاله [English]
Ajaib al-makhluqat wa-gharaib al-mawjudat (The Wonders of Creation, or literally “the Marvels of Created Things and the Miraculous Aspects of Existing Things”) by Zakariya ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (circa 1203−83) is among the best known texts of the Islamic world. It is often referred to as “The Cosmography”. The work begins with an introduction, and is followed by two sections; the first on supra-terrestrial, and the second on terrestrial creatures. Al-Qazwini concludes his work with a section on monsters and angels. The genre of Ajaib al-makhluqat (The Wonders of Creation), of which al-Qazwini’s work is the most famous example, includes texts in Arabic and Persian that describe the marvels of the heavens and the earth.
Knowing the styles of character design in the art of miniature, and study of its conception and evolution can be an inspiration for contemporary artists and open up new perspectives for them. In this way, the images of the amazing version of the Wonders of Creation by Zakariya al-Qazwini are a suitable case to study the character design in the central Asian imagery tradition. The selection of two distinctive versions from two different eras of the Ilkhanid miniature in Iran (Ilkhanid version from Munich Library-No.464) and the Mughal School in India (Mughal version from the library of Astan Quds Razavi-Mashhad-No.47893), from the beginning of authorship and painting of this version to the end of the dynamic miniature schools of the central Asia, can demonstrate the evolution of this style of portraiture.
The purpose of this research is to know the fixed and variable factors in designing the fantasy-fictional characters from the 13th to the 17th century AD, with a focus on two indexes and with a form-based attitude. This research is looking for answers to the following questions: What are the representational characterizations of imaginary-synthetic beings in the early version of The Wonders of Creation of Qazwini in the Ilkhanid School, and the version in the Mughal School? What are their communalities and differences?
The method of the study is analytic-comparative and the method of collecting information is library research. Statistical population of this study, in the first step and for analysis of general characteristics, is all of the pictures of imaginary-synthetic beings in the two versions, and in the last step and for the sake of analysis of professional characteristics, consists of five miniatures which are shared and equal in both versions.
The general results of the study show that the percentage of realistic images is higher in comparison with the fantastic ones in both versions. Among the images of the fantastic creatures in both versions, the special creatures of the sea possess a higher percentage, while the lowest percentage of the fantastic images in the Ilkhanid version is dedicated to constellations, and the lowest percentage of the fantastic images in the Mughal version to the special creatures of the land, angels and stars. Also, the commonality of characterization of imaginary-synthetic beings in the early version of The Wonders of Creation of Qazwini in Ilkhanid School, and in its counterpart in Mughal School, is derived from the style of Persian miniature and its explicit way in application of colors.
The Mughal version of the above-mentioned manuscript is painted with more saturated colors in comparison with the Ilkhanid version, which bestows more energy and dynamism to its characters.
The texture in the miniatures of the Mughal version is much more obvious and apparent as well, which lead to richness and high pictorial value in the miniatures of this version. The images in both versions have been well imbued with a type of extra-terrestrial and inorganic exaggeration and hybridization and manifest a mixture of heterogeneous elements. It is also noteworthy to add that the lines, compositions as well as low saturated colors are taken from the Chinese art, while the omission of the characteristic empty background in the Chinese painting has added an idealistic effect to the miniatures. In the Mughal-era version of The Wonders of Creation, the imaginary-synthetic figures suggest the inclination of artists to depiction of unrealistic themes and imagination. In the majority of the Mughal images, the tendency to use intense colors, attention to chiaroscuro and perspective are apparent, thus the colors are mature and dark, and the figures seem more corporeal. Finally, qualities such as the application of color and line, use of surrounding frame, realism or foreshortening are the obvious differences of these versions, which also emphasize the quality of portraiture in the Ilkhanid version in comparison with the Mughal one.