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Paper Information

Journal:   NEGAREH   summer 2018 , Volume 13 , Number 46 ; Page(s) 60 To 73.

Studying the Attribution of Time, Place and the Artist’ s Identity to an Archway Decorated with Polychrome Tilework

Author(s):  GHASEMI ZAHRA*, Arabbeygi Abolfazl
* Faculty or Art, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran
Tilework decoration has an importance role as an art in Iran's architecture. Almost all Iran's architectural masterpieces have taken advantage of glorious tilework that are beautifully painted. The polychrome tilework of the Qajar period reveals the pictorial identity of its era which has a different artistic style comparing to earlier periods. In spite of some similarities in artistic style, the decorative tiles of this era have their own characteristics in each region (Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz). Shiraz’ s tile makers of this period provided particular polychrome tiles with specific features according to costumes and folkloric culture and established the Shiraz school of tiling. The enormous use of polychrome tiles with various subjects decorating both inside and outside of nonreligious buildings, especially residential buildings, is an important character of Shiraz tilework in the Qajar era. The themes of this tiles revitalize national-religious, cultural and traditional desires. These themes which are the combination of Shahnameh’ s tales within folk narratives and sacred fictions, famous male and female portraits in European costumes, and flowers and birds known as Gol-O-Morgh are painted in naturalistic style. Another characteristic of Shiraz tiles is the use of bright and lighthearted colours such as pink, purple, brown, yellow, green, white and blue, however it must be noted that pink is more prominent than other colours. The composition, colours, motifs and painting style of these tiles are repetitive in most of the buildings of this period. Just like the rest of Iranian art pieces that have been smuggled from Iran, the tile works of the Qajar era have been sold in antique auctions and are kept in personal and public collections and museums out of Iran. This article studies an archway decorated with inscriptive polychrome tiles which was located in an art auction house: Bonhams, London. Paintings of this archway depict Solomon's kingdom, birds and flowers, Gol-O-Morgh motifs, separate frames of Qajar women and young couples. The visual impact of this archway is very similar to the tile decorations of the rest of the buildings in shiraz during the Qajar era and the two inscriptions below this archway’ s pillars demonstrate this piece was made by master Ebrahim’ s factory and ordered by Haji Abdolmohamad. This article concentrates on the tilework of this archway, comparing its common features with the other contemporaneous similar tileworks in Shiraz such as that of Namazi clinic, Salehi and Atrvash historic houses as well as clarifying the time, place and the identity of the artist attributed to this archway, in addition to recognizing the specific features of the Shiraz school tiling based on available documents. The method of this article is comparative-analytical and data has been gathered via field study and library research. The following results of this article represent that this archway is related to tileworks of the mentioned places in Shiraz in terms of themes, motifs, colour palette and colouring method which elucidate that the archway belongs to the Shiraz school of tiling in the late Qajar period. Also examination of the inscriptions of this archway and other available inscriptions in the mentioned places, clarifies that the artist of this tilework is Ebrahim Ibn Fereydoon whose signed works exist in Namazi clinic and Vakil masque and that he was a tile maker from Shiraz during the late Qajar era and he was contemporaneous with "Mashhadi Abootaleb" the architect and "Mirza Abdolrazaq", one of the most famous tile makers of Shiraz in the late Qajar era. Despite previous researches on Qajar tiles, due to the wide geographic extent and large numbers, these tiles have a great deal of research potential in different aspects of technical and decorative styles. Field and documentary studies on artworks outside Iran's borders are necessary for the sake of understanding the origin of artistic identity and the preservation of cultural values.
Keyword(s): Qajar Era,Polychrome Tile,Shiraz School of Tiling,Ostad Ebrahim,Mirza Abdolrazaq
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