Decoration of Fabrics in Sasanian Dynasty Based on Isfahani's Arabic Description of Paintings of Molouk-e- Bani Sasan
In a part of an Arabic book called Taʾrīk̲h̲ sinī mulūk al-arḍ wa ’l-anbiyāʾ (The History of Prophets and Kings; 4th AH / 10th AC), Hamza ibn al-Hasan al-Isfahani had described the garments of twenty four Sasanian Kings as well as two Sasanian queens based upon paintings presented in the lost book of Sovar Molouk Bani Sasan (The Effigy of the Sasanian Kings). He used five major categories to explain the kings’ and queens’ trousers and garments: 1. Be-Lown, 2.Movashah, 3.Vashy-e- be Zahab, 4. Vashy-e- Modannar, 5. Vashy-e- be Lown. He accompanied the description of each of these clothes within the five mentioned categories with a specific description of color. The meaning of these terms has been changed during centuries. The various and sometimes even contradictory descriptions of these clothes in the contemporary translations and exegesis are the results of the same historical changes and expansions of the meaning of these terms. The research in hand, is based upon the signification of the mentioned terms in Ancient Arabic, re-reading of the historical texts, a nuance observation in the representation of kings’ and queen’ garments available on the Sasanian metal works and relieves as well as reading the remaining fragments of Sasanian textiles kept in world’s museums, to 1. establish the proper meaning of these Arabic terms; 2. Identify a group of Sasanian textiles in accordance with the paintings in Sovar Molouk Bani Sasan; 3. Examine Isfahani’s precision in terms of the archeological findings. This research indicates that Be-Lown refers to colored fabrics without any patters; Movashah is used to present the clothes that are decorated with various gems as well as peals; Vashy-e- be Zahab refers to various usages of gold in decoration of the Sasanian garments, for instance the textiles woven with gold strings, silk fabrics with golden embroidery of various patters; or the fabrics with painted golden patterns. Vashy-e- Modannar refers to the fabric which might be the most famous Sasanian textile. These fabrics present repetitive circular frames. This form had been adapted by many Weaving workshops in Byzantium, Far East, Soghdian and Islamic workshops after the fall of Sasanian Empire. Some fragments of the products of these weaving workshop as well as the fragmentations of the original Sasanian fabrics are being kept in museums across the globe such as Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Hermitage Museum The Art Walters Museum, etc. Vashy-e- be Lown presents the kind of dyed fabrics, either colorfully or in a single color (such as red, blue, yellow, green and another natural color), producing a marble like appearance or a fabric with bodies of haphazard lines as decorating elements. All kinds of fabrics available in this fashion are wrongly labeled as Yemeni in contemporary times. This research benefits from a historical approach. In order to analyze data, the descriptive, comparative and analytical methods have been used. The data have been gathered in the librarian method and the analysis is qualitative.
Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Journal of Fine Arts, No. 74, 2018
69 - 78  
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