A Comparative Study of Seven Planets’ Images in Metalworking Schools of Jazira, Northeast and Northwest of Iran during the 12th and 13th Centuries AH Based on Bronze Mirror from Mosul, Footed Cup from Khorasan and Brass Pencase from Azerbaijan
One of the most important subjects used to decorate the metalwork of the Middle Ages of the Islamic period was astrological images including the constellations, zodiac signs and seven planets. Also, the images of seven planets including the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, in Islamic metalwork have always been depicted in two ways, sometimes in combination with the zodiac signs and sometimes in isolation. In the present study, the second type is considered, which is imaginary. The purpose of this research is to consider and compare the isolated images of seven planets in the works of the three major metalworking schools during twelfth and thirteenth centuries, which are, respectively, Khorasan in the north-east of Iran, the Jazira, north of Mesopotamia, and the north-west of Iran. Because of the differences observed in the iconography of seven planets’ images in the products of these three schools, the following questions raised, including what are the stylistic and iconographic differences between the seven planets’ images of these three metalworking schools and what is the reason for these differences? In this research, we examined three important examples of the metalwork of these schools using descriptive-analytical method and then we compared them. On the island's metalwork, which used the seven planets’ images for the first time, each of the seven planets have been depicted in human form, sitting cross-legged and bearing their own traditional features, such as Mars that has a head and a sword, Saturn that carries an ax, and Venus that plays a lute. In the Khorasani metalwork, we see some slight changes in the overall illustration of these images and a major change in the iconography of Shams (Sun). Here, like the metalwork of the island, all of them, except for the sun, have a human body and sitting cross-legged. However, the multi-handedness of the seven planets’ images on one hand and existence of more than usual signs on the other hand, has revealed the difference between the iconography of planets’ images of the Jazira and Khorasan. In addition, another significant difference between these designs is in the image of the sun as well as the number of planets. The image of the sun in the metalwork of Khorasan, unlike the metalwork of the Jazira, is not human; instead it is a radiating circle containing three human faces. And in the metalwork of the Khorasan, the fake planet Jozhor is also shown next to the other planets. In the end, we should point out how these designs were drawn in the northwest of Iran where almost all the planets’ forms are similar to the designs of Jazira, showing influences from its seven planets’ form with no iconographic difference between them. The only distraction that can be seen in the seven planets’ images of this area appeared in the image of the sun. Here also, like the metalwork of Khorasan, the sun has not been depicted with a human body and appears with merely a radiating circle. However, the image of the sun in this area just surrounds one human face rather than three. The required data is collected through library research method. The results of the analysis of the findings and evidences suggest that there is a significant relationship between the iconography of the seven planets’ images in the metalwork of twelfth and thirteenth centuries and their geographic origins. Furthermore in the attributes assigned to each of these planets, effects of astronomical or astrological beliefs and perspectives of different geographic origins, which have led to the iconographic differences in their imagery, are evident. In general, it should be noted that the beginning of the illustration of seven planets in Islamic metalwork, based on the earliest sample, is attributed to the metalwork school of Jazira. It seems these images have been transferred from Jazira in the northeast of Mesopotamia to the northeast of Iran, and then from there, they returned to the northwest of Iran and have been depicted on the metalwork produced at the beginning of the Ilkhanid period.
Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Negareh journal, Volume:14 Issue: 51, 2019
23 - 36
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