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:: year 4, Issue 12 (8-2020) ::
Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2020, 4(12): 209-224 Back to browse issues page
Examining the Formal and Decorative Components of Safavid Arches as Evidenced by Contemporary Paintings and Miniatures
Mahboubeh Jelodar Dezfouli1, Mitra Shateri 2
1- M.A. in Archeology, Faculty of Conservation and Restoration, Isfahan University of Arts, Isfahan, Iran.
2- Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran. , shateri.mitra@lit.sku.ac.ir
Abstract:   (1043 Views)
Arrows and arches are among the weapons of the Safavid period that, in addition to battlefields, have a special place in courtier and hunting ceremonies .Therefore, it is undeniably important to identify the arches of this period. A small number of remained arches and the scarcity of relevant resources have made them difficult to study, but to study Safavid arches, one of the most important documents of this period namely Miniatures ,can be used; Because Safavid period Miniatures  were portrayed in a very realistic way in addition to aesthetic values. As a result of the war, various sites, including the arch, can be followed well. In addition to the introduction; classifying all kinds of bows and related tools, such as bow case and quiver, as one of the oldest and most important tools in the Safavid period is one of the main goals of this study. What are the types of answers to questions such as the arch and related tools in this course? What is the connection between their appearance and their function? And what decorative designs have been applied to the bows of this period? In this research, which has been done by the descriptive-analytical method and by collecting data as a library, comparison, analysis, and classification of arches are performed through 70 figures and the effect was drawn from the beginning to the end of the Safavid period. The results showed that at least four types of arches and six different types of quivers were used in different Safavid periods. Among them are the arches that were sunk in the center and had corners to the outside; more widely used and simple arches have been less useful. Among the types of motifs engraved on arches, commonly written inscriptions have played the most important role on the surface of arches, mostly in order to stimulate morale and the use of divine forces to defeat the enemy. Also, the role of bow or instrument related to it, such as archery ring, shows the importance of these objects in showing the authority of the Iranian court in foreign relations and its position as the official array of court men of this period.
Keywords: Bow, Bow Case, Quiver, Safavid Period, Safavid Miniatures.

The bow and arrow was considered as one of the royal weapons in the Safavid period. Due to the nature of the bow, few examples of this weapon remain, making it difficult to study bows and other related devices. In this study, in addition to emphasizing the position of the mentioned war tool in the army and Safavid society, the bows attributed to this period were studied and classified, and the information was obtained through a review of historical sources and related travelogues; Moreover, a comparative study was conducted between 20 paintings and 3 index murals with the role of bows and related tools in the Safavid era, which were selected from 70 collected samples. 
The purpose of this study was to introduce and classify different types of bows and related devices and to answer the questions: What types and patterns of use the bows and related devices in this period had? And what decorative motifs were used on the arrows of this period?
Research method: The information required for the research has been collected in the form of documents-library research and the data have been studied in a descriptive-analytical and comparative manner. The bow was one of the weapons with the string in the Safavid period. This toolkit has been used in wars and chases. The bow had a special place in the court structure of the Safavid period what we will examine in the following.

Safavid Period Bows
 The bow had a special place in the military structure of the Safavids, and like the sword, it was one of the basic weapons. Carrying this weapon has also been an honor for the upper classes of society, and it has been part of the rituals in the homes of people from different regions. 
Until the reign of Shah Abbas the Great, the weapons of the Ghezelbash were mostly bows and arrows. He made changes to the organization of the army to improve it, and one of the consequences was that the importance of using bows on battlefields diminished. 
Bow and related devices: To use this weapon in addition to a bow, one needed arrows and supplies such as archers or shrapnel and the box.
Types of bows: Examining the drawings and comparing the shapes of the bows showed the image of the four types of arches in this period.
Bow decorations: Most bows were gilded with bright colors. Sometimes the bow was covered with Saghari leather. These measures also protected it from the effects of weather and heat.
The bow case: Due to the negative effect of moisture on wood, bows were kept in special containers called “the bow case”.
Quiver: Among the paintings of this period, six types of arrows can be seen.
Tailpiece: One of the most important and common tools related to the bow is the tailpiece ring also known as the tailpiece. This group of rings has become common since the 9th century AH.

Although there are few surviving examples of bows and related tools in the Safavid period, the study of historical texts and documents and drawings, answers many questions about this warfare. The importance of the role of paintings and drawings of this period in responding to the types of bows and related tools is clearly visible. Studies on the works of this period found that the classification of bows into two types of hunting and war is incorrect about Safavid bows.
Regarding the appearance of the bow and its related instruments, the studies performed showed four different types of bows and six different shooting patterns. Variety in the shape of bows raises the question of whether there was a connection between their appearance and their function. In response, it should be said that the different shapes of the bow were by no means the reason for its different uses, and the comparison of the bows depicted in the scenes of war, hunting, and court showed no distinction between the bows.
In the decoration of the bows, the colored colors and the painted Saghari leather had a special place and in this way, they were protected from the effects of weather and heat. As mentioned earlier; the handles and corners of the bow of “Shah Ismail I” were gilded with plant elements and two inscriptions were written on the surface of the bow, mentioning the date of construction and the name of the builder and religious verses and phrases. This is true of the decorations of the arrow box and fragments, and with more emphasis on the tailpiece rings, so that their presence, even in non-combat images, indicates their existence as part of the official accessories of the Safavid court men.
Keywords: Bow, Bow Case, Quiver, Safavid Period, Safavid Miniatures.
Full-Text [PDF 1131 kb]   (259 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special Archeology
Received: 2020/02/14 | Accepted: 2020/05/1 | Published: 2020/08/31
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Jelodar Dezfouli M, Shateri M. Examining the Formal and Decorative Components of Safavid Arches as Evidenced by Contemporary Paintings and Miniatures. Parseh J Archaeol Stud. 2020; 4 (12) :209-224
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year 4, Issue 12 (8-2020) Back to browse issues page
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