Strange Animals and Creatures in Islamic Miniatures: Focusing on Miniatures of the Conference of the Birds
Keywords:Miniature, Iranian miniature, Animal, Symbol, The Conference of the Birds.
Strange animals and creatures have always existed in every mythological culture. In Iran's pre-Islamic and post-Islamic miniatures and reliefs, there are many strange animals and creatures such as dragons and phoenix which were associated with the Iranian culture and civilization. Because of presence of these strange creatures, particularly human life, these creatures are first used in mythological life and then symbolically to express human ideas. However, these animals were present in both mythology and epics and, later in the Islamic era, in the mystical stories, educational stories and admonishing anecdotes like Sanai, Attar, and Rumi. This study tends to investigate genealogy of strange animals and creatures in ancient Iranian reliefs and their continued presence in miniatures of Islamic era as well as presence of these creatures in miniatures which are based on Attar’s Conference of the Birds. In fact, this study reviews elements and symbolic concepts of animals, allowing a deeper understanding of function of elements and symbolism in works of Iranian miniaturists. Contemplation of miniatures, icons and the relationship between literature and miniatures will lead to many results in recognition of mystical intellectual foundations. Therefore, this study tends to investigate mysterious and unknown aspects of Iranian miniatures and find their relationship with culture and stories.
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