Silk Roads The Safavid Empire (1502 – 1736) Turkish conquerors of Persia and Mesopotamia.
Rise of an empire The Safavid Empire came into being on the heels of a corrupt leader, Yaqub (1478-90). While trying to regain his reputation, the door had been opened for the Safavid Shi’a. The Safavids were a militant Islamic Sufi who adopted the Shi’a branch of Islam. Isma'il, a 13 year old boy out to avenge his father’s death, returned to conquer Tabriz and make it his capital city in 1502. He created the strongest Iran, and would be named Shah, or King on March 11, 1502. Painting depicts Shah Isma’il killing Uzbek leader Mohammad Sheybani in a battle near Merv, 1510 – Imagecourtesy of IranChamber.com
Religious beginnings and deceptions Along with his successors, Shah Isma’il perverted history and documentation where necessary in order to suit his main purpose of propaganda. Combining the mysticism of the Sufi, a belief that would bring God and man closer through a personal relationship, and any other belief that fit their purpose at the time, Isma’iland his religious followers would eventually settle on a type of Shiism that was attractive to the nomadic Turks coming in from a post-Mongol ruled area. Safavid propaganda included the story of the Twelve imams (religious leaders) in succession of Muhammad, and suggested that Isma’il himself was the “hidden” imam that went into hiding to escape persecution. While blasphemous to many, the “red heads” or qizilbash believed it without doubt and pledged their financial support to the Safavid.
Battle of Chaldiran (1514) Because of Shah Isma’il’s militant traits and Shiism, his forces held a very distinctive appearance, and the population being primarily Sunni was a recipe for hatred and enemies. The Sunni also persecuted the Shiites of the Ottoman Empire and battle was the result of religious tension.
Qizilbash The “red heads” did not thing guns were manly, and that pride caused their slaughter by the Ottoman’s at Childiran in 1514.
Shah abbas the great From 1588- 1629, Shah Abbas the Great reined over the Safavid territory and moved his capital to the city of Isfahan. Under his rule, he conquered northern Iran, Mesopotamia and Caucasus and revitalized the empire. Shah Abbas sought alliances with the Europeans against the Ottoman Empire.
Gunpowder and gun power The Safavid army used gunpowder and guns, but also used propaganda to scare their enemies into not attacking them. Firearms included all types of cannons and handguns. A Persian gun barrel made of twisted steel ca. 17th Century
The Safavids participated in the global trade routes for centuries. Isfahan was promoted as the center of commerce by Shah Abbas. Crafted items, ceramics, rugs, and especially raw silk was highly sought after. The Safavids traded regularly with these companies: English East India Company, Dutch VOC, and the French East India Company. Woven with gold Trade caravans
Arts of the Islamic WorldSale: D09004 | Location: DohaAuction Dates: Session 1: Thu, 19 Mar 09 8:00 PM LOT 301A SAFAVID VOIDED SILK VELVET, METAL THREAD STRIP AND BOUCLÉ FIGURAL PANEL, PERSIA250,000—350,000 USDLot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 3,442,500 USD measurementsthe textile approximately 74 by 107cm.at widest point, overall dimensions including mount approximately 81 by 113cm.Descriptionearly 17th centurymounted on silk, stretcher support Golden Threads
Textiles of Central Persia
59cm(W) x 59cm(L) / 1'11"(W) x 1'11"(L)
Esfahan, Central Persia
Mid 17th century (1634 - 1666)
a conglomerate of 7 pieces. Stains on the silk backing; no stains to the front.
silk and gold metal thread
mille fleursbotehs. Probably from a royal coat or robe. No stains on the front. What you see are shadows; the gold metal thread is very reflective and difficult to photograph. 17th century.
Cultural Traditions Steppe traditions were strongly administered in the Safavid Empire. These were mainly through autocratic rule by the empire. Shah Isma’il forced Shiism on his people.
Architecture The Safavid Empire differed from the Ottoman and Moghuls in their vast use of nature in their cities. Palaces had large verandas and pools were strategically placed throughout. The traditions of Persian kingship provided for accessibility and visibility to his people.
Choga Zanbilan ancient Elamite zigguratcomplex in the Khuzestan province of Iran.
Iran boasts some of the most skilled artisans in the world for inlaid marble techniques and mosaics.
Domes, asymmetrical palaces, and relief carvings show the beauty of Iranian creativity.
Ancient artisans completed incredible works of artistry that made up their palaces and grand buildings.
Women, Food, and Culture
Iranian Cuisine Not much has changed in the traditional cuisine of Iran. One still finds dishes like yogurts, Tabouli, and Hummus.
KhoreshGhaymeh: A Traditional Iranian Dish with Meat and Yellow Split Peas Ingredients:Serves 4-62 pounds meat (lamb or beef), washed and cut into small pieces1 cup yellow split peas, picked over and washed, no need to pre-soak. You may use 1 1/2 cup of peas if you like.1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced or chopped 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste 3-4 dried lemons (limooamani) may be purchased from an Iranian grocery store. Soak them in water and then pierce them in a few places with a dinner fork.1/2 teaspoon turmericJuice of 1-2 lemon/limes1 teaspoon rose water (optional)Vegetable oil for sautéing meat and onion (about 2-3 tablespoons)2 large potatoes, peeled, sliced and fried for topping4 cups of waterSalt and pepper to taste Method:Place a heavy skillet on medium heat, add oil when it becomes hot add sliced onions and sauté till they turn translucent, add turmeric and stir. After a minute or two, add the meat and brown on all sides. Add a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well. Add the yellow split peas and sauté for 5 minutes. Add water to cover all the ingredients (about 4 cups) and spoon in the tomato paste. Mix thoroughly. Add in the dried lemon. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about one hour or an hour and a half till the meat is well-cooked. You don't want to over cook khoresh-e ghaymeh. Peas should also be well-cooked, but at the same time they shouldn't turn too soft and mushy. Add water and adjust the seasoning when needed. In the last ten minutes add the rose water and the lemon juice and cook. Ghaymeh is usually served with sliced fried potatoes on top. Other variations may be to cut them in cubes instead of slicing them or to cook them with the ghaymeh. Place ghaymeh in a serving dish and place the fries on top and serve warm with some rice, yogurt, salad and pickles (torshi).Enjoy!
Women and equality Not much has changed since the Safavid Empire. Women of Iran want more rights, but are still oppressed by Western standards.
Under Iranian law women are buried up to their breasts before stones are dropped on them. Its penal code states the stones used should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones". Officials say an increase in felonies committed by women prompted the new intake of female officers. Crimes range from the killing of husbands to drug-smuggling, robbery and armed assault…Time Magazine Women of the Safavid empire While some women in royal families may have enjoyed special privileges, most were kept in the home raising children and were permitted no rights or status. Women were kept like chattel in many respects. Not much has changed over the years, and even today, many women are still persecuted without proof. Being stoned to death his still a practice as well as creating laws like not allowing women to wear boots or hats.
The most popular form of plastic surgery in America is liposuction, but in Iran, where the female form is kept largely under wraps, women prefer to spend their money where they can show it off.So Iran, where the morality police used to confiscate eyeliner and lip gloss, is now the nose job capital of the world."A Western nose is more beautiful," says one young woman in Farsi. (CBS News) "Instead of being busy with women's hats and boots, the police would be better catching the merchants of death that kill our young people with drugs," she said from Tehran. "Our cities are infested by delinquents and security forces are only worried about how women dress, all this is really ridiculous.“ (www.hyscience.com)
Music and Art Mostly known for their beautiful textiles, music, literature, and art were also very skilled practices in Safavid Persia. Ferdowsī (lower left corner) with three poets in a garden, miniature from a Persian manuscript, 17th century; in the British Library Persian Instruments Khosrow II in front of Shīrīn’s palace, illustration from a late 15th-century Persian manuscript of the Khamseh by Neẓāmī.
Decline of an empire Once again, corruption and greed are at the heart of the end of the Islamic empires including Safavid. The ruling houses competed with each other and often fought. Religious tensions and domination of the Shiites crushed the Safavid dynasty. Constant fighting and the depletion of wealth led to the demise.