A Life in Pictures
Series: Edinburgh Studies in Islamic Art
- ISBN: 9781474475006
- Published By: Edinburgh University Press
- Published: November 2021
Picturing the life story of Jalal ad-Din Rumi, a premier Muslim mystic and the original Whirling Dervish, the images in three extant manuscripts of Aflaki’s Wondrous Feats of the Knowers of God provide a unique way to interpret the text. Part One: History and Context provides the medieval Anatolian historical setting; the broad contours of literary and artistic works of Islamic Hagiography; and the specific details of the three manuscripts to be explored. Part Two: Text and Image proposes a method for interpreting a hybrid literary-visual document as a grand narrative of the Family Rumi at the inspirational and ethical core of a virtuous community: flourishing within a complex Muslim society under divine providence. Pictures in the three manuscripts were produced by studios of painters under the patronage of major late 16th-century Ottoman sultans. The result of their efforts is a kind of ‘visualised hagiography’ uniquely capable of suggesting distinctive and often surprising twists on the narratives, enhancing the text with images of striking beauty and rich detail.