Persian Miniatures: The Bahari Lacquer Bookcover

The Bahari Lacquer Bookcover Shiraz circa 1575
The Bahari Lacquer Bookcover Shiraz circa 1575
The Bahari Lacquer Bookcover
Tabriz circa 1540(?) Shiraz circa 1575

This magnificent cover is in the Bahari collection and is Plate 1 in Sheila Canby's book Persian Painting.

I choose to include this in my study because I fail to see the justification for the attrabution to Tabriz and 1540 strikes me as a little early.

The Hunter with rifle is interesting. Firearms were introduced to Persia in in the late 15th century. Shreve Simpson citing Ta'rikh-i Amini came up with a date of 1471 when the Signory of Venice agreed to supply Uzun Hassan with Firearms. However she notes that Folio 64 B of the Haft Awrang of Jami is one of the earliest known representation of a rifle in a Persian miniature. 2. Since this one is not much later than that circa1575 seems about right. As for a city of origin the piece seems clearly in the style of the Shiraz school.

That presents us with a problematic attribution of a similar piece. The Bahari Lacquer bookcover is stylistically very similar. Attributed to Tabriz circa 1540 2 it presents a few problems for me. The rifleman would then be 15 to 25 years earlier that the one in the Haft Awrang and perhaps the earliest one known. The hats and turbans seem to correspond to the second half of the 16th century. Additionally some of the flowers grow downwards from under rocks which is a style I relate to Shiraz rather than Tabriz. I will have to take a closer look at some point since I do not understand the justification for an attribution of the Bahari cover to Tabriz circa 1540 when Shiraz later in the sixteenth century seems so much in order.

Attribution of Plate 73: Hunting Scene - Shiraz Circa 1575
The Bahari Lacquer Bookcover Shiraz circa 1575
The Bahari Lacquer Bookcover Shiraz circa 1575
Detail: Pastoral Scene Shiraz circa 1550 - 1560
The Bahari Lacquer Bookcover Shiraz circa 1575
If this is from 1540 then this would be one of the oldest images of a rifleman in Persian art