Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide to the Visual Poetry
Introductionpage 1page 2page 3Persian Poetry and Paintingpage 1page 2rizaingpage 1page 2Persian Poetry and Paintingpage 1page 2
Hidden within the pages of scientific, historical, or poetic texts, intricately designed images have formed an integral part of Persian manuscripts since at least the thirteenth century. They illustrate particular moments in the narrative and enhance the overall visual beauty of a work.

In the latter part of the fifteenth century, the relationship between word and image became increasingly relaxed. Manuscript paintings began to occupy entire pages, while the text was relegated to small panels or eliminated altogether. This new aesthetic led in part to the development of paintings and drawings outside the context of the book.

The genre reached its zenith in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries during the rule of the powerful Safavid dynasty of Iran (1501–1722).
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Suggested Resources

Woman with a Veil, 
attributed to Riza Abbasi
Woman with a Veil
Attributed to Riza Abbasi (ca. 1565–1635)
Iran, Isfahan, ca. 1590–95
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
34.2 x 21.5 cm (13 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.)
Lent by the Art and History Trust    LTS1995.2.80

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