The Persian Album, 1400–1600
This groundbreaking book examines portable art collections assembled in the courts of Greater Iran in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Made for members of the royal families or ruling elites, albums were created to preserve and display art, yet they were conceptualised in different ways. David Roxburgh, a leading expert on Persian albums and the art of the book, discusses this diversity and demonstrates convincingly that to look at the practice of album making is to open a vista to a culture of thought about the Persian art tradition.
The book considers the album’s formal and physical properties, assembly, and content, as well as the viewer’s experience. Focusing on seven albums created during the Timurid and Safavid dynasties, Roxburgh reconstructs the history and development of this codex form and uses the works of art to explore notions of how art and aesthetics were conceived in Persian court culture. Generously illustrated with over 175 images, many rare and previously unpublished, the book offers a range of new insights into Persian visual culture as well as Islamic art history.
David J. Roxburgh is professor of the history of art and architecture, Harvard University.