Architecture of Persuasion: Safavid cities in the 16th and 17th centuries

Architecture of Persuasion: Safavid cities in the 16th and 17th centuries

  • 09 Jan
    11 Jan

    Islamic Aesthetics

    Sussan Babaie

Architecture of Persuasion: Safavid cities in the 16th and 17th centuries

Image: Isfahan, Masjid-i Shah (currently known as the Imam Mosque), view into the prayer hall, 1611-1638. (photo credit Daniel C. Waugh)

These lectures explore the making of a newly configured Shi’i empire through architectural campaigns in capital cities of Tabriz, Qazvin and Isfahan, and the pilgrimage cities of Ardabil and Mashhad. Urban development projects, initiated by royal decree or by individual investments of the new elites—viziers, physicians, Perso-Indian and Armenian merchants; the role of Shi’ism in developing imperial legitimacy for Friday prayer and thus for congregational mosques; Shi’i shrine complexes; royal palaces, gardens, and mansions of the elite; these topics offer views into the social and aesthetic dimensions of Safavid architecture.

Day 1 : Tabriz and Ardabil: Inherited Traditions and Invented Empire
Day 2 : Qazvin: A New Beginning Under Shah Tahmasb
Day 3 : Isfahan: The Jewel in the Safavid Crown


Duration -

January 9, 10, 11, 2020

Timing: 6:30 - 8:30


Rs. 3,000

Sussan Babaie

Sussan Babaie

Sussan Babaie is Reader in Islamic and Persian arts at The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. Before joining The Courtauld in 2013, she taught at Smith College, the University of Michigan, and Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. She has curated the exhibition Strolling in Isfahan at the Sackler Museum of Harvard University, and installations of Islamic arts at Smith College and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
She is the author of Isfahan and Its Palaces: Statecraft, Shi‘ism and the Architecture of Conviviality in Early Modern Iran (2008 and paperback 2018), and co-author and editor of several books including Iran After the Mongols(2019), The Mercantile Effect: On Art and Exchange in the Islamicate World During the 17th and 18th Centuries (2017),Honar: The Afkhami Collection of Modern and Contemporary Iranian Art (2017), Persian Kingship and Architecture: Strategies of Power in Iran from the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis (2014), Shirin Neshat (2013), and Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran (2004, paperback 2018). Currently, she is working on a book about the intersections between visual and gustatory taste in early modern Iran.
Babaie studied Graphic Design (BA, Tehran University), History of Renaissance Arts (MA, American University, Washington, DC), and History of Islamic Arts (PhD, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University). Her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (United States), the Fulbright (for Egypt and Syria) and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.