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What is Persian Miniature?

The term miniature is the abbreviated form of Minimum Natural that literally means a small elegant nature. In the Persian artistic glossary, however, this term basically refers to as any elegant artwork. This type of painting that consists of many details has been commonly practiced since the middle Ages. What is Persian Miniature 

Persian Miniature is a special painting that was common during the fifteenth century. In this type of painting, Iranians did not observe the perspective and proportion rules. That is, images in Persian miniature paintings don’t represent the real world. In addition, in these paintings colors are used merely for decorative purposes, and details are displayed very clearly.

What is Persian Miniature
What is Persian Miniature

History of Miniature Painting

According to the History of Persian Miniature, the first artists who used this technique were familiar with Chinese miniature art. In fact the Persian miniature was the same as Chinese miniature except for the Iranian taste and skills that were integrated into them. Some art historians, however, believe that Moghuls exported the Persian miniature to India and then to China.

Nevertheless, the Persian miniature has its own specific features that have been maintained over time. Today, Iran is among the few countries that are involved in this field.

Iranian painting has undergone fundamental changes over the history. But experts recognize the paintings in the “VarqawaGolshāh” that dates back to the eighth century as the oldest miniature works of all times. Despite covering some paintings, the book VarqawaGolshāh is still the first illustrative book in the Islamic world. Even some art historians believe that the Chinese miniature has influenced these miniatures. In fact, we can find motifs and pictures similar to those used in Iranian miniatures in the artworks associated with Indian and Ottoman schools.

What is Persian Miniature
What is Persian Miniature

Different miniature designing techniques

Each of the leading masters in this field made some changes in the conventional techniques that their ancestors commonly used. Besides, Iranian artists have generally divided the design techniques into three classes:

  • Color design: the artist use a specific color in some parts of the color scheme. For example, the golden color is a must in this design technique but the background remains intact. The color schemes were commonly used in the Safavid period and in the artworks of Reza Abbasi.
  • Color-free design: This technique has been practiced throughout the Persian miniature history. In this technique Iranians only used black colors and a brush to paint the white backgrounds of the paintings. Sometimes they also replaced black colors with dark colors such as brown, red, and blue.
  • White font Design: If the designers use a brush and white colors on a dark screen, they have applied White font Design. Initially, artists used this technique to decorate and design oily covers which were mostly black. In addition to white, painters sometimes used golden colors or other bright colors in these designs. 

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