Šahrzâd and Šahrbâz

A Story Illustrated in Signs

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Author: Elham Etemadi1
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  • 1 Islamic Azad University etemadi.elham@gmail.com
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The Thousand and One Nights was illustrated under Sani’ ol-Molk’s supervision in 1854–1859 in Iran. In this article, I analyse an illustration of the story of Ŝahrzâd and Šahrbâz, which is the only image in the manuscript that displays the two characters in sexual relation. In analysing the illustration, I address three factors: the handwriting on the top left corner of the illustrated page, the difference between the illustration and the narrative in terms of the timing of the story, and the absence of Donyâzâd from the image. I argue that these factors reveal the painter’s adaptation techniques and his complex interpretation of the scene.

Contributor Notes

Elham Etemadi is an Assistant Professor of Art Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran. She earned her PhD in Art History from the University of Leuven, Belgium, with a dissertation entitled ‘Sani’ ol-Molk, The Thousand and One Nights and the Persian Art of Book Illustration: A Study in Iconography and Semiotics’. E-mail: etemadi.elham@gmail.com

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