Woodwork of the Timurid Period in Iran and Central Asia
The project “Retrieving the past, shaping the future: The woodwork of fourteenth to sixteenth century Iran and Central Asia in its cultural and historical context” aims to analyze and interpret a larger collection of a specific type (kind/ genre) of material culture which has been produced in Iran and Central Asia mainly during the Timurid period (c. 1370 to c. 1510).
While only few woodcarvings from a secular context have survived, the bulk of material, mainly doors, grills (mashrabiyas), minbars and cenotaphs, belongs or belonged to religious buildings, mosques, madrasas and mausolea, the latter ones often shrines of descendants of the Imams, spreading all over Iran, but with a strong focus in the northern provinces of Mazandaran and Gilan, rich on trees and therefor on wood, too.
Many objects contain inscriptions at various length providing beyond religious texts (Qur’an, Hadith among others) historical information as the name of the patron, the name(s) of the wood worker(s) (najjar) and the date when the object has been produced allowing to prepare a framework of dated woodwork during the 14th to 16th centuries.
Beyond its historical and art historical approach, this project also has a heritage related aspect: the ”virtual protection” of material which has been and still is under permanent threat to be neglected, over-restored or stolen.