Azerbaijan Medieval Arts
Historical region of Anterior Asia, today divided between the USSR (Soviet Socialist Rep. Of., With capital Baku) and the Islamic Rep. Of Iran (prov. Of., With capital Tabriz). Geographically between the southeastern slopes of the Caucasus, the southwestern coast of the Caspian Sea, the mountains of Kurdistan and the Armenian plateau, the Azerbaijan it includes the lower basins of the Kura and Arasse rivers to the North, the inner basin of Lake Urmia (or Riżā᾽iya) in the center, the Qïzïl Üzen-Safīd Rūd basin to the South. Seat between 63 BC and 226 AD of a Parthian kingdom under the Arsacids, when the town formed one of the bastions of Roman expansion in the East, the Azerbaijan it then became, until the Arab conquest of about 640, a Sassanid province (with a similar function of containing Byzantine pressure) governed by a marzubān (governor) based in Ardabīl. The medieval period can conventionally begin with the Arab conquest which took place between 18 and 22 aE / 639-643, which was followed by a process of Islamization which in the initial phase did not hinder the exercise of pre-existing cults: Mazdeanism, then very practiced, as evidenced by numerous monumental buildings (Takht-i Sulaymān), and Christianity, which has long been rooted through Armenia among the populations of Caucasian Albania; in this region, between the Kura and the Arasse and called Arrān in Arabic, are known the longitudinal plan churches of Mingechaur (5th-6th century) with one nave, and of Kum (6th century), with three naves and those with a central plan of Kilisedağ, circular with ambulatory, by Liakit (5th-6th century), tetraconca with ambulatory, and by Mokhrenis (6th century), tetraconca with niches. 7th and the first half of the 11th) in the main regional centers (Derbent or Bāb al-Abwāb, Shamākhā and Baku in the extreme northern part, regions of Dāghistān and Shīrvān; Bardha῾a, Baylaqān and Ganja in Arrān; Bājarvān in Mūkān; Tabriz, Marāgha and Ardabīl in the southern part of the country) expressed the new needs of worship and civil life with buildings that, while adopting well-known typologies (mosque, school, caravanserai, bathroom), took on somewhat different local characteristics from other regions of the caliphate: the remains of two mosques from the first half of the century are proof of this. 8th, found in Aqsu and Shamākhā, with a rectangular plan with three miḥrābs, and the Syundi mosque, from the 13th century. 9 °, with a square plan with an eccentric dome on four free pillars. A second important phase began towards the middle of the century. 11 ° with the conquest of the country – and of most of the territories of the Baghdad caliphate – by the Selgiuqids, which took place between 1038 and 1194; since then the mostly Iranian population of the Azerbaijan and of the surrounding regions it became largely Turkish-speaking.In architecture the use of vaulted and domed wall structures was further specified, also due to the persistence of Byzantine and Armenian techniques and workers, which in the northern area used squared blocks of limestone, in the southern area, fired bricks and glazed majolica cladding. As in other regions of the Muslim world, architects (with the denominations of mi’mār, ustād or bannā) have sometimes left their names, signing the works in special inscriptions on the wall.Among the most important monuments preserved or documented with certainty are to mention the Friday mosque, of Urmiya, later transformed, and a mausoleum in the same city, the Sih-Gunbadh (1184-1185, the work of Abū Manṣūr ibn Mūsā).
According to Shoppingpicks, three other mausoleums are located in Marāgha: the Gunbadh-i Surkh (1147-1148, the work of the architect Abū Bakr Muḥammad), prismatic with a square base, furrowed on the outside by elegant blind arches; the so-called brick tower (1167-1168) and the elegant polygonal mausoleum Gunbadh-i Kabūd (1196-1197). the cylindrical minaret of the mosque of Muḥammad in Baku (1078-1079) and the very slender one, now lost, of Shamkhor (12th century); a series of mausoleums in the Nakhichevān region – where a local architectural school can be identified, also active in the subsequent Ilkhanid period – two of which, the octagonal türbe of Yūsuf ibn Quṣayr (1162) and the türbe of Mu᾽mina. Khatūn (1186 -1187), with a slender decagonal shaft decorated with stalactite niches, signed by ‘Ajam ibn Abū Bakr; the Gulistān mausoleum near Julfa, decagonal on a square base (12th-13th century); the first construction phases of the convent complex on the Pirsagat river (1256, the work of the architect Shaykh-Zāde Habubulla) which, similarly to what happens in the North African ribāṭ, encloses the founder’s mausoleum, decorated with luster majolica, within a fortified enclosure, the mosque with stucco miḥrāb framed by a Kufic inscription, accommodation for pilgrims, ablution basin and other environments. Among the works of military engineering are preserved: the fortification of Alinja Kala near Khanega (12th century); the so-called Tower of the Virgin in Baku (12th century, built by ‘Abd al-Majīd), the only surviving element of an urban wall that has now disappeared; the fortress in the Baku bay (1234-1235, by the architect Zayneddīn), with a stone inscription with figures of men and animals. contact with shamanic, Buddhist and Nestorian circles (but also with the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia, with the papacy and with the kingdom of France), the motifs of Central and Eastern Asia spread further. Little interested at first in the forms of urban settlement and architecture, the Ilkhanids then simultaneously initiated a process of Iranization, Islamization and urbanization, giving a strong impetus to the development of cities, monumental architecture and figurative arts, especially miniature. For strategic and commercial reasons they placed their successive capitals in Azerbaijan, first in Marāgha (where they built a palace complex begun in 1259 by Hulagu, equipped among other things with a school, library and an astronomical observatory which has been partially preserved.), then, in 1295, in Tabriz, radically renovated in its cultural and religious centers (including the Friday mosque of the citadel or of ‘Alī Shāh, of 1310-1320) and equipped with a new enclosure, while in the vicinity stood the two princely suburbs of Rashīdyya and Ghāzāniyya, both sites of complex charitable foundations. Between 1304 and 1316 the capital was moved in the south of the country to Sultāniyya, of which the vast area built at the time remains today only the sumptuous mausoleum of Sultan Öljaytü, dominated by an enormous double-hulled dome on an octagonal plan. ilkhanids of the Azerbaijan we can mention: the miḥrāb room of the Great mosque of Marand, some monumental mausoleums such as the Gunbadh-i Ghaffāriyya (1316-1317) in Marāgha – of the square type – and, in the same city, the Joy Borj (the ‘tomb a torre ‘) of 1330, with a circular plan, similar in this to the tower mausoleum of Sultan Ḥaydar in Khiav (1330) and the destroyed tomb of the daughter of Argich Āghā in Salmās, A series of road bridges (e.g. the one between Marāgha and Zanjān) and a system of resting places (e.g. the Marand and Sarchan caravanserais, of which some remains). In the northern area the most noteworthy monuments are the numerous mausoleums in the Nakhichevān region, including that of Karabaghlar, whose shaft is made up of twelve semi-cylindrical elements covered with polychrome majolica, that of Bardha῾a (1322), also cylindrical (work of the architect Aḥmad ibn Ayyūb), that of Kachin Dorbatli (1314), whose cruciform interior is enclosed within a dodecagonal drum, equipped with stalactite connections and marble inlays including figurations of facing animals; L’ interesting diagonal layout of the Great Mosque of Baku (1378-1379), built within an irregular polygonal lot; the Shaykh Khorasan cult complex in Khanega (13-14th century, built by Jamāladdīn) and the similar institutions built in Shikhovo (on the Apsheron peninsula) and Amirajani; some fortresses in the Apsheron peninsula: Mardakyan, Ramana and Nardaran (built in 1301 by the architect Maḥmūd ibn Sa’īd), where there is also a ḥammām (1388, the work of Gushtasif ibn Mūsā).
The radical remaking of the Great Mosque of Derbent (1368-1369, the work of the architect Tājaddīn), of the ‘high Mesopotamian’ type, with a transverse hall and dome over the miḥrāb compartment, also dates back to the Ilkhanid period after an earthquake. end of the century 13 ° and that of 14 ° operated in Azerbaijan, and particularly in Tabriz, in the residences of Rashīdiyya and Ghāzāniyya, groups of miniaturists, employed in the court workshops which, on commission of the sovereigns, illustrated the literary texts, mostly of epic or mythic subjects, of the great Persian poets Firdousī (10th-11th century), Niẓāmı (12th century), Sa’dī (13th century), Ḥāfiẓ (14th century); the iconography and style denote the confluence of different pictorial traditions, both local and imported, Islamic and external to Islam, giving rise however to elaborations of an original type.At the ‘school of Tabriz’ of the Ilkhanid period (1291-1335), whose undisputed master was Aḥmad Mūsā, is credited with the illuminated manuscript, now dismembered, known as Shāhnāma Demotte, characterized, even with respect to later works, by scenes of intense drama featuring characters in action. The activity of this school continued uninterrupted under the Gialairids (1335-1432), who succeeded the Ilkhanids in northwestern Iran by inheriting their capital Tabriz, and also continued in Baghdad after 1382, when this dynasty moved its headquarters there. It survived even after the devastating conquest of Tamerlane, because many artists, transferred by empire to the workshops of Herat and Samarkand founded by the Timurid kings, brought the contribution of the so-called Mongol-Islamic style. archaeological, ethnographic and historical of Tabriz preserves materials from Takht-i Sulaymān, glazed pottery from the Seljuk and Mongolian periods; the Muz. istorii Azerbajdžana of Baku preserves Sassanid, Byzantine and Arab coins, an inscription of the century. 5th-6th coming from Mingechaur, another of the century. 10 ° -12 ° from the walls of Baku, pottery, coins and a wooden quiver from a Mongolian period tomb. The Stepanakertskij istoričeskij muz can also be mentioned. of Stepanakert, capital of the autonomous territory of Larabal, in the Soviet Socialist Rep. of., and the Mus. historical and ethnological of Machač-Kala, capital of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Dāghistān.