• Exhibitions - Imperial Threads Safavids

Featured Motifs

The Safavids (1501–1736)

The Ottomans (1299–1923)

The Mughals (1526-1857)

The Safavids in Iran stood at the crossroads between the neighbouring Ottoman and Mughal Empires, having taken over more or less the same region as their predecessors, the Timurids. This period witnessed a profound development in the arts of the book, greatly supported by royal patrons and ateliers, and resulting in an original Safavid style of painting. In addition to manuscripts, textiles and carpets were produced in great number particularly during the reign of Shah ‘Abbas (r. 1587-1629), as trade with Europe advanced and state workshops were established in the new capital Isfahan, among other cities.

Between war, diplomatic relations and political changes, precious objects were transferred across borders between the Safavids and their neighbours, whether as gifts or war booty, and artists pursued careers from one workshop to another. The objects on display in this section reflect the exchanges and developments of this period, while highlighting particular motifs shared across different artistic mediums.