Folio from De Materia Medica (The Medicinal Properties of Plants) translated into Persian
Deccan India, September 1595 CE
Paper, ink, pigments
This folio is a Persian translation of a 1st-century AD text by the Greek physician, Dioscorides, detailing the properties and preparation of medicinal plants. The first Arabic translation of the original Greek text was completed in the 9th century in Baghdad, after which the work spread throughout the Islamic world, laying the foundation for the study of botany and pharmacology among Muslim scholars and scientists. Arabic versions of Dioscorides’ text provided the basis for translations into Latin, Persian and Armenian. Written in nasta’liq script, this folio follows the iconography of Arabic versions of the work, although the illustrations have an artistic freedom and vibrancy that are typical of the Deccan.
Star-shaped tile with two figures
Iran, Kashan, 1230
One of the significant contributions of potters from the Islamic world is lustre painting. This technique involved the application of metallic glazes on already fired surfaces. The objects would then be fired a second time to produce a shiny metallic veneer over the existing glaze.