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This week we’re discussing the Greater Khorasan region and the Seljuk (or Seljuq

This week we’re discussing the Greater Khorasan region and the Seljuk (or Seljuq) Empire (1037-1194), which began as an ethnic Turkic movement of Sunni Muslims around Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan that eventually led to the takeover of most Abbasid territories in the Middle East for about 150 years when Abbasid control was waning. One of the central artistic production centers for the Seljuks in the 12th century was Kashan, located in north-central Iran. Kashan became known for its lustreware ceramics and distinct painting styles on bowls, plates, and other forms of pottery. This became known as mina’i ware, which was similar in style and composition to Chinese porcelain, except that Kashan mina’i ceramics were often much more vibrant in color palette, and they tended to reflect a shift in cultural values and ethnic identity in 12th-century Iran. Here in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum owns a substantial number of Kashan mina’i wares, only a small portion of which are ever on display. For your reflection this week, analyze the Kashan bowl in the attached PowerPoint. What does the iconography tell us about the values of more elite Kashani patrons? What can the figures or even the vessel itself tell us about the influence of the Silk Road on Islamic art in Iran during the Seljuk period? Your textbook contains additional information on these ceramics, beginning on p. 173. This week’s reflection is good practice for your final paper, where you’ll have to analyze a specific work of art in detail.

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