The main scope of this lecture would be an attempt to interpret the 17th-century Safavid perception of Europe and Europeans in the so-called farangi-sāzi paintings (lit. making European). These paintings, certainly away from some pictorial principles of Persian painting, were created in a mixed atmosphere of disdain for European policy, as a result of the Safavid superiority complex, but enthusiasm for the exotic Western customs, habits and people. They represent some exotic aspects of a strange and alien world, without really worrying about represent it in all its complexity, or to pretend to demonstrate a deep knowledge of the West. It seems that they were almost content to present a Western cultural strangeness where men and women wear attractive dresses and caps while behaving generally very differently from what was seen as a respectful, religiously and traditionally legitimate relationship between two sexes in Iran.
These Persian paintings contained indeed a number of naked or semi-naked Western women, while the Safavid religious sources, especially those after ʿAbbās 1st - Mollā Majlesi’s treaties to name some- consider women as the marginal stratum. Then, one may wonder if the presence of these European women plays for the Muslim Iran the role of a Western delegacy, and meanwhile an eligible fantasy, since it practices on the foreign and exotic women geographically from an infidel distant religion.
29.06.2017 | 16:00