Central Asian miniature painting
The illustrations to Fatkh-nama a chronicle of Sheibani-Khan's victories done upon his order between 150207 (Tashkent, IOS AS of the Uzbek SSR, N 5369) by his court historiographer Mollah-Muharamad Shadi give an idea of the style of those years. The language of the Fatkh-nama miniatures is neatly-expressed and laconic. The elegant and laconic language of Fatkh-nama miniatures is noted for the simplicity of composition, and scarcity of figures, statically and symmetrically arranged.


WARRIORS-MUSICIANS. Bundjikat. 7th  8th century
WARRIORS-MUSICIANS. Bundjikat. 7th 8th century


The chronicle sings praises to the recent events and not to the epic heroes; its personages are stocky warriors in the saddle and hunters endowed with distinctive local ethnic features. The compositions are at large represented against the background of yurts and tents; with time it is this feature that will put the Central Asian miniature in a class by itself, determining their golden-olive-violet colours, which echo the entire landscape the glowing sky, the sun-sweltered steppes and the haze-shrouded hills on the horizon. The production of manuscripts in the Samarkand Kitab-khane court workshops under Sheibani-Khan seems not to be well organized, therefore they were very often decorated by non-professional artists.
In the years 15201530 the so-called Kitab-khane is now known for certain to have been linked with the name Ubaidulla-khan, Bukhara's vicegerent, in effect the head of the Sheibanids. In the years of his reign (153339) Herat was repeatedly invaded, which caused its impoverishment, and the increase of Bukhara's cultural values, manuscripts inclusive.
All this accounts for the Heart features in the Bukhara school of art, yet, it would be wrong to underestimate the local traditions and the specific features of the Sheibanid culture; with a view to enhancing the fair name of the dynasty they strengthened its ties with the art of the Timurids. Elements of the traditional started stepping up in various social realms: historiography was being revived, works of classics were copied and illustrated anew, imitation poetry came into being and was the official trend in Bukhara's literary life. Very much the same can be said about the miniature where traces of Bekhzad were clearly open to the eye. Thus, for example, there is a great likeness between the composition of Darius meets shepherds from Saadi's Bustan and that of an early painting of Bekhzad on a similar subject (1488, Cairo, National Library). The miniatures of 15201530 are surprisingly bright and cheerful, marked by high quality representation. Part of them have been painted by incoming masters. (Bustan by Saadi, MMA, New York, N 11.134.2; Yussuf and Zulaikha by Jami, MMA, N 13.228.5; Mikhr va Mushtari by Asaar, Anthology. IOS AS C - 860, Leningrad).

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