TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

Ancient manuscript untouched by time

07 December 2021 [14:16] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

Miniature art takes a major place in the country's history. For hundreds of years, it has not lost its charm and beauty. 

Miniatures, painted for "Varga and Gulsha", are considered some of the ancient patterns of this art in Azerbaijan as well as the Near and the Far East.

Ancient manuscript untouched by time

"Varga and Gulsha" is the only manuscript of the 13th century that has completely survived to our time, the original of which is kept in the Topkapi Museum in Turkey.

The epic "Varga and Gulsha" is based on the verses of the 11-century Persian poet Ayyuki, who told the ancient oriental legend about the boundless love of young people and their overcoming obstacles on the way to finding each other.

The plot of the manuscript is found in such works as "Leyli and Majnun", "Farhad and Shirin", "Abesalom da Eteri", "Romeo and Juliet". It includes 71 miniatures painted by Abdulmomin Mahammad al-Khoyi.

Earliest miniatures surviving till now 

Illustrations of "Varga and Gulsha" are the earliest among the eastern miniatures that have survived to this day.

For many years the manuscript has been the subject of close research by a number of scientists, but there has not yet been a full-fledged collection that includes the entire cycle of illustrations.

Now the literary and artistic masterpiece "Varga and Gulsha" has rightfully taken its unshakable place in the Azerbaijani culture. 

Main artists features 

The miniatures strictly correspond to the canons and feature a number of unshakable rules that do not depend on the text, and sometimes contradict it. All pictorial elements are strictly regulated, including faces, gestures, clothes.

So, the faces in "Varga and Gulsha" are depicted with a small red mouth and dark pink, almost red cheeks. No attention is paid to the body images and only the poses differ to concretize the nature of the action.

In almost all miniatures, horses are shown in profile. Their tail is usually curled into a knot and sometimes falls freely. If the horse is standing, then all the hooves touch the ground. Birds are also depicted in certain conventional poses. They are disproportionately large in comparison with trees, sit on branches or on the ground.

"Varga and Gulsha" shown in  Baku

A  book with illustrations in a miniature manuscript "Varga and Gulsha" has been recently presented at the National Art Museum. 

Culture Minister Anar Karimov, National Art Museum Director Chingiz Farzaliyev, Secretary of the Azerbaijan Writers' Union, People's Writer Chingiz Abdullayev, Georgian art critic Irina Koshoidze and many others attended the event. 

Anar Karimov noted that Azerbaijan's miniature was included in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List in 2020.

He touched upon samples of Azerbaijani culture stored at a world-famous museum which still remains unknown.

The culture minister stressed the importance of their presentation to a wide audience, especially young people.

Chingiz Farzaliyev noted that the new publication is a view of the 21st-century artist to the 13th-century miniatures.

Chingiz Abdullayev emphasized that only a book is capable of preserving and transmitting information to future generations through time. 

Georgian art critic Irina Koshoidze stressed that Azerbaijani art played a huge role in the development of art in the entire South Caucasus.

The samples of Azerbaijani culture stored in Georgian museums are magnificent and are indisputable masterpieces that will always attract the attention of not only ordinary people but also art critics and scientists.

The presentation featured a video showing the book illustrations.


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