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The Timurid Renaissance was a historical period in Asian and Islamic history spanning the late 14th, the 15th, and the early 16th centuries. Following the gradual downturn of the Islamic Golden Age, the Timurid Empire, based in Central Asia ruled by the Timurid dynasty, witnessed the revival of the arts and sciences. The movement spread across the Muslim world and left profound impacts on late medieval Asia.[1] The French word renaissance means "rebirth", and defines a period as one of cultural revival. The use of the term for the description of this period has raised reservations among scholars, some of whom see it as a swan song of Timurid culture.[1][2]

The Timurid Renaissance was marked simultaneously with the Renaissance movement in Europe.[3][4] It was described as equal in glory to the Italian Quattrocento.[2] The Timurid Renaissance reached its peak in the 15th century, after the end of the period of Mongol invasions and conquests.

Based on Persian-Islamic ideals,[5] the symbols of the Timurid Renaissance include the rebuilding of the Samarkand and the invention of Tamerlane Chess by Timur, the reign of Shah Rukh and his consort Gawhar Shad in Herat (a city which rivaled Florence of the Italian Renaissance as the center of a cultural rebirth),[6][7] the period of the astronomer and mathematician Ulugh Begh (along with notable polymaths and Islamic scholars), and the construction of additional learning centers by the art patron Sultan Husayn Bayqara.[8] The Timur reign experienced revived interest in classical Persian art. Large-scale building projects were undertaken, creating mausoleums, madrasas, and kitabhane - medieval Islamic book workshops. Mathematical and astronomical studies were reinvigorated, and at the beginning of the 16th century, mastering firearms was achieved.

Major commissions from the Timur's lifetime were the Summer Palace in Shahrisabz, Bibi-Khanym Mosque, and the construction of the Registan.[9] The city of Herat became an important center of intellectual and artistic life in the Muslim world during this time.[9] Samarkand, a center of scholarly study which was previously destroyed during the Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia, became the center of the Renaissance and Persian culture in general due to the reconstruction during the period.[10]

The Timurid Renaissance differed from previous Buyid dynasty cultural and artistic developments in that it was not a direct revival of classical models, but rather a broadening of their cultural appeal by including more colloquial styles in Persian language, as by including more widespread Turkic language.[clarification needed] The Timurid Renaissance was inherited by the Mughal Empire [11][12][13] and had significant influence on the other states of the Age of the Islamic Gunpowders (Ottoman Turkey and Safavid Iran).[14]

Sultan Husayn Bayqara,a patron of Art, constructed multiple centers of learning.

Timurid art absorbed and improved upon the traditional Persian concept of the "Arts of the Book". The new, Timurid-inflected works of art saw illustrated paper (as opposed to parchment) manuscripts produced by the empire's artists. These illustrations were notable for their rich colors and elaborate designs.[16] Due to the quality of the miniature paintings found in these manuscripts, archaeologist and art historian Suzan Yalman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art[17] noted that "the Herat school [of manuscript painting] is often regarded as the apogee of Persian painting.[18] Timurid silver-inlaid steel is often being cited as being of particularly high quality. Painting was not limited to manuscripts, as many Timurid artists also created intricate wall paintings. Many of these wall paintings depicted landscapes derived from both Persian and Chinese artistic tradition.[19] While the subject matter of these paintings was borrowed from other cultures, Timurid wall paintings were eventually refined into the

Timurid art absorbed and improved upon the traditional Persian concept of the "Arts of the Book". The new, Timurid-inflected works of art saw illustrated paper (as opposed to parchment) manuscripts produced by the empire's artists. These illustrations were notable for their rich colors and elaborate designs.[16] Due to the quality of the miniature paintings found in these manuscripts, archaeologist and art historian Suzan Yalman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art[17] noted that "the Herat school [of manuscript painting] is often regarded as the apogee of Persian painting.[18] Timurid silver-inlaid steel is often being cited as being of particularly high quality. Painting was not limited to manuscripts, as many Timurid artists also created intricate wall paintings. Many of these wall paintings depicted landscapes derived from both Persian and Chinese artistic tradition.[19] While the subject matter of these paintings was borrowed from other cultures, Timurid wall paintings were eventually refined into their own, unique style.[20] Mongol artistic traditions were not entirely phased out, as the highly stylized depictions of human figures seen in 15th century Timurid art are derived from this culture.[21]

Sultan Husayn Bayqara reign saw a further rise in the arts. He was renowned as a benefactor and patron of learning in his kingdom.[22] Sultan Husayn built numerous structures including a famous school;He has been described as "the quintessential Timurid ruler of the later period in Transoxiana" and his sophisticated court and generous artistic patronage was a source of admiration, particularly from his cousin, Babur of the Mughal India.

Timurid architecture

Timurid architecture drew on the aspects of the Sultan Husayn Bayqara reign saw a further rise in the arts. He was renowned as a benefactor and patron of learning in his kingdom.[22] Sultan Husayn built numerous structures including a famous school;He has been described as "the quintessential Timurid ruler of the later period in Transoxiana" and his sophisticated court and generous artistic patronage was a source of admiration, particularly from his cousin, Babur of the Mughal India.

Timurid architecture drew on the aspects of the Seljuk architecture. Turquoise and blue tiles forming intricate linear and geometric patterns decorated the facades of buildings. Sometimes the interior was decorated similarly, with painting and stucco relief further enriching the effect.[23] Timurid architecture is the pinnacle of Islamic art in Central Asia. Spectacular and stately edifices erected by Tamerlane and his successors in Samarkand and Herat helped to disseminate the influence of the Ilkhanid school of art in India, thus giving rise to the celebrated Mughal (or Mongol) school of architecture. Timurid architecture started with the sanctuary of Ahmed Yasawi in present-day Kazakhstan and culminated in Timur's mausoleum Gur-e Amir in Samarkand. Timur's Gur-I Mir, the 14th-century mausoleum of the conqueror is covered with "turquoise Persian tiles".[24] Nearby, in the center of the ancient town, a "Persian style madrassa" (religious school)[24] and a "Persian style mosque"[24] by Ulugh Beg is observed. The mausoleum of Timurid princes, with their turquoise and blue-tiled domes remain among the most refined and exquisite Persian architecture.[25] Axial symmetry is a characteristic of all major Timurid structures, notably the Shāh-e Zenda in Samarkand, the Musallah complex in Herat, and the mosque of Gawhar Shad in Mashhad. Double domes of various shapes abound, and the outsides are perfused with brilliant colors. Timur's dominance of the region strengthened the influence of his capital and Persian architecture upon the Indian Subcontinent.[26]

Metalwork, ceramics, and carving