Title: The Mystical Symbols in the Images of Paradise From Mir Heydar’s Miraj Nameh (Based on Quran Verses and Islamic Thoughts)
Abstract: Paradise has been described in the Qur’an and Islamic narrations in detail. Given the necessity of the illustrated works, Islamic painting has also paid too much attention to the illustration of this issue. One of the major versions of the theme of Paradise, which is widely illustrated, is a linear and illustrative version of the Mir Heydar’s Miraj Nameh (840/839) related to the first period of the Herat historicism the period of Shahrokh’s rule during the Timurid era, which has 61 images. It is 265 pages and dimensions of 22.5 × 34 cm. This edition is kept at the National Library of Paris. The proposed version describes the validity of the heavenly journey (Miraj) of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). In addition to the specific religious content in terms of describing its images as well as in terms of linear changes in the written text, it is important to pay attention to the art of the Islamic world. Given the spiritual nature of the issue of ascension on the one hand and the mystical context of the Timurid era on the other, the photographers of this edition repeatedly used the mystical symbols in illustrating the holy space of the various stages of the ascension, and in particular, the narrations related to paradise.
The objective of this article is to achieve the visual interpretation of Paradise and its Quranic narratives by the Timurid painters.
In addition to identifying and studying the mystical symbols in these images through descriptive-analytic method, the present research tries to investigate the six paradise images of this work of art that obtained by a library method.
In this regard, the question of the present research is that “which mystical symbols did the Timurid illustrators of Mir Heydar’s Miraj Nameh use in expressing the image of Paradise?”. The results show that the illustrator not only illustrated the story but also expressed their desired symbolic concepts. Therefore, it can be argued that this visual expression is based on the pictorial wisdom of these images. Mystical concepts are like the role of the altar which symbolizes the intersection of heaven and earth or God and man. They manifest the presence of God in all sacred architectures. One of the symbolic meanings of the altar is a gate to the soul, to the inward and beyond the real human being. It is a door to the other world, the paradise. The crown is also a mystical concept which means the lack of finiteness regarding the status and location. Putting on the crown can be the sign of passing through the animal despicable stage and reaching the way of the truth. According to the Prophet, it is to reach the position of dignity. The crown of the Twelve Turks is also the representative of twelve peacemakers. Therefore, the use of other symbols such as the display of dark space, hands-on sleeves, blooms and trees with golden trunks, rivers and angles indicates the artist’s awareness of the mystical world and the world of meaning. In this way, they passed through the apparent meaning which tells the story and reached the inner meaning which is the religious teachings.
Keywords: Illustration of paradise, Description of paradise, Mir Heydar’s Miraj Nameh, Mystical symbols