The International Workshop “Farman, State, and Society in Early Modern Context” will be organized by Islamic Trust Studies Gruoup B01 “The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems(Principal Investigator: KONDO Nobuaki)”.
Date & Time: March 9, Saturday, 2024, 14:00~17:00 (JST)
14:00~14:10 Introduction by Nobuaki Kondo (ILCAA)
14:10~15:10 Naofumi Abe (Ochanomizu University, Tokyo)
“The Safavid Shrine in Society: The Shrine’s Negotiation with Ruling Powers and Local People in the 18th and 19th Centuries”
15:20~16:20 Andras Barati (Institute of Iranian Studies, Vienna)
“Chessboard Ṭughrās on Safavid and Mughal Royal Decrees: A Study in Comparative Diplomatics”
The Safavid shrine in society: the shrine’s negotiation with ruling powers and local people in the 18th and 19th centuries
Following the collapse of the Safavid dynasty in 1722, the shrine of its eponym Sheykh Safi al-Din encountered various difficulties due to the waning patronage of the ruling dynasties. This study traces the shrine’s agency for survival on the basis of the analysis of the mixture of documents including the royal firmans, legal documents, and others.
Royal firmans and governors’ orders were in many cases issued in response to petitions. That is also the case for the shrine of Sheykh Safi; the shrine petitioned to the subsequent ruling powers and local governors on necessity after the fall of the Safavids likewise. Furthermore, Sheykh Safi shrine “itself” created deeds particularly on legal transactions. These documents have come down to us, as we know very well, under the name of the Ardabil Documents or Asnad-e boqʿe-ye Sheykh Safi. Investigating these documents sheds some light on the shrine’s administrative structure and a variety of measures to ensure the survival of the shrine particularly in the turbulent period from the 18th to the early 19th centuries.
Safi Shrine’s strategy for survival is not limited to the preservation of the waqf properties. The shrine’s officials sought endorsement from the ruling powers for maintaining order in its administration sometimes for their own sake. We will see the negotiations and entanglement of the variety of actors surrounding the survival of the Safavid shrine.
Chessboard ṭughrās on Safavid and Mughal royal decrees: a study in comparative diplomatics
One of the most characteristic and enduring elements found on state documents promulgated by the chanceries of Islamic empires is the ṭughrā, the calligraphic emblem of royals and high-ranking bureaucrats. Throughout their extensive history, the design and content of the ṭughrās underwent multiple linguistic and formal changes. However, they were always meant to serve as authentication tools for issued documents. Moreover, due to its inclusion of the name and title of the ruler, it served a similar purpose to the intitulatio in occidental diplomatics.
Following the Safavid dynasty’s rise to power, administrative reforms brought the royal decrees with ṭughrās to the brink of extinction. During this period, a fascinating development emerged in the form of a newly designed ṭughrā on the decrees of several Safavid rulers. These ṭughrās resembled a chessboard and went beyond simply displaying the ruler’s name and titles. It also included the names of the Twelve Imams, enhancing the symbol’s authority and prestige and broadening its role as a device conveying self-image. As Bert G. Fragner noted, there is an unmistakable resemblance between these and the ṭughrās of the Mughal rulers in India. In my presentation, I aim to elucidate the gradual formation of these understudied diplomatic components in the Safavid and Mughal decrees and provide a comparison of their content and structure. Furthermore, I wish to determine whether their development merely occurred simultaneously or if one of the respective chanceries drew inspiration from the chessboard design.
Venue: Room 304, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (registered participants may also access the workshop online by Zoom), Open to public/Admission free, Pre-registration is required.
Organizer: Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A), “The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems” (Principal Investigator: KONDO Nobuaki (ILCAA); 20H05827)
Contact: MORITA Madoka (mmorita[at]aa.tufs.ac.jp)