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Muhammad Zaman

 (late 17th Century)
Muhammad Zaman was active/lived in Iran, Islamic Republic of.  Muhammad Zaman is known for Miniature painting.

Muhammad Zaman

Biography from Sotheby's London, New Bond Street

Muhammad Zaman was a talented Persian-born artist who worked at the court of Shah 'Abbas II (r.1642-66), and continued painting until the end of the seventeenth century.  Unlike his contemporary 'Ali Quli Jabbadar, who was European-born but who developed a more Persianate style, Muhammad Zaman gradually turned towards more European modes of painting.

Most details of the artist's life have been derived through the content of his body of works, as little biographical detail for Muhammad Zaman exists.  At one point, it was thought that he had traveled in Italy, since his paintings imitate a European style and perspective, but it is far more likely that his inspiration was gained from the many European paintings and prints that circulated in seventeenth century Persia.

What is known about the artist, however, is that he worked for royal patrons, and was employed in painting three additional miniatures for the Shah Tahmasp Khamsa (British Museum, Or. 2265), dated 1086 AH/1675-76 AD, the year before the execution of the painting (see A. Langer (ed.), The Fascination of Persia, Museum Rietberg, Zurich, 2013, pp.225-6, no.121 for one of these illustrations depicting Bahram Gur slaying the dragon).  A further painting, 'Majnun visited by his father', previously sold in these rooms, 11 July 1966, lot 31, is also thought to have been intended for the same Khamsa manuscript (see Soudavar 1992, pp.374-5, no.151). 

During the same period Muhammad Zaman also painted his depiction of the 'Simurgh assisting at the birth of Rustam', which was added to the Shahnameh of Shah 'Abbas (r.1588-1629), now housed in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (Per 277, fol.3, see A.J. Arberry (ed.), The Chester Beatty Library - A Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts and Miniatures, Dublin, 1962, p.49, no.277, pl.38). 

A.A. Ivanov has pointed out that these royal commissions suggest that at one time Muhammad Zaman was present at the royal atelier (kitabkhaneh) of the Safavids (see A. Ivanov, Persian Miniatures, in E. Kostioukovitch (ed.), The St. Petersburg Muraqqa', Milan, 1996, p.5).

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