The Idea of the Just Ruler in Persianate Art and Material Culture


Iranian kings, or those who reigned in lands under Persian linguistic and cultural domination, followed the idea of a Just Ruler: a pious king who looked after his subjects’ divinity and spirituality in parallel to their earthly lives and needs. The Just Ruler extended righteousness and peace among his people while patronizing the construction of palaces, gardens, and new towns. The idea of a Just Ruler may be found in Sassanid monumental rock reliefs and written texts and then enriched and elaborated upon in the Islamic era by philosophers, poets, authors, and artists. 

This issue of Manazir Journal focuses on how art and architecture served the representation of the Just Ruler in Persianate societies from Central Asia to Eastern Anatolia from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Illustrated books, architecture, and photography show how different kings and rulers referred to the Persian ideas of the Just Ruler by patronizing new constructions, richly illuminated books, and in the modern era, employing mediums such as photography and lithography for nationalizing the king’s image.

Author Biography

Negar Habibi, University of Geneva

Negar Habibi is an art historian and lecturer of the arts of Islam at the University of Geneva. She is the author of ʿAli Qoli Jebādār et l’occidentalisme safavide: une étude sur les peintures dites farangi sāzi, leurs milieux et commanditaires sous Shāh Soleimān (Brill 2018) and several articles on painting productions, women patronage, and Iranian society in 17th-century Isfahan. Habibi's current project, financed by the Soudavar Memorial Foundation (SMF) and the subject of her second monograph, consists of studying the Jean Pozzi Islamic and Persian collections shared between several European museums. Habibi is also an SMF alumnus for a lectureship on the art and architecture of the Three Gunpowder Empires at the University of Geneva in 2019-2021.

How to Cite
Habibi, N. (2023). Introduction: The Idea of the Just Ruler in Persianate Art and Material Culture. Manazir Journal, 5, 1–9.