The Reinvention of Padishah-i Islam in the Visual Representations of Ghazan Khan

(Persian Version)

Keywords: Ideal Ruler, Padishah-i Islam, Mahmud Ghazan, Farr-i Izadi, Diez Albums


This article discusses how the visualization of Mahmud Ghazan, the sixth Ilkhanid ruler, was employed to construct and propagate his image as the Padishah-i Islam (King of Islam), thus justifying him both as king of Iranshahr (land of Iran) and the legitimate successor of the Prophet Muhammad. In a quest for visual translations of the Ilkhanid concept of Padishah-i Islam—an inseparable combination of the Persian notion of ideal kingship and prophethood—several illustrations from the Diez albums representing Ghazan or events of his reign have been identified, two of which have become subject to detailed iconographic analyses.

Two approaches to the visualization of Ghazan as Padishah-i Islam can be considered here. The first is Ghazan’s birth scene where the visual narrative is covered in various formal and semantic layers; transformed into a symbolic narrative of a holy birth associated with those of the prophets. The second appears in the scene of Ghazan’s enthronement, probably once illustrated as an unknown manuscript’s frontispiece, the images’ composition and components appear as a visual panegyric poem which applies an elaborate visual language that elevates Ghazan to the level of a divine king.

Author Biography

Azadeh Latifkar, Independant scholar, Tehran

Azadeh Latifkar is an independent scholar in the history of Islamic art. She received her PhD. from Tehran Art University in 2021 with a thesis entitled The Iconography of the Enthroned Ruler in Ilkhanid Manuscripts. Her research interests are medieval west and central Asia art and architecture, Islamic art historiography, and interactions between Persian and Turkish cultures in Iran and central Asia. Currently, she resides in Turkmen-Sahra (Iran) doing fieldwork on Turkmen art and culture.

How to Cite
Latifkar, A. (2023). The Reinvention of Padishah-i Islam in the Visual Representations of Ghazan Khan: (Persian Version). Manazir Journal, 5, 10–33.