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Imagining the Prophet’s Life: The Reinterpretation of the Sīra in Visual Form In the Jāmi’ al-Tawārīkh of Rashīd al-Dīn

Imagining the Prophet’s Life: The Reinterpretation of the Sīra in Visual Form In the Jāmi’ al-Tawārīkh of Rashīd al-Dīn

By Benjamin D. Cox

Published online (2005)

Introduction: Unfortunately, before even beginning the endeavour of analyzing the images which comprise the sequence of the Prophet’s Life in the Jāmi’ al-Tawārīkh of Rashīd al-Dīn, we find ourselves at a loss. Ideally, we would have at our disposal the entire array of legends concerning the life of the Prophet which would have been current during the Ilkhanid period and accessible to Rashīd al-Dīn, against which we would compare the text of the document itself, scouring it for evidence of the editorial hand. The text thoroughly dissected, we would turn to examine the editorial transition from text to illustration, essaying to explain the author’s particular choice of scenes and executions thereof to be the most vivid aspects of his own creation.

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