Negar Gari – Traditional Persian Miniature Paintings

Persian Miniature (Negargari) is considered the best miniatures of all the small paintings produced in Middle Eastern countries. It is traced to the artistic works of the Sassanid Empire which ruled the region where modern Iran is today from 224 to 651 A.D. This pre-Islamic empire’s art incorporated very old Persian themes with more recent Hellenistic and Chinese techniques and motifs. The latter were introduced into the Middle East as a result of the Mongol invasions of the 14th century so we find mythical beasts in Persian miniatures that greatly resemble those in Chinese drawings.  Content and form are fundamental elements of Persian miniature painting, and miniature artists are renowned for their vivid but subtle use of color.

What is important to recognize about Persian miniatures is that they were originally intended primarily to be book illustrations without any intention of showcasing the artist’s creative abilities. The goal was to show how well the artist could adhere to the rules and traditions used in previous renderings of traditional subject matter which were mostly related to Persian mythology and poetry.