How Persian miniature art inspired a wool scarf
I have always been fascinated by Persian miniature art. I grew up in Iran and traces of this ancient art could be found in almost any home. You could see them in the form of paintings on the walls, on the surface of ornamental jewellery or pencil boxes, on jewellery itself and of course on the sides of classic poetry books.
This form of delicate, intricate work of art goes back to 13th - 16th century. However, some historians believe the original style of painting goes back to 216-276 AD and has its roots in the Manichaeism religion.
Prophet Mani, the founder of this religion was a recognised artist and images were used significantly in their holy books.
The main themes depicted in miniature art were religion and mythology, being used to visually accompany literature and poetic languages, to facilitate their understanding.
The colours used in these painting was pure and strikingly bright. Originally, they were using mineral-based pigments to create the eye-catching bright colours.
I don’t know if it was the style of the paintings, so tiny with intricate details or the colours or the stories they were describing. They were almost like comic strip books done in the old-fashioned way.
Some of them showed scenes of hunting, with men on horses being followed by tiny dogs chasing a deer, some of them looked more like a picnic scene showing relaxed people enjoying a glass of wine under the trees. Some showed people dancing and playing music. There was a dreamy quality to them which I don’t know how to describe but there was also a very ordinary, day-to-day aspect to them.
As a child I was always haunted by paintings of any kind. I imagined the characters were real. I wondered how their lives were! Now that I would like to think myself as a grown up I am still obsessed by the miniature art.
I never had the patience to master the art of painting in this style. I am the kind of person who wants to do things quickly and creating an artwork so intricate with such detail demands a zen state of mind which I am not sure I always have.
But at least I gave this a shot once!
I designed a scarf (with help of illustrators of course!) with Persian miniature prints. I have seen a few samples before on the print on demand websites which in my opinion was not doing the justice to the art.
I wanted to create something more than a scanned picture of a book printed on cheap polyester. It was clear that the fabric was supposed to be something of sustainable origin and biodegradable.( Read this article to see why I care about this!)
The colours that came into my head (or heart!) without much overthinking were warm colours , a homage to middle east.
Every time I imagine the region in my head (without all the wars and challenges!) I see lots of khaki, red, beige, ochre and if there is blue than it’s that lapis lazuli kind of blue that reminds of the neighbouring Mediterranean sea.
With those warm colours I also needed a warm fabric so I went for wool. But I went for a light airy texture of wool that made the scarf wearable in all seasons and suitable for wearing inside and not only outdoors. Pretty practical!
NAROSIB scarves are made to be worn in all seasons and this wool one is no exception!
Feeling inspired by Persian miniature art? Get our “Shiraz” wool scarf here