The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: Architecture, Religion and Power in Early Modern Iran

Year of Publication: 

The Safavid period represents an immensely rich chapter in the history of Iranian architecture. In this discussion of Safavid architecture in the context of its political, social and religious milieu, Kishwar Rizvi gives special consideration to the shrine of Shaykh Safi, built in AD 1334, as an important template for an emergent Safavid taste. Of both regal and religious significance, the shrine’s direct relationship to imperial power is unique in Islamic architecture and provides valuable information about the methods of architectural benefaction prevalent in early modern Iran. Rizvi examines the ways in which the transition from a devotional aesthetic to an imperial one represented the young dynasty’s imperial aspirations, and affected a wide range of public buildings from mosques to palaces during the early Safavid period and beyond.