Cover image for Isfahan: Architecture and Urban Experience in Early Modern Iran By Farshid Emami

Isfahan

Architecture and Urban Experience in Early Modern Iran

Farshid Emami

Buy

$112.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09552-3

Available as an e-book

276 pages
9" × 10"
45 color/60 b&w illustrations
2024

Buildings, Landscapes, and Societies

Isfahan

Architecture and Urban Experience in Early Modern Iran

Farshid Emami

“Emami’s approach to Isfahan considers this imperial city as a total lifeworld filled with movement, smells, sounds, and people. His prose is simply superb: it is such a pleasure that it transforms an otherwise deeply researched scholarly study into a spirited page-turner.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
  • Subjects
A vibrant urban settlement from medieval times and the royal seat of the Safavid dynasty, the city of Isfahan emerged as a great metropolis during the seventeenth century. Using key sources, this book reconstructs the spaces and senses of this dynamic city.

Focusing on nuances of urban experience, Farshid Emami expands our understanding of Isfahan in a global context. He takes the reader on an evocative journey through the city’s markets, promenades, and coffeehouses, bringing to life the social landscapes that animated the lives of urban dwellers and shaped their perceptions of themselves and the world. In doing so, Emami reveals seventeenth-century Isfahan as more than a cluster of beautiful monuments and gardens. It was a cosmopolitan city, where senses and materials, nature and artifice, and ritual and sociability acted in unison, engendering urban experiences that became paramount across the globe during the early modern period.

Drawing extensively on Persian literary and visual sources, including the “Guide for Strolling in Isfahan,” this book casts new light on the history of a major Eurasian city and opens up new possibilities for cross-cultural studies of urban experience in the early modern period.

“Emami’s approach to Isfahan considers this imperial city as a total lifeworld filled with movement, smells, sounds, and people. His prose is simply superb: it is such a pleasure that it transforms an otherwise deeply researched scholarly study into a spirited page-turner.”
“Farshid Emami’s ambitious study of one of the most celebrated cities of the Islamic world sheds new light on Isfahan’s urban transformation in the early modern period and reconstructs the way urban dwellers experienced and perceived the city, not only as a work of architecture but as a living space. Essential reading for all those interested in the global history of early modernity, urbanism, and visuality.”

Farshid Emami is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Rice University.

Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface and Acknowledgments

Note to the Reader

Introduction: Isfahan as Urban Experience

Part 1 Rise of a Metropolis

Chapter 1 The Medieval City: The Lore of Isfahan and Early Safavid Developments

Chapter 2 Imperial Plans and Urban Elites: The Construction of Isfahan Under Shah Abbas

Chapter 3 The New Isfahan: The Safavid Garden City and Its Eco- Urban Design

Part 2 Urban Spaces and Experiences

Chapter 4 Sensing Time and Sound: Clocks and the Rhythms of Urban Life

Chapter 5 The Visual Order of the Promenade: The Chaharbagh and Its Sensory Landscape

Chapter 6 Inhabiting a Cosmopolis: Urban Quarters and Civic Selves

Part 3 Lyrics and Subjectivities

Chapter 7 The City Lyricized: Architecture and Literature in Safavid Isfahan

Chapter 8 Urban Sights and Discursive Images: Modes of Visual and Verbal Engagement

Chapter 9 Solitary Wandering and Civic Pleasures: A Daylong Journey in Isfahan

Conclusion: Isfahan as an Early Modern City

Appendix: “Guide for Strolling in Isfahan”

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Download a PDF sample chapter here: Introduction