The lecture will be preceded by the Annual General Meeting at 6.15pm
The Mosque of Shaykh Lutfallah in Isfahan is one of the most significant of the many historical buildings of Iran, and it is certainly one of the most beautiful. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood buildings in the country, and conclusions regarding a number of aspects of the mosque still elude academics. Built on the eastern side of the Maydan-i Naqsh-i Jahan in the early 17th century, the building was part of Shah Abbas’s new capital in Isfahan and has long been associated with Shaykh Lutfallah, a character about whom relatively little is known.
If you ask a local of Isfahan, you will be told that the mosque was built for use by the harem of Shah Abbas, but what evidence is there for this? Through a study of both the building itself, the inscriptions which it bears and the religio-political setting in which it was founded we will shed some light on the originally intended purpose of the mosque. A study of this building can, in turn, help us to understand the complex relationship between crown and clergy during this remarkable period in Iran’s history.
Fuchsia Hart is a DPhil candidate based in the Khalili Research Centre at the University of Oxford. She holds a BA in Persian with Old Iranian and an MPhil in Islamic Art with Arabic, both from the University of Oxford. Fuchsia is primarily interested in the material and visual culture of Shiʿism. Her DPhil research is investigating the visitation of Imamzadahs, with a focus on the shrine of Fatimah Maʿsumah in Qom.