Kufic Inscriptions of the Historic Grand Mosque of Shoushtar
S. M. V. Mousavi Jazayeri, Patrick Ringgenberg, Perette E. Michelli, Ali M. Chaharmahali, S. M. H. Mousavi Jazayeri
Blautopf Publishing, Jul 27, 2015 - Art - 234 pages
The authors of this book have taken a rare opportunity to bring together the many factors crucial to an adequate understanding of architectural inscriptions, and they have done so in relation to those in an important but sadly under-published historic mosque. The grand mosque of Shoushtar contains many historic inscriptions installed over time for documentary purposes, but the four monumental Kufic texts are integral parts of its design and meaning. They are here studied calligraphically, hermeneutically and phenomenologically, and in relation to the structure of the mosque itself, the whole being set against an outline of Shoushtar’s history and the features of the mosque. Begun in the ninth century CE, the grand mosque of Shoushtar is one of the earliest hypostyle mosques in Iran. It was built in “the city of scholars” when its residents included two great Sufis, Sahl Ibn Abdullah Tostari and Mansur Hallaj. This scholarly, mystical emphasis is reflected in the mosque itself and it is tempting to wonder whether the eleventh Shiite Imam, Hassan al-Askari, under house arrest at the time of building, had anything to do with its design. This mosque is idiosyncratic and much modified and now presents a complex interpretational challenge. This book is an important and long overdue contribution to our knowledge of Shoushtar and the historic application of monumental Kufic inscriptions. Its high quality illustrations allow personal study of all four Kufic inscriptions of the city’s grand mosque: Surat Ya-Sin which was once encircling the entire prayer hall, the dedicatory inscription above the secondary internal mihrab, its fascia inscription containing the last two verses of Surat al-Isra’ whose content parallels the fourth inscription of Surat al-Ikhlas (al-Tawhid) on the external mihrab.