INVESTIGATING THE CULTURAL INTERACTIONS BETWEEN IRAN AND CHINA IN THE SAFAVID PERIOD (CASE STUDY: BLUE AND WHITE POTTERY FROM HOWZDAAR CITY, SISTAN)

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Archaeology Department, Faculty of Art and Architecture, University of Bu-Ali Sina, Hamedan, Iran.

2 PhD in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Mazandaran University, Babolsar, Iran.

3 Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Archaeology, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

4 PhD Candidate in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

One of the main ways to understand the interactions and cultural relations of societies in different historical eras is to analyze and compare cultural materials with each other. The cultural connection of the Sistan region, especially the historical city of Howzdaar in the south of this plain, with the neighboring areas and other cultural regions, and the similarity of the artworks of different areas in certain periods, shows the economic, social, and cultural relationship between those regions. As an element related to art and daily life, pottery expresses cultural relations and commonalities between different regions. The Sistan plain includes the northern parts of Sistan and Baluchistan province, now divided between Iran and Afghanistan. This plain is where humans have constantly interacted with the natural environment. This area has always housed a significant population due to its suitable and unique environmental features. On the other hand, due to its strategic and military location, it has been the focus of various governments in the past. During the archaeological field studies in this area, a site/city belonging to the Islamic era was discovered.  From this site, called Howzdaar City, 237 potsherds known as blue and white pottery were identified, recorded, and studied. Blue and white pottery is one of the most famous pottery made in China. The production of this pottery started during the Tang period and continued until the Qing period. In the Tang period, this pottery made its way to the court of caliphs and then to other markets. The peak of the use of this pottery in Iran was during the Safavid period. Iran's location on the Silk Road route and the expansion of cultural and commercial relations between Iran and China caused the influence of Chinese art on Iranian works of art in such a way that in this century, the production of pottery influenced by the pottery of the Ming period was noticed by the Safavid kings. The research aims to introduce, classify, and typology the blue and white pottery of Howzdaar City. Further, the connections of this region with China and Iranian cities such as Kerman, Neyshabur, Samarkand, and Tabriz located on the silk trade route are examined. Documentary studies and field surveys were the basis of the methodology of this research. The results showed that the blue and white pottery of Howzdaar City in the Safavid period has many similarities with samples produced simultaneously in China and the areas mentioned above along the silk trade route, which indicates extensive cultural relations between these regions.

Keywords


Volume 4, Issue 1
June 2024
Pages 39-49
  • Receive Date: 09 December 2023
  • Revise Date: 16 March 2024
  • Accept Date: 28 April 2024
  • Publish Date: 01 June 2024