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HOME : Islamic Art : Ghaznavid Art : Ghaznavid Jeweller’s stone die
Ghaznavid Jeweller’s stone die - MS.901
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 977 BC to 1186 AD
Dimensions: 9" (22.9cm) high x 4.5" (11.4cm) wide
Collection: Islamic Arts
Style: Ghaznavid

Location: Great Britain
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The founder of the dynasty was Sebüktigin (ruled 977–997), a former Turkic slave who was recognized by the Samanids (an Iranian Muslim dynasty) as governor of Ghazna (modern Ghazni, Afghanistan). As the Samanid dynasty weakened, Sebüktigin consolidated his position and expanded his domains as far as the Indian border. His son Ma?mud (ruled 998–1030) continued the expansionist policy, and by 1005 the Samanid territories had been divided. The Oxus River (Amu Darya) formed the boundary between the two successor states to the Samanid empire, the Ghaznavids ruling in the west and the Qarakhanids in the east. Ghaznavid power reached its zenith during Ma?mud’s reign. He created an empire that stretched from the Oxus to the Indus valley and the Indian Ocean; in the west he captured (from the Buyids) the Iranian cities of Rayy and Hamadan. A devout Muslim, Ma?mud reshaped the Ghaznavids from their pagan Turkic origins into an Islamic dynasty and expanded the frontiers of Islam. The Persian poet Ferdowsi (d. 1020) completed his epic Shah-nameh (“Book of Kings”) at the court of Ma?mud about 1010. Ma?mud’s son Mas?ud I (reigned 1031–41) was unable to preserve the power or even the integrity of the Ghaznavid empire. In Khorasan and Khwarezm, Ghaznavid power was challenged by the Seljuq Turks. Mas?ud suffered a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Dandanqan (1040), whence all the Ghaznavid territories in Iran and Central Asia were lost to the Seljuqs. The Ghaznavids were left in possession of eastern Afghanistan and northern India, where they continued to rule until 1186, when Lahore fell to the Ghurids. Advertisement Little survives of Ghaznavid art, but the period is important for its influence on the Seljuq Turks in Iran and on later Islamic art in India. The Ghaznavids introduced the “four eyvan” ground plan in the palace at Lashkari Bazar near Lashkari Gah, on a plateau above the Helmond River, just north of Qal?eh-ye Best, Afghanistan. An eyvan is a large vaulted hall, closed on three sides and open to a court on the fourth. The motif of a court surrounded by four eyvans dominated Seljuq mosque architecture and was used continually through the Timurid and ?afavid periods in Persia. The victory tower of Mas?ud III (built 1099–1115) is a precursor of the Seljuq türbe, or tomb-tower. Of its two original stories, the remaining one is largely covered with ornamental inscription. Excavations at the site of the palace at Lashkari Bazar have uncovered figurative paintings whose stylistic elements are similar to early Seljuq work. - (MS.901)


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