Social Criticism in Hariri’s Maqamat with a Focus on Al-Wasiti’s Miniature Paintings

  •  Zahra Pakzad    
  •  Mahboube Panahi    


“Hariri’s Maqamat” is one of the most prominent and sophisticated books of Arabic literature in the Middle Ages that has been influential in the formation of novel stories in world literature. Apart from the beauty of the style, literary tune and various educational aspects, it presents social life and human behavior in the Arab world of the Middle Age in terms of a visually narrative format. Hariri’s Maqamat is a long illustrated story in Baghdad School which has been composed by Hariri and then illustrated by Mahmoud al-Wasiti. Al-Wasiti’s miniature paintings provide a lot of visual information about people’s behavior and their environment. This research aims at understanding social criticism scheme in that time by cooperation of text and image. Accordingly, several Maqamat and miniatures, which included more social information, were selected and considered using descriptive analysis technique. The results showed that al-Wasiti has clearly discovered Hariri's social critical viewpoint behind the complex language and emphasized that idea. He has also added some information which it would not be easily understandable by a reader of Maqamat book without applying pictures.

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