The Public Figure: Political Iconography in Medieval Mesopotamia
by Estelle Whelan
Melisende, UK - 2006
The region known as al-Jazirah comprises today much of northern Iraq and south eastern Turkey. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, up to the period of the Mongol invasions, this area of northern Mesopotamia was the setting in its major cities for a flourishing material culture. Situated on the great traditional trade routes between the Middle East and Europe a central component of this culture evolved around the development of public figural imagery. An impetus for this development was the perceived need for political iconography with the coming to power throughout the region of a group of Turkish dynasties where each needed to establish itself and enhance its image, legitimacy and authority. This was particularly reflected in those traditional cynosures of Islamic hegemony: coinage and architecture.