Mohammad Zaman

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Blue Iris by Muhammad Zaman. Brooklyn Museum.
The Night Halt by Muhammad Zaman, page from an album of paintings and calligraphy, Musée du Louvre, 1680

Muhammad Paolo Zaman Kirmani known as Muhammad Zaman (fl. 1680 – c. 1700), a famous Safavid calligrapher and painter.


He was a native of Kirman, Persia. He received his education in Tabriz. He was sent to Rome under the reign of Shah Abbas II. He returned to Persia as a Catholic Christian with the name Paolo.[1] Because of his conversion to Roman Catholicism he was obliged to escape from Persia to India where he obtained the protection of the Moghul dynasty.

A Persian miniature by Muhammad Zaman. The landscape in the background shows European painting influences.

Muhammad Zaman was influenced by Italian painting techniques. However, as Ivanov suggests, Muhammad Zaman studied under a European artist in Isfahan, Persia, and the report of his being sent by Shah Abbas II to study in Italy, where he adopted Roman Catholic Christianity, is no more than a colourful legend.[2]

It is reported[by whom?] that Manucci the famous traveller made the acquaintance of Muhammad Zaman at the court of Aurangzib.


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  2. ^ History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Development in contrast : from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth by Chahryar Adle, Irfan Habib