The Legacy of Genghis Khan
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At the time of his death in 1227, Genghis Khan had unified the Mongol people, organized a nearly invincible army of fearless nomadic warriors, and set into motion the first stage in the conquest of an enormous territory that would be completed by his sons and grandsons. With extraordinary speed and devastating ruthlessness the Mongols [more information on the Mongols] created the world’s largest empire, stretching at its greatest extent from Korea to Hungary. But the legacy of Genghis Khan extends well beyond the battlefield. The Mongols’ promotion of pan-Asian trade, their avid taste for luxury goods, and their practice of relocating artists combined to produce an unprecedented cross-fertilization of artistic ideas throughout Eurasia.

This exhibition examines the important artistic and cultural achievements that occurred in the Iranian world in the aftermath of the Mongol invasions. It was a period of brilliant cultural flowering as the Mongol masters sought to govern their disparate empire, and in the process they sponsored the creation of a remarkable new visual language. By uniting eastern and western Asia for over a century, the Mongols produced a unique occasion for cultural exchange that forever changed the face of art in Iran, making it a focal point of innovation and synthesis for the next three hundred years. As the lively manuscript illustrations, opulent decorative arts, and splendid architectural elements assembled for this exhibition all reveal, this too was Genghis Khan’s legacy.

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Shah Zav Enthroned detail

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Genghis Khan Home | Introduction
Mongols in China | Mongols in Iran | Mongols and Islam | Art of the Book | A New Visual Language
Exhibition Info & Credits | Resources

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