Virtual Exhibition Opening: Mapping the Islamic World: The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires

Exhibit: Mapping the Islamic World: The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires

Student Research

Building on her certificate in Iranian Studies, PhD candidate Alexandria Brown-Hejazi used an Iranian Studies grant to assist her research, creation, and hosting of an exhibit with the David Rumsey Map Center titled "Mapping the Islamic World: The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires" in the spring of 2021. 

About the exhibit: 

"The early modern world witnessed enormous changes in long-distance travel. Merchants, diplomats, and explorers from all regions of the world traversed new routes on land and sea, forging new global networks between European and Islamic worlds. This exhibition will examine the maps and cartographic studies of Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Persia, and Mughal India. The Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals vied for control over the early modern Islamicate world. Known as the “gunpowder empires” for their successful use of firearm technology, these three powers constantly shifted between enemies and to allies, but always remained rivals. 

This exhibition examines a series of cross-cultural artistic exchanges from maps that are not usually represented in early modern cartographic studies. The very content of the show challenges the notion of Europe as the epicenter of the Renaissance World. As such, the exhibition encourages viewers to question the historiography of Renaissance cartography. Four main themes steer the exhibition: revival of classical history and geography; anthropological study; trading companies and navigation; and finally, diplomatic encounter and exchange."