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Koshoridze, Irina

« Two 18th-Century Royal Palaces in Georgia and Armenia ». Journal of Persianate Studies 1, 2, 2008, p. 243-248.

Compte-rendu réalisé par Giorgio Rota

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1This brief essay is an interesting attempt to compare the royal palace in Telavi (Georgia) to the no longer extant palace of the Sardār in Erevan. The former was originally founded by King Arčil (r. in K’axeti 1664-1675) and was partially rebuilt by Erek’le II (1744-1798) when he was still king of K’axeti only. On account of the similarities between this building and Karim Ḫān Zand’s palace in the Arg of Šīrāz, and given that Erek’le became king of Kartli and K’axeti in 1762 and therefore moved his capital to Tbilisi, Koshoridze suggests that the Telavi palace must have been built between 1750 and 1762. However, Karim Ḫān spent most of the 1750s and early 1760s fighting a bitter struggle for power over Persia and he seems to have built the Arg (and presumably the palace within it) as late as 1767-68 (cf. John R. Perry, Karim Khan Zand, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1979, p. 274-275, not listed in Koshoridze’s bibliography): if this is indeed the case, a later date for the building of the palace at Telavi should be proposed. Despite this problem, however, the Author’s assumption that the Telavi palace was inspired by Zand architecture still stands. The palace of the Sardār in Erevan was built for the first time in 1798 “in the style of typical Persian Zand and Early Qajar palace architecture” (p. 247); after suffering heavy damage because of the events of the Russo-Persian War of 1826-1828 and of subsequent neglect, it was rebuilt according to the taste of Russian Orientalism in the 1850s, and it was finally destroyed in 1914. The Author relies upon drawings by Gagarin, photographs by Ermakov and a few surviving paintings by a local artist, Mirzā “Kadim” (Kāẓem?) Erevani for her reconstruction of the external appearance of the palace and, above all, of its interior. Koshoridze’s conclusion is that both palaces display a mixture of 18th- and early 19th-century Persian architectonic elements as well as regional features. However, her statement that the reconstruction of the Sardār palace “seems to indicate Russian’s [sic] demonstration of leniency towards the defeated enemy” (p. 248), besides adherence to the Orientalist fashion of the time, is debatable in the absence of further elements. Finally, several misprints or errors on the part of the Author are particularly serious since they affect dates and therefore, to some extent, Koshoridze’s conclusions: “1860” instead of, probably, 1762 (p. 243); “1745” and “1722” instead of 1744 and 1762 (the dates of Teimuraz II’s coronation as King of Kartli and of his death, ibidem); “1750-94” instead of 1750-79 and “1760s” instead of 1670s (p. 244); “1804-06” and “1812-29” instead of 1804-13 and 1826-28 (p. 245).

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Giorgio Rota. Koshoridze, Irina, « « Two 18th-Century Royal Palaces in Georgia and Armenia ». Journal of Persianate Studies 1, 2, 2008, p. 243-248. », Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 31 | 2011, document 152, mis en ligne le 11 octobre 2012, consulté le 23 juillet 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/abstractairanica/39392

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