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Khamsa of Nizami, Timurid Dynasty, Persia

Digitization and conversion of a 2D manuscript page into a 3D interactive world

page added February 22, 2018


 Khamsa of Nizami - background

Khamsa pageThe Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami or "The Five Tales" by the 12th-century poet Nizami is considered one of the greatest works of Persian literature. Nizami Ganjavi (whose real name was Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja, Azerbaijan; c.1141-1209 or 1217), in this work, set new standards for elegance of expression, richness of characterization, and narrative sophistication. The Khamsa consists of the following five romantic poems (loosely translated): Treasury of Mysteries, Khusraw and Shirin, Leili and Medjnun, Seven Beauties, and Iskander-nameh. The single page at the left comes from the second poem and shows the emperor Khusraw organizing a royal reception (hover over image to enlarge; image 1998 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, museum object #60.176, and obtained through the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO) by the Dalton School, NYC).


 Khamsa of Nizami - the project

Arch of Titus in contextThe project was initiated at the request of the Dalton School (NYC) and originally undertaken by Learning Sites sister organization, the Institute for the Visualization of History. The goal was to create an educational module that showed the difference between Medieval Persian and modern Western conceptions of space; comparing a flat 2D depiction with an interactive 3D space. The educational module was also to help inform about the objects shown in the scene (specifically, the ewer, vase, sword, bowl, belt, and musical instrument--hover over the image of the bowl at the left to enlarge). The original module was programmed in Flash and has now been recoded by Learning Sites using WebGL, javascript, and HTML5.

The manuscript page becomes an interactive virtual world and linked objects in the scene are themselves zoomable and rotatable virtual worlds. Experience the new interactive Khamsa module here.