Persian miniatures are very well-known in western countries. Any expert can easily detect Persian miniatures from any collection of paintings. Despite of this unique outstanding general characteristic, it seems very difficult to find the specific rules for interpretation and understanding Persian miniatures. This paper intends to introduce a very common metaphysical interpretation of Persian miniatures; ‘alm alkhial’, clarify its weak points, and compare this approach with a more natural constructivist approach; ‘narrative construction of reality’. So Jerome Bruner’s paper ‘narrative construction of reality’ has been used as theoretical foundation for interpretation of Persian miniatures. In this approach, art in general, and Persian paintings in specific, have been taken as a form of narrative construction of reality. This reality is reconstructed by artists according to the historical and cultural expectations and artistic conventions. Therefore, instead of interpreting Persian miniatures as metaphysical representation of some observed meaning by artists (through some great spiritual effort) which can only be read based on symbolic signs and secret language, we can read Persian miniatures as some efforts for constructing the reality of the society according to specific historical and cultural expectations and artistic conventions. This shift of perspective can help us dramatically in better understanding of pictorial elements of Persian miniatures. When Persian miniature’s expert is freed from metaphysical conceptions, she ought to find real historical and cultural references for specific pictorial elements of each Persian miniature. This approach (narrative) is constructivist and investigative with some limiting borders for interpretation, and also is able to distinguish miniatures of each historical period according to their historical, cultural and artistic conventions; while the other approach (alam-alkhial) ignores the historical and cultural facts and overgeneralizes some symbols to all miniatures of all time.
PhD. Student of Art Philosophy
Azad Islamic University
Science and Research , Iran, Tehran