Archival Study on Fiscal administration of Holy Shrines in Muslim Societies: The Case of the Safavid Shrine in Iran

Project term April, 2018–March, 2021
Coordinator Ryoko WATABE (The University of Tokyo)
ILCAA Staff Nobuaki KONDO, Yoichi TAKAMATSU
Joint Researchers Naofumi ABE, Yukako GOTO, Tomoko MORIKAWA, Hiroshi ONO, Masaki SUGIYAMA, Ryuichi SUGIYAMA, Sanae TAKAGI, Yoichi YAJIMA

In Muslim societies of West and Central Asia, mausoleums of Islamic saints exercised religious and sometimes political power, accumulated great wealth, and played an important role as social, cultural, and economic centers. How did they establish and manage their financial foundations to maintain their social and cultural activities? This research project aims to clarify the method of property management of the mausoleum of Shaykh Safi al-Din (the founder of the Safavid Sufi order), which developed as the state shrine of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) in early modern Iran, through a comprehensive analysis of Sarih al-Milk (the mausoleum’s records of donated lands and property). Focusing on the types, functions, and styles of legal and financial documents and books recorded in Sarih al-Milk, tracing their changes through time, and comparing them with historical materials of other regions and periods, this project examines the development and change of political, legal, and economic systems that supported the property management of saint mausoleums in medieval and early modern Muslim societies.

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