139. Jade Seal of Pir-Budaq

Iran, circa 1454
Size: 3.5 cm diameter
Jade mounted in silver

Redoubtable warriors and carvers of empire, the Turkmen tribe of the Qara Qoyunlu, pushed westwards by the Mongols, rose to power in the later 14th century in northern Iraq and Azerbaijan. One of their dynasty, Qara Yusuf, opposed Tamerlane, and had to flee first to the Ottomans and then to the Mamluks in Syria, returning to reclaim his realm in 1406. His son Jahanshah ruled as a Timurid vassal. Pir-Budaq was awarded the governorship of Shiraz, and then of Baghdad. When he proclaimed his autonomy Jahanshah besieged Baghdad, caught and then killed his own son in spite of promising him immunity. Inscription: ‘Verily God commands justice and goodness, Pir-Budaq son of Jahanshah son of Yusuf Noyan’.