Through rigorous and extensive research of historical, literary and exegetical sources, Daneshvari
explores the dual symbolism of this intriguing central motif of Islamic iconography.
Research to date has focused on the dark side of this mythical creature, as an eclipse monster, but here, "Of Serpents and Dragons in Islamic Art," seeks to re-balance this.
Representations of dragons on mosques and other holy structures, gateways to cities, the thrones of rulers, the wings of angels and candleholders are perplexing if the dragon is viewed only as a threatening or demonic icon.
solves this puzzle by arguing that the dragon's primary meaning is as a producer and a symbol of light and protection.
further investigates the astrocosmological significance of dragon's iconography, its diverse hybrid appearances and the double-edged metaphor of opium that represented both the dragon and the only cure to its fiery bite.
Professor Abbas Daneshvari is the former Chair of the Department of Art and a Professor of Art History at California State University, Los Angeles.
publications cover various aspects of Islamic art's iconography as attested by his
books "Animal Symbolism in Warqa wa Gulshah" (Oxford University Press), "Medieval Tomb Towers of Iran" (Mazda Publishers), "Of Serpents and Dragons in Islamic Art: An Iconographical Study" (Mazda Publishers) and many articles on the iconography of Islamic art.
Professor Daneshvari is the editor of "Essays in Islamic Art and Architecture in Honor of Katharina Otto Dorn" (Undena Publications) and the editor of volumes 17 and 18 of Arthur Upham Pope's magnum opus, "A Survey of Persian Art" (Mazda Publishers).
is also the author of a forthcoming book on contemporary Iranian art.