The Qur’an was not the only book carefully and lovingly transcribed and decorated. Other books followed, on literature, philosophy, history, and many branches of science. Miniature paintings illustrated these manuscripts. They included both landscapes and portraits and showed both nature, usually pictured as a lush garden, and also portrayals of people and animals. Some scenes showed famous battles and other historical events, or life in the Sultans’ palaces. These paintings were done with such naturalism and attention to detail they are often considered historical documentation of events which took place.
Ancient Persia is famous for books illustrated with small, detailed paintings. These paintings sometimes illustrate poems, stories, or historical events. Others of theme show landscapes in ideal springtime settings. The gardens in these scenes are lush, filled with vegetation. The decorative element is strong, a profusion of figures and designs. Miniatures are flat paintings, with no depth of perspective. The colors are pure and vibrant with lots of green and blue. Gold decorations are used extravagantly. The picture is surrounded by decorative borders.20 These borders, too, are ornate and decorated with gold.