Patrons or murids? Mongol women and shaykhs in Ilkhanid Iran and Anatolia

Bruno De Nicola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interactions between the Mongols and religious leaders from different confessions have been documented since the early period of the Mongol Empire. When the Mongols conquered Iran and Anatolia and established
the Ilkhanid dynasty, the interaction between the Mongol court and Sufi shaykhs became more apparent. Mongol courtly women (khātūns), who had enough economic capability and financial autonomy, played an important role in securing political favour and economic support for religious leaders. This paper explores the interaction between courtly women and Sufi shaykhs in Ilkhanid Iran and Anatolia. Firstly, it investigates the role of Mongol women in religion and secondly, it examines their patronage activities. Finally, it addresses
the personal interaction between some of these ladies and Shaykh Safī al-Dīn Ardabilī, which provides an interesting case study to facilitate an understanding of the relationship between khātūns and shaykhs in the fourteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-156
JournalIran: Journal of British Institute of Persian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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