The Chihil Sutun Garden stood on the grounds of the Naqsh-i Jahan Gardens, to which belonged also the pavilion called Jahan Nama on its western flank and Khiyaban-i Chaharbagh on the northern end. It became known as Bagh-i Chihil Sutun only after the Chihil Sutun (“forty pillars”) pavilion was created.
Jabiri reports that Shah ‘Abbas I designed it. The first unequivocal reference to the Chihil Sutun building is, however, during the reign of Shah ‘Abbas II. Three panegyrics were written contemporary to its building. One was found in 1327 AH/1948 on six hexagonal slabs inscribed in nasta‘līq script that once decorated the building; this is confirmed by Tahir-i Vahid, who describes the Chihil Sutun and reports the occasion of the poem's composition, saying that its final hemistich, mubarak tarin bana ha-yi dunya, was the chronogram corresponding to the year 1057 AH/1647. Tahir-i Vahid himself composed two poems in praise of the building. The most important poem is by Muhammad Ali Saib-i Tabrizi Isfahani, the court poet of Shah ‘Abbas II, which was written on the occasion of the building’s inauguration, and which singles out sections of the building and its decoration. Drawings by Kaempfer and Coste show the garden and its building in the years 1684 and 1840. A great part of its mirror decoration was destroyed by Zill al-Sultan in 1300 AH/1883. Shah Sultan Husayn carried out repairs on the Chihil Sutun after a fire in 1318 AH/1901.
Sources: Travel Account, 17th century, Travel Account, 19th century
Safavid Palaces at Isfahan: Continuity and Change (1590–1666) (Open in Zotero)
Tarikh-i Isfahan va Ray va hamah-i jahan (Open in Zotero)
Safavid Royal Gardens and Their Urban Relationships (Open in Zotero)
Abbasnama, MS Add. 7656 (Open in Zotero)
Originally published at: Alemi, Mahvash. “Bagh-i Chihil Sutun.” Middle East Garden Traditions. Dumbarton Oaks, November 18, 2014. https://www.doaks.org/resources/middle-east-garden-traditions/catalogue#b_start=0&c6=Safavid+Gardens. Archived at:https://perma.cc/H4VG-8VF7