Foundation for International Arts and Education/The Kekelidze Institute of Manuscripts, Tbilisi

Georgia’s multicultural heritage is apparent in this illustration from an 18th-century edition of The Knight in the Panther’s Skin by the 12th-century poet Shota Rustaveli. A tale of courtly love and chivalry written in honor of the medieval Georgian queen Tamar, The Knight in the Panther’s Skin is Georgia’s national epic—a product of the vibrant civilization that flourished in the 11th and 12th centuries. Yet the 87 miniatures in this gold-leaf manuscript bear a decidedly Persian cast. The artist’s colors, representational style and composition all suggest a Safavid Persian or Ottoman influence. The Ottomans ruled much of Georgia during the 17th and 18th centuries A.D.