Safavid Carnelian Seal Set in Gold Ring - OS.106, Origin: Central Asia, Circa: 17 th Century AD to 18 th Century AD, Collection: Islamic Art, Style: Safavid, Medium: Carnelian, Gold. The origins of the Safavid Dynasty can be traced back to the Safaviyeh Sufi order founded in the early 14th century in the city of Ardabil. From this base in northwestern Iran, the Safavids would go on to become the first native Persian dynasty to exert control over all of Iran since the fall of the Sassanids. Much like the ethnically diverse country they would rule, the Safavids were of mixed ancestry, including Kurdish, Greek, Azerbaijani, and Georgian lines. Although their religious roots were aligned with the Sunni Sufi order, by the early days of the 15th century, the Safavids switched sects, establishing the Twelver branch of Shiism as the official religion of the empire. The adoption of the Shia faith would have a profound impact on the future of Iran while bringing them into conflict with their Sunni neighbors, the Ottomans to the west and the Uzbeks to the northeast.
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