Qajar Shield - AM.0369, Origin: Central Asia, Circa: 18 th Century AD, Dimensions: 4.25" (10.8cm) high x 23.5" (59.7cm) wide, Collection: Islamic, Style: Qajar, Medium: Steel. From their roots as a Turkmen tribe of shepherd- warriors centered in Azerbaijan, the Qajar Dynasty would become a fully assimilated Perso- Islamic monarchy that reunified Persia and, through their modernization programs, laid the foundation for the modern nation-state now known as Iran. Following the demise of the Safavid Dynasty, various regional centers of powers emerged, including the Zand Dynasty that controlled the south. In 1779, after the death of the Zand leader, Agha Mohammed Khan, the founder of the Qajar Dynasty, set out to reunify Persia under the Qajar banner. By 1794, Agha Mohammed Khan had defeated his internal rivals and reestablished Persian sovereignty over territories in Georgia and the Caucasus previously lost to foreign powers. These territorial gains would not last long, however, as the Qajaris soon found themselves in direct conflict with the imperial aspirations of Russia and Britain. Fath Ali Shah, who rose to the throne following the assassination of Agha Mohammed in 1797, presided over a period of disastrous conflicts with Russia, which resulted in an acknowledgement of Russian sovereignty over Georgia and later the entire South Caucasus region north of the Aras River.
Ancient Near East