Iran’s 1000-year-old illuminated literary masterpiece at Smithsonian

greatest literary masterpiece, considered the finest illustrated texts
ever in the Islamic world, the “Shahnama” (Book of Kings) has just gone
on view at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. 

The Shahnama: 1000 Years of the Persian Book of Kings”,
is “probably one of the finest shows we’ve ever put together,” Massumeh
Farhad, the Sackler and Freer Galleries’ chief curator, curator of
Islamic art, and organizer of the exhibition told a press preview before
the exhibit opened on October 23. 

The “Shahnama” is “the great Persian epic, comparable on its cultural
significance and popularity to the works of Homer and Shakespeare…,”
Farhad explained. 

“It’s the most popular text in Iran and the Islamic world. Every
Iranian household has two books – the “’Shahnama’ and the Koran,” she
added, “and the most frequently illustrated text in the Islamic world,
bar none.” 

The glorious exhibit has 33 sumptuous, intricate paintings and
objects from the 14th to 16th centuries. These include rare folios from
two of the most important, celebrated copies of the “Shahnama” still in

Completed in 1010 after 30 years of writing by the great poet >>>

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