Monday, 25 October 2010

Epic of Ferdowsi Shahnameh

Exploring exquisite Persian manuscript art inspired by the world's longest poem: the Shahnameh, or 'Book of Kings'. With Professor Charles Melville, Director of the Cambridge Shahnama Project .

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Sat 11 September 2010 to Sun 9 January 2011
Mellon Gallery (13)

This autumn, a landmark exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum explores the monumental artistic legacy of one of the world's greatest literary epics: the 1000 year-old Persian 'Book of Kings', or Shahnameh.

Completed by the poet Ferdowsi in 1010 AD, this vast narrative poem telling the 'Iranian version' of the history of the world is an icon of Persian culture, inspiring some of the world's most exquisite manuscripts. To mark the passing of a millennium since its completion, Epic of the Persian Kings: The Art of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh now brings together nearly one hundred paintings from these lavishly illustrated manuscripts spanning 800 years, in the most comprehensive exhibition of Shahnameh art yet mounted in this country.

Presenting a spectacular range of richly illustrated manuscripts and of Persian miniature paintings - drawn from public and private collections in the UK including the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, the British Museum, the British Library, the V&A, the Royal Asiatic Society, the Bodleian Library and collections within Cambridge - Epic of the Persian Kings: The Art of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh presents a captivating literary and artistic tradition that for many in the West has remained hidden.

A diverse programme of events will accompany the exhibition, from talks and lectures by international authorities on the Shahnameh and creative workshops for all ages, to concerts of Persian music, film and theatrical performances bringing these tales to life.

The exhibition is presented with the support of Iran Heritage Foundation, and is also supported by the Bahari Foundation, Denis and Minouche Severis, Parsa Community Foundation, Princess Guity Qajar Fund, Monica and Ali Wambold, the ILEX Foundation and the Islamic Manuscript Association.

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