Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Lecture: Achaemenid and Sassanian themes in Qajar tilework and related themes

27 November 2016
Friday 2 December at 5.30 at the AIIT: Jennifer Scarce (University of Dundee): "Qajar nostalgia: Achaemenid and Sassanian themes in Qajar tilework and related themes"

Iran has always been aware of her pre- Islamic past and its impressive pictorial record. The dramatic rock and stone sculptured reliefs of the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids spanning the 6th century B.C. to the 7th century A.D. are permanent evidence of the achievements of the rulers, their courts and occupations. Later the Sassanian rulers, as transformed into romantic heroes in the Shahnameh of Ferdausi, the Iranian national epic are portrayed in various media such as painted ceramics and manuscripts illustrations from the 13th century onwards.
The Qajar shahs of the 19th century were well aware of the glorious past which they interpreted through a revival of monumental rock sculptures which, for example, depicted Fath Ali Shah (1797-1834) in the guise of a Sassanian ruler and later through the medium of glazed tilework of the late 19th century which concentrated on narrative panels inspired by the Achaemenid imagery of Persepolis.

This lecture will survey and analyse the main themes of this Qajar revival in terms of the choice of images and the techniques used to illustrate them including polychrome tilework, and the innovations of lithography and photography.

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