In today’s episode, Isabelle Imbert welcomes Dr Firuza Melville, director of research of Cambridge Shahnama centre for Persian Studies and eminent specialist of the Persian poet Firdausi (c. 933-1020) and his Shahnama, the book of kings telling the epic history of Iran before Islam. The text was illustrated many times, including under the reign of Safavid ruler Shah Tahmasp (r. 1524-76). His manuscript was finished around 1535 and is considered by most as the pinnacle of Persian painting. Pages of the manuscript sometimes appear on the market, and one page will be sold at Sotheby’s on the 26th October, so it is a perfect time to invite a great specialist to talk about the text, the manuscript and its history.
Firuza’s computer made some impromptu interventions at different points of the recording, which I couldn’t remove. I apologize for the inconvenience and hope it won’t be too distracting.
Mentioned in the Episode and Further Links
- Follow the Art Informant on Instagram and Twitter
- Follow Firuza on Instagram and Academia
- The Cambridge Shahnama Centre for Persian Studies
- Database of the Shahnama project in Cambridge Digital Library
- Florentine Shahnama, oldest surviving manuscript of the Shahnama, dated 614 H./ 1217
- Sotheby’s catalogue: Rustam recovers Rakhsh from Afrasiyab’s herd, Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp, attributed to Mirza ‘Ali, Persia, Tabriz, Royal Atelier, circa 1525-35
- Pages of Shah Tahmasp’s Shahnama in the Metropolitan Museum
Fushia Hart, “‘Something in me sparked’: the Iranian women using art to protest”, The Guardian 3.10.2022
- Pamela Karimi, “The Many Shades of Iran’s Protest Art”, Hyperallergic 11.10.2022
- Click here for more episodes of the ART Informant.