History and Art of the Shahname with Firuza Melville

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 Ferdowsi (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

Reproductions of Artworks discussed in the Episode (click on the images to see more information)

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