27 May 2014
“Being originally from Russia, working on this project with the British, I realise we are sort of the worst possible candidates from the Iranian point of view to organise the preservation of Persian culture.” Dr Firuza Abdullaeva gives a self-deprecating smile to a chorus of knowing chuckles. As Head of Pembroke College’s Shahnameh Centre for Persian Studies, inaugurated this Saturday, Dr Abdullaeva has every reason to smile. The Shahnameh Centre is the culmination of a project founded by Professor Charles Melville in 1999, and despite the superfluous ghosts of old wrongs, any misgivings could be formed only in error. In their passion, neither Melville nor Abdullaeva could be doubted (the latter named at least three paintings from the ‘Time Forward’ exhibition as her favourites, and may well have elucidated more had she had time). Both are giants in their field, and continue the impressive tradition of research into Persian culture which has existed in Pembroke since at least the 1880s, and which has included such eminent...
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