Shahnama Project

Shahnama Project

Shahnama Project

At the core of the Shahnama Project is an online corpus of illustrated manuscripts of the Shahnama, the Persian epic poem composed by Firdausi of Tus in A.D. 1010. The epic became established as an expression of Persian culture and political ethics throughout the Middle Ages and remains so today, strongly associated with the concept of divinely sanctioned kingly rule, but also rich in stories of the tragedy of the human condition and the complex relations between ruler and subjects, fathers and sons, and would-be lovers. Manuscripts of the Shahnama can be found in libraries throughout southern and western Asia, and in public and private collections in Europe and the United States. Many of the hundreds of manuscripts are royal or princely commissions and contain superb examples of Persian miniature painting and the arts of the book. The project makes accessible information and images of manuscripts and their contents from across the world, emphasising the significance of the choice of subjects for illustration and the changing relationships between the images and the text.

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Shahnameh Forever

Shahnameh Forever

Shahnameh Forever

Contemporary art exhibition series 

Ferdowsi’s cult poem Shahnameh, which can be translated as the ‘Book of Kings’ or ‘King of Books’, is a work of mythology, history, literature and propaganda: a living epic that became a cultural encyclopaedia and Iranian national symbol.

The aim of the exhibition series is to show that the universal ideas and rich imagery of the Persian ancient and classical literary heritage are not only alive but are a part of the contemporary Iranian identity not only in Iran but outside the country

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Associated Projects

Islamic Painted Page

Islamic Painted Page

Other Projects

Illustrating cross-culturalism in Persian literature and art

Illustrating cross-culturalism in Persian literature and art

The idea of Iran-Turan

The idea of Iran-Turan

Cultural icons as means of national identity building

Cultural icons as means of national identity building

Literature, Art, Diplomacy and Empire: Khusrau Mirza’s Mission to St Petersburg in 1829

Literature, Art, Diplomacy and Empire: Khusrau Mirza’s Mission to St Petersburg in 1829

Shahnama Forever

Shahnama Forever

Browne Archive Project

Browne Archive Project