Epic of the Persian Kings: The Art of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh at the Fitzwilliam Museum

The Fitzwilliam Museum Presents Epic of the Persian Kings: The Art of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh open Sat 11 September 2010 to Sun 9 January 2011 in the Mellon Gallery.

This landmark exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum explores the monumental artistic legacy of one of the world’s greatest literary epics: the 1000 year-old Persian ‘Book of Kings’, or Shahnameh.

Completed by the poet Ferdowsi in 1010 AD, this vast narrative poem telling the ‘Iranian version’ of the history of the world is an icon of Persian culture, inspiring some of the world’s most exquisite manuscripts. To mark the passing of a millennium since its completion, Epic of the Persian Kings: The Art of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh now brings together nearly one hundred paintings from these lavishly illustrated manuscripts spanning 800 years, in the most comprehensive exhibition of Shahnameh art yet mounted in this country.

Presenting a spectacular range of richly illustrated manuscripts and of Persian miniature paintings – drawn from public and private collections in the UK including the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, the British Museum, the British Library, the V&A, the Royal Asiatic Society, the Bodleian Library and collections within Cambridge – Epic of the Persian Kings: The Art of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh presents a captivating literary and artistic tradition that for many in the West has remained hidden.

A diverse programme of events will accompany the exhibition, from talks and lectures by international authorities on the Shahnameh and creative workshops for all ages, to concerts of Persian music, film and theatrical performances bringing these tales to life.

The exhibition is presented with the support of Iran Heritage Foundation, and is also supported by the Bahari Foundation, Denis and Minouche Severis, Parsa Community Foundation, Princess Guity Qajar Fund, Monica and Ali Wambold, the ILEX Foundation and the Islamic Manuscript Association.

Image: Shahnameh

The Fitzwilliam Museum
Trumpington Street,
Cambridge CB2 1RB

Tel: 01223 332900
Fax: 01223 332923
fitzmuseum-enquiries@lists.cam.ac.uk

www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

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