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Art gallery explores Persian history

By Sadia Habib

TO MARK the millennium year of Ferdowsi’s ‘Shahnama’ (Book of Kings) a Manchester library is hosting a Persian themed exhibition.

The John Rylands University Library’s Christie Gallery is playing host to the Heroes and Kings exhibition by displaying exhibiting fascinating manuscripts which tell the story of the myths and histories of ancient Persia.

The Shahnama is a national epic poem of Iran which it tells the mythical and historical past of the Persian empire from the creation of the world up until the Arab conquest in the 7th Century.

Heroes and Kings, which runs until 27 June 2010, engages the  language, literature, art, history and mythology of the Persian empire in a creative and clever manner through the Shanama manuscripts and artefacts, some of which are more than 500 years old.

It also raises awareness of the historical past of the once powerful Zorastrian community for the Shahnama outlines the roots of Zorastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.

There are few followers of Zorastrianism still remaining and exhibition leaves visitors wondering about contemporary Zorastrian identity.

A series of family fun days have also been organised to run alongside the exhibition.

On 24 April and 3 June children will get the chance engage with some of the Shahnama stories, create a book and make Persian armour.

There will also be film screenings of ‘Persepolis’ on 25 March and ‘Azur and Asmar: The Prince’s Quest’ on 3 June, an evening of Arabic dance on 30 April, poetry with Mimi Khalvati on 26 May and a public lecture on 10 June.

Some events, although free, require booking. To book your place at one of the events contact the library on 0161 306 0555 jrl.events@manchester.ac.uk.

The John Rylands University Library is situated at  The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PP.

3 Responses

  1. Nice post! I really like your posting.
    i will come back to read more of your posts.


  2. Dear Dollie

    Thank you for your kind words – that was my first ever piece I have written for a blog/website.


  3. Nice piece on what’s going on in Manchester. I had no idea that outside of London there are such interesting exhibitions!

    Also good to see something positive on Iran – such as their amazing history and past. Firdowsi really is literary giant in Iran, nice to see that we can also share it in the West…

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