Shahnameh manuscripts on display at Berlin museum

April 28, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- A collection of 50 manuscripts and folios of the Shahnameh, the celebrated work of the Persian epic poet Ferdowsi (935-1020), has been put on display in an exhibition at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

Entitled A Thousand Years of the Persian Book of Kings, the exhibit has been organized to commemorate the millennium of the completion of the Shahnameh narrating stories from legendary Iranian kings and heroes, the internet magazine Art Daily reported on Wednesday.
Shahnameh, in which the Persian national epic found its final and enduring form, was completed in 1010.
It was written for Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna. However, he didn’t welcome it because of the Shia religion of Ferdowsi.
According some historical sources on Persian literature, Ferdowsi spent 30 years writing the Shahnameh, which is comprised of nearly 60,000 verses.
Known as “Book of Kings” in English, Shahnameh is based mainly on the Khwatay-namak, a history of the kings of Persia in Pahlavi (Middle Persian) from mythical times down to the 7th century.
For nearly 1000 years, Shahnameh has remained one of the most popular works in the Persian-speaking world.
The exhibition also presents priceless and extremely rare masterpieces of Persian painting from the extensive collection of the Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum.
The manuscripts and folios belong to the Keir Collection, the National Library, and the Museum of Islamic Art.
Collections of medieval ceramics, textiles, metalwork and weapons as well as artifacts from the Sasanid era have been showcased on the sideline of the exhibit.
Organizers of the show, which runs until July 3, have borrowed these artifacts from the Berlin Museum of Asian Arts, the Berlin Museum of Ethnology and the Deutsche Historische Museum (DHM) and two German private collections.
Photo: A Shahnameh manuscript is on display at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. The manuscript is part of an exhibition entitled A Thousand Years of the Persian Book of Kings, held to commemorate the tenth centenary of the completion of the Shahnameh by Persian poet Ferdowsi. (EPA/Stephanie Pilick)