London show turns spotlight on 5,000 years of Iranian art, design and culture

May 28, 2021 - 21:2

TEHRAN - The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is hosting an exhibition of Iranian art, design, and culture, which according to organizers delves into 5,000 years of the history of the nation.

Titled “Epic Iran”, the show kicks off tomorrow featuring ten various sections, some of which being presented below. Organizers say the sections are expected to transport visitors to “a city, complete with gatehouse, gardens, palace, and library”.

The first section introduces the “Land of Iran” with striking imagery of the country's dramatic and varied landscapes – all of which have shaped the country's social, economic, and political history.

Some sections feature objects decorated with recurring animal and nature motifs, and figurines and items from everyday life including earrings and belt fragments, which were made from 3200 BC to the Achaemenid era (c.550 – 330 BC).

The fourth section, “Last of the Ancient Empires,” covers a period of dynastic change with Alexander the Great overthrew the Persian Empire in 331 BC. This section showcases Parthian and Sasanian sculpture, stone reliefs, gold and silverware, coins, as well as Zoroastrian iconography.

The fifth section, “The Book of Kings”, is a prelude to the sections devoted to Islamic Iran. It shows how Iran's long history before the coming of Islam was understood in later centuries – primarily through the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings, which is the world's greatest epic poem, completed by the poet Ferdowsi around 1010 CE.

Several exquisite Qur'ans and manuscript illuminations feature, alongside a prayer rug, battle and parade armor, a celestial globe, and the magnificent Horoscope of Iskandar Sultan, have been put on show at the section.

Bridging the 1940s to the present day, the final section “Modern and Contemporary Iran” will cover a period of dynamic social and political change in Iran, encompassing increased international travel as well as political dissent, the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, and the establishment of the Islamic Republic.


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