London show highlights 5,000 years of Iranian art, design and culture

TEHRAN – The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is hosting an exhibition on Iranian art, design and culture, which organizers say delves into the nation’s 5,000-year history.

Entitled “Epic Iran”, the show kicks off tomorrow with ten different sections, some of which are featured below. The organizers say the sections should transport visitors to “a city, with the gatehouse, the gardens, the palace and the library”.

The first section presents the “Land of Iran” with striking images 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, as well as figurines and everyday objects, including earrings and belt fragments, made from 3200 BC to the Achaemenid period. (circa 550-330 BC).

The fourth section, “The Last of Ancient Empires,” covers a period of dynastic change with Alexander the Great overthrowing the Persian Empire in 331 BC. This section features Parthian and Sassanid sculptures, 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 advent of Islam was understood over the following centuries – primarily through the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings, which is the world’s greatest epic poem, supplemented by the poet Ferdowsi around 1010 CE.

Several exquisite Qurans and handwritten illuminations feature, alongside a prayer rug, battle and parade armor, a celestial globe and Iskandar Sultan’s magnificent Horoscope, were on display in the section.

Connecting 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 the increase in international travel as well as political dissent, the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran from 1980-1988. -The war in Iraq and the establishment of the Islamic Republic.


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