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Scenes from the Shahnama and Khavarannama

October 22, 2002–November 27, 2005

Written by the Persian poet Firdawsi (ca. 935–1026), the nearly 60,000 couplet poem called the Shahnama (The Book of Kings) has come to be known as Persia’s national epic. The poem is based on a history of the kings of Persia from their mythical beginnings through the seventh century.

This installation features seven fifteenth-and sixteenth-century miniatures, originally made for bound books, which combine text and images from the Shahnama. Illustrations of kings and heroes in fantastic landscape settings done in colorful tempera, silver, and gold complement the elegant calligraphy.

Main Building


Dr. Adriana Proser, Assistant Curator, East Asian Art; Dr. Maris Gillette, Researcher, East Asian Art

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