This installation complements a graduate seminar that focuses on illustrated texts of the Persian literary tradition, including Firdawsi’s Shahnama (Book of Kings) and Nizami’s Khamsa (Quintet). The selection covers the emergence of illustrated copies of the Shahnama from the early 1300s to the Great Mongol Shahnama of the 1330s—fashioned in the Mongol metropolises of Baghdad and Tabriz—as well as the dissemination of the practice to the Inju court of Shiraz, southern Iran. The latest dated folio comes from the famous Shahnama made for a Safavid ruler of Iran, Shah Tahmasp, between the 1520s and 1540s. The folios point to the diverse artistic strategies and techniques artists applied to render Firdawsi’s poetic imagery and narratives in visual form. The seminar is taught by David J. Roxburgh, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Harvard University.
Teaching gallery installations are mounted in conjunction with Harvard University undergraduate and graduate courses and feature selected objects from the Harvard Art Museums collections. Coordinated by Amy Brauer, Diane Heath Beever Curator of the Collection, Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art, Harvard Art Museums.