Edition Minerva: Katalog 2014

Heroic Times

HeroicTimes

Heroic Times.
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Herausgegeben von Julia Gonella und Christoph Rauch.
A Thousand Years of the Persian Book of Kings
Für das Museum für Islamische Kunst.
184 Seiten, 140 überwiegend farbige Abbildungen
Broschur 21,0 x 29,0 cm

The year 2010 marked the millennium of the completion of the Persian Book of Kings. Written by the poet Abu’l-Qasim Firdausi, this epic ranks among the greatest works of world literature: in over 50,000 verses it relates the history of the kings of ancient Iran from their mythical beginnings up to the Arab conquest and the introduction of Islam in 642 AD.  As the millennium approached, the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin and the Oriental Department of the Berlin State Library joined forces to foster a renewed appreciation of the Persian masterwork. Beyond the sublime poetry itself, the focus of their project was the art it has inspired. As a literary work, the Shahnama is practically unrivalled for the impulses it has provided to the Persian art of illustrating books.

The Museum of Islamic Art and the Oriental Department of the Berlin State Library, therefore, seized this unique opportunity to make some of their most splendid treasures accessible to the public, the wide range of early Shahnama illustrations from the 14th century from the famous Diez Albums kept in the Berlin State Library constituting a particularly impressive case in point. The exhibition included further rare examples of Persian and Indian manuscript illustration, ceramics, lacquer work, weapons, early printed books, textiles, valuable documents and working notes, as well as pre-Islamic Iranian works of art: both holdings of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, as well as important loans from Edmund de Unger, the Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin (DHM), and several private collectors.

The German catalog, Heroische Zeiten, that accompanied the exhibition in 2011 in the Pergamonmuseum appears to have made a great impression on both the scholarly community as well as the general public in the spring of 2011. Even after it closed, the demand for an English version of the essays, as well as for a record of the remarkable works displayed in the exhibition, remained great. Thus, Heroic Times, concerned with so many different aspects of Firdausi’s Shahnama in the German-speaking world, now appears more than a year after the exhibition closed its doors.


Heroic Times
A Thousand Years of the Persian Book of Kings
Für das Museum für Islamische Kunst

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Herausgegeben von Julia Gonella
und Christoph Rauch

Broschur 21,0 x 29,0 cm
184 Seiten, 140 überwiegend farbige Abbildungen
EUR 24,90 / SFr 25,50

ISBN 978-3-943964-03-5

Highlights