The Heroic Past: The Persian Book of Kings

This exhibition celebrates the millennium of the poet Firdawsi’s Shahnama (Book of Kings), considered one of the world’s great works of literature. Composed of more than 100,000 lines, the epic poem recounts the history of Iran from the beginning of time to the conquest of Islam in the seventh century. The Shahnama‘s sweeping narrative and colorful mix of myth and history have inspired the remarkable manuscript paintings on view. Created in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, these illustrations convey the visual power of Firdawsi’s words. The exhibition is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery with support from The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund.