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Statues of 17 Islamic figures unveiled at Tehran center


Source: Tehran Times

Statues of 17 Islamic figures were unveiled at Tehran's Eshraq Cultural Center on Thursday. The statues, 12 of which are busts, have been crafted from bronze by Sivash Salimi. He spent 15 months creating the artworks, which have been installed in various sites at the center.

Officials and artists pose for a photograph after unveiling the statue of Suhrawardi at Tehran's Eshraq Cultural Center on December 20, 2012. (Mehr/Amin Allahyari)

"I have never wanted to be famous. Therefore, I never autograph my works," he said in a short speech at the ceremony.

The tallest of the statues, which is 3 meters in height, features the Islamic philosopher Sheikh Shahab ad-Din Suhrawardi (1154-1191), who was the founder of the Illuminationist philosophy or "Oriental Theosophy", an important school in Islamic mysticism that drew upon Zoroastrian and Platonic ideas.

It has been set up at the entrance of the Eshraq Cultural Center.

Suhrawardi is sometimes given the honorific title Shaikh al-Ishraq ("Master of Illumination").

"All people who are involved in making statues know that normally it takes at least eight months to create a 3-meter statue, but I made all the statues in 15 months," Salimi said.

"The power of love and faith pushed me in this way," he added.

Two of the statues belong to Farabi (c. 878-950), a philosopher and a prominent musician who was regarded in the Arab world as the greatest philosophical authority after Aristotle and Avicenna (980-1037), the Islamic physician and philosopher who was born in Persia.

Busts of Sheikh Bahai, philosopher, architect, mathematician, astronomer and poet in 16th-century Iran, and Muslim theologian and mystic Ghazali (1058-1111) were also among the statues, which were unveiled at the cultural center located in the Tehranpars neighborhood.

Over ten huge bronze statues of some Iranian luminaries vanished during serial thefts in various districts of Tehran in 2010 and 2011.

The Tehran Police was commissioned to investigate the issue. However, no positive results were produced from the investigations.

Some Tehran Municipality officials claimed that the statues were stolen for the value of the metal used in making them.

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