This exhibition will provide a visual narrative of the history of Zoroastrianism from its ancient Iranian roots, to its emergence as the foremost religion of the Achaemenid and Parthian empires and its consolidation as the state religion under the Sasanians and the establishment of the great regnal fires. Evidence of early Zoroastrianism in Central Asia as well as the new discoveries in China will also be included.
From the shores of Iran to the west coast of India the story will continue with the maritime journey of Zoroastrians and their settlement in India where they came to be known as Parsis, their growth as an immigrant community under British colonial rule, and the later expansion of the modern diaspora.
An essential feature of the exhibition will be a walk-in fire temple in which the ceremonies and rituals of the religion will be described and visually displayed as they have existed through history and continue to exist amongst the Zoroastrians of Iran and India today. Ceremonial items will be displayed including the magnificent silver fire vase that sustains the ever-burning fire in the fire temples of Iran and India.
With its ancient beginnings Zoroastrianism has influenced cultures and religions throughout the world in ways that are largely unattested. For example, what do the three Magi, Alexander the Great, Mark Anthony and the Byzantine emperors have in common? These are just a few of the historical encounters between Zoroastrianism and people of other faiths that will be brought to light in the exhibition.
11th October - 14th December 2013
Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Sponsored by Iran Heritage Foundation
Open: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:30 - 17:00
Late night Thursday until 20:00
Closed: Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays
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