Source: Library of Congress
An exhibition at the Library of Congress will explore the rich literary tradition of the Persian language over the last millennium, from illuminated manuscripts to contemporary publications. The exhibition will bring attention to the literary achievements of Iran and the greater Persian-speaking regions of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Central and South Asia and the Caucasus.
"A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" will open on Thursday, March 27 in the South Gallery on the second level of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 E. First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, the exhibition will close on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.
The exhibition's 75 items are drawn primarily from the outstanding Persian collection in the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division. The Library's Persian collection is among the most important in the world today outside of Iran.
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Ambassador Hushang Ansary, Jawad Kamel, Nazie Eftekhari and other generous donors.
The Persian language gained prominence as a literary and common cultural language about a thousand years ago. Since then, a rich and varied written and spoken heritage has developed in the Persian language, elevating the visibility of the Persian civilization among world intellectual traditions. That tradition is particularly strong in the fields of storytelling, poetry, folklore, and literature, with important contributions in historiography, science, religion, and philosophy.
The exhibition will look at the Persian language and earlier writing systems and scripts; the seminal 10th-century "Shahnameh" (Book of Kings); and works in the fields of religion, science and technology, history, literature, classical Persian poetry, 18th- and 19th-century literature, modern and contemporary literature, women writers, and storytelling and children's literature. The exhibition will also demonstrate the continuity of the written word as a unifying cultural force in Persian-speaking lands.
The lead curator of the exhibition is Hirad Dinavari, reference specialist for the Iranian World Collections in the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED). The exhibition director is Cynthia Wayne of the Library's Interpretive Programs Office.
Library Celebrates Opening of Persian Book Exhibition with Lecture, Panel Discussion
The Library of Congress will celebrate the March 27 opening of its exhibition "A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" with a day-long program that includes a lecture and a panel discussion on Persian manuscripts and the tradition of manuscript-making in Persian-speaking lands.
The program, "Illustrating the Persian Book: The Happy Marriage of Literacy and Visual Narrative" will start at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 27, in the Northeast Pavilion on the second level of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. N.E., Washington, D.C. Free and open to the public, the event will end at 3 p.m. Tickets are not needed.
The program is sponsored by the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) and the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland.
The Library's exhibition, in the South Gallery of the Jefferson Building, will explore the rich literary tradition of the Persian language over the last 1,000 years, from illuminated manuscripts to contemporary publications. It will focus on the literary achievements of Iran and the greater Persian-speaking regions of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Central and South Asia and the Caucasus. The exhibition features 75 items drawn primarily from AMED's outstanding Persian collection.
Speakers for the lecture and panel discussion include John Renard, professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo.; Amy Landau, associate curator of Islamic Manuscripts and Art at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore; and Fatemeh Keshavarz, director of the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. Christopher Murphy, head of AMED's Near East Section, will moderate the panel discussion.
- 10:30 a.m.
Opening remarks by Mary-Jane Deeb, chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) of the Library of Congress
- 10:32 a.m.
Welcoming remarks by Roberta Shaffer, associate librarian for Library Services, Library of Congress
- 10:38 a.m.
Fatemeh Keshavarz introduces keynote speaker John Renard
- 10:45 a.m. - noon
Renard presents "Illustrating the Persian Book: The Happy Marriage of Literacy and Visual Narrative"
- noon - 1:30 p.m.
Luncheon and tours of the exhibition by Hirad Dinavari, Persian-Area Studies specialist at the Library
- 1:30 - 3 p.m.
Panel Discussion featuring Renard, Keshavarz and Amy Landau, with Christopher Murphy moderating
In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of lectures at the Library of Congress will take place from April through September, organized by AMED and cosponsored by the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, with the generous support of the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute based in Hawaii. A schedule of the lectures will be forthcoming.
The Library's African and Middle Eastern Division is the center for the study of 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East and the Caucasus to Central Asia. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/amed/.
The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.
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