Persian Art Books:

Love and devotion (incl. DVD)

+ The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp

Book cover 'Love and Devotion: from Persia and Beyond'

Persian Art Books

Love and Devotion: from Persia and Beyond

BOOK (Editor: Susan Scollay) + DVD offer

Tales of earthly and spiritual love were recounted and reinterpreted by Persian poets from the 11th century onwards. Stories of lovers such as Yusuf and Zulaykha, Khusrau and Shirin, and Layla and Majnun were embraced not only in Iran but also in the neighbouring Mughal and Ottoman empires. In courtly settings versified epics and lyrical couplets were copied into illustrated manuscripts for elite patrons in the eastern Islamic world, for whom poetry was a key component of cultural life from the 14th to the18th centuries. Parallels and echoes of these timeless tales and the masterful words of poets such as Saadi, Attar, Hafiz and Rumi intersect with European literature from the time of Dante and Shakespeare up to the present day.

In this book leading specialists in literature, art history and philosophy reveal new perspectives on the evocative world conjured up by these stories of love and devotion from Persian poetry and the exquisitely-coloured miniature paintings that embellish them. The 220 page book presents full-page reproductions of more than 130 folios from illustrated manuscripts and works from the collections of the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and from the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, many reproduced for the first time (this volume will appeal to both specialist and general readers)

Price (as new): $135 AUD + postage email link

This stunning book comes with a 28 min documentary DVD

Traveling across the world for the first time, many rare manuscripts dating from the 13th to 18th centuries are put on display for us to experience the detail and beauty of Persian illumination, calligraphy and poetic stories that date back to antiquity, yet transcend time and place. Within this setting, a precious window is opened – and this documentary offers a unique opportunity to explore this extraordinarily rich cultural past and its dialogue with Western literature.

see trailer


The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp

The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp (front cover)

Also known as The Persian Book of Kings

Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. First Edition
45.5cm x 31cm. 288 pages, 300 colour illustrations. Blue cloth, gilt lettering, illustrated slipcase.

One of the most voluminous epics of world literature, the Shahnama (or “Book of Kings”) narrates the history of the ancient kings of Iran, from their mythical beginnings to the Arab conquest in 651 A.D. Although illustrated copies of the poem were commissioned by numerous Iranian kings, the Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp (r. 1524-1576) is arguably the most important and beautifully illustrated version ever produced. It was created by two generations of the most renowned early-16th-century artists at the royal atelier in Tabriz, the first capital of the Safavid dynasty. Characterized by calligraphy, painting, and illuminations of exquisite quality and artistic originality, the volume is considered one of the highest achievements in the arts of the book. After its creation, the Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp travelled through several royal collections until it was broken up and dispersed in the 20th century. Now, accompanying the 759 folios of text, written in superb nasta‘liq script, for the first time, all 258 illuminated pages of this famous volume are reproduced in colour and close to their original size in this sumptuous publication (see Gallery Tab above for more pictures).

Price (in very good condition): $1,250 AUD + freight email link

Detail (The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp)

Open pages (The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp)

  • Book cover 'Love and Devotion: from Persia and Beyond'
  • Detail (The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp)
  • Detail (The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp)
  • Detail (The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp)
  • The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp (front cover)
  • Open pages (The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp)