In the aftermath of the seventh-century Islamic conquest of Iran, Zoroastrians departed for India. Known as the Parsis, they slowly lost contact with their ancestral land until the nineteenth century, when steam-powered sea travel, the increased circulation of Zoroastrian-themed books, and the philanthropic efforts of Parsi benefactors sparked a new era of interaction between the two groups.
Tracing the cultural and intellectual exchange between Iranian nationalists and the Parsi community during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Exile and the Nation shows how this interchange led to the collective reimagining of Parsi and Iranian national identity—and the influence of antiquity on modern Iranian nationalism, which previously rested solely on European forms of thought. Iranian nationalism, Afshin Marashi argues, was also the byproduct of the complex history resulting from the demise of the early modern Persianate cultural system, as well as one of the many cultural heterodoxies produced within the Indian Ocean world. Crossing the boundaries of numerous fields of study, this book reframes Iranian nationalism within the context of the connected, transnational, and global history of the modern era.
Note on Transliteration and Dates
Chapter 1. To Bombay and Back: Arbab Kaykhosrow Shahrokh and the Reinvention of Iranian Zoroastrianism
Chapter 2. Patron and Patriot: Dinshah J. Irani, Parsi Philanthropy, and the Revival of Indo-Iranian Culture
Chapter 3. Imagining Hafez: Rabindranath Tagore in Iran, 1932
Chapter 4. Ebrahim Purdavud and His Interlocutors: Parsi Patronage and the Making of the Vernacular Avesta
Chapter 5. Sword of Freedom: Abdulrahman Saif Azad and Interwar Iranian Nationalism
Qajar era was a period which academic historical researches translated from European languages to Persian and archaeological excavations in Iran besides deciphering ancient inscriptions by European orientalists and Iranologists took place. Confronting these excavations and texts made Iranian historians and also Iranians – who had epic perception from their ancient history – to have contradictory feelings about their past. This article tries to answer this question that how historians in Qajar era managed to solve these incompatible narratives. For this purpose, historical texts about ancient Iran, which have been written or translated in Qajar era, have been scrutinized. This article shows that in early Qajar era epic viewpoint about ancient Iran history was totally dominant so that historians would rather ignore factual history, provided by excavations and inscriptions, or interpret them in epic context. By expanding historical researches, factual history of ancient Iran gradually became an authentic narrative beside epic one and historians tried to connect these narratives in order to solve the duality. Eventually in later Qajar era, epic narrative considered fictional and the history, based on archaeological excavations and ancient texts, became valid.
اردو، رضا. 1397. تحول الگوهای تقسیمبندی تاریخ ایران باستان در عصر قاجار. تاریخنگری و تاریخنگاری 21: 7-31
Tilework illustration of the Qajar period has received comparatively little scholarly consideration. This applies specifically to Shiraz, where the art was abundantly practiced. My book, the first of its kind, presents a detailed analytical study of Qajar tile painting in Shiraz. The material has been collected during two extensive fieldwork trips. Having collected more than 5,000 photos, I have chosen 42 historical buildings in Shiraz with tile work decoration for a detailed analysis, supplying minute descriptions for each and every image together with a solid documentation of the tiles’ respective location in the buildings. My study identifies, classifies and analyzes the depicted themes and the craftsmanship behind it. Particular attention has been devoted to a detailed discussion of the prominent themes, their argument and motivation, as well as to popular artists of the period. In addition to the study, my work contains ample visual documentation.
This essay discusses the contribution of the Iranians to the understanding of their own past and how the Qajars attempted to place themselves within the ancient history of their realm. The first Iranian archaeological excavations and study of monuments and history are analysed and it is concluded that the choice of the Arsacid empire as an ancestor of the Qajars was part of their efforts to become nativised and connected with Iran’s distant past
A while ago we posted a link about the exhibition The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past. We now draw attention to the catalogue of the exhibition, which presents nearly 200 photographs and contributions by Carmen Perez Gonzalez, Bergische Universität Wuppertal; Reza Sheikh, Independent Scholar; and Judith A. Lerner, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.
The catalogue’s essays discuss such topics as the achievements of court photographers in the service of Naser al-Din Shah, including Reza ‘Akkasbashi, ‘Abdollah Mirza Qajar, and Dust Mohammad Khan Mo’ayyer al-Mamalek, and the volume also examines the role of photography in helping Iranians document Iran’s pre-Islamic monuments during the second half of the nineteenth century.
October 22, 2015- January 17, 2016 Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 11am-6pm, Friday 11am-8pm, Closed Monday and Tuesday
The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past explores a pivotal time in Iran, when the country was opening itself to the Western world. With over 150 photographic prints, a number of vintage photographic albums, and memorabilia that utilized formal portraiture of the shah, the exhibition shows how photographers—many of them engaged by Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (r. 1848-1896), the longest reigning Shah of the Qajar Dynasty (1785-1925)—sought to create a portrait of the country for both foreigners and Iranians themselves. Most of the photographs in the exhibition have never been publicly displayed.
The Eye of the Shah includes unprecedentedphotographs of life in the royal court in Tehran, such as images of the last shahs of the Qajar Dynasty, their wives and children, and court entertainers. These are complemented by photographs of iconic ancient monuments and sites, such as Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam, capturing Iran’s expansive and rich historical past, which further promoted Iran and Iranian culture to the West. The photographers depicted the Iran of their day through images of modernization initiatives, such as the military, the railway, and the postal system, while the daily lives of Iranian people was revealed through photographs showing shopkeepers, street vendors, and field workers. Additionally, Eye of the Shah features pieces by two modern-day Iranian photographers, Bahman Jalali (1944-2010) and Shadi Ghadirian (b. 1974), who evoke and sometimes incorporate images of photography from the Qajar Dynasty, illustrating the continuing and powerful influence that Iranian photography of 19th and early 20th century photography has in the country’s contemporary art world.