The Epic of the Persian Kings

Join us for a special co-presentation with
The Asia Society



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

6:30 to 8 p.m.

The Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021



General Admission : $15
Students and Seniors : $12
Asia Society Members : $10

SHAHNAMEH : The Epic of the Persian Kings is a new, lushly illustrated edition of the classic work by the great Persian poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi. An epic poem that is part myth, part history, the Shahnameh begins with the legend of the birth of the ancient Persian nation and its tumultuous history. It contains magical birds, superhuman heroes, and centuries-long battles.Written over 1,000 years ago, it was meant to protect Persian collective memory amidst a turbulent sea of cultural storms.

Originally written in couplets, the new translation and adaptation, by Iranian expert and sociology professor Ahmad Sadri, retells the mythological tales in prose format. In over 500 pages, the spectacular illustrations in this edition were created from elements culled from thousands of illuminated manuscripts, lithographs, and miniatures dating from the thirteenth through nineteenth centuries, each panel becomes a new work of art, an exquisite collage of traditional forms, as created by award-winning graphic artist and filmmaker Hamid Rahmanian.

The Shahnameh is the longest poem written by a single person in the history of humanity. "The aim of this project is to infuse the popular imagination of the English-speaking world with the legends of Shahnameh, its epic battles, sweeping love stories and increasingly human centered tragedies," said Professor Sadri, who holds the James P. Gorter chair of Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College.

Hamid and Ahmed will be joined in conversation by Sheila Canby, the Patti Cadby Birch Curator of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for a fresh look at this classic text on the eve of its new edition, published this spring.

Preview the book here

Purchase Advance Tickets HERE

Dr. Ahmad Sadri is currently Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and James P. Gorter Chair of Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College. He received his BA and MA degrees in Sociology from the University of Tehran, and his PhD in Sociology from the New School for Social Research in New York.

Prof. Sadri is the author of Max Weber's Sociology of Intellectuals(Oxford University Press, 1992), which was chosen as academic book of the year by Choice, the official journal of the American Library Association. The book has been translated into Korean and Persian (Tehran: Kavir, 2006).

He is an active member of the Reform movement in Iran and has written two books in Persian: Reviving the Concept of Civilizations(Tehran: Hermes, 2001) and An Apocalypse Soon(Tehran: Kavir, 2006). His translations include Mahmoud Saeed'sSaddam City(London, Saqi, 2004), rendered from Arabic, and Abdolkarim Soroush's Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam(Oxford University Press, 2002), rendered from Persian. He co-edited this volume and wrote an extensive introduction for it.

Prof. Sadri has written more than one hundred articles for a variety of scholarly journals in the areas of sociology of religion, social interaction and political sociology. He has written dozens editorials for many publications, including a regular column that appeared in The Daily Star of Lebanon (2003-05). In his native Iran, he has written for prominent reformist newspapers such as Shargh, Aftab and Etemad-e Melli. In the United States he has and appeared on many public forums and has had a large number of media appearances including on National Public Radio's programs World View and All Things Considered.

Ahmad Sadri's webpage

Hamid Rahmanian is a filmmaker and graphic artist. He holds his BFA from the University of Tehran in Graphic Design and earned his MFA in Computer Animation in 1997 from Pratt Institute in New York. He received "The First Place College Award" (a student Emmy) from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and was nominated for a Student Academy Award for his animation, THE SEVENTH DAY, among other awards in 1997. Among Mr. Rahmanian's other films are several documentaries which have been well received by the media and worldwide audiences.

In September 2003, Mr. Rahmanian co-founded and was the president (until 2007) of ARTEEAST, an organization committed to promoting the arts and cultures of the Middle East in the U.S. and abroad.

His first feature length narrative film DAY BREAK received several prestigious awards at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, and his feature-length documentary THE GLASS HOUSE (2008) premiered at IDFA and Sundance Film Festival, and won the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Human Rights Award, as well as Best Documentary from Spain's Urban TV.

As graphic artist, Mr. Rahmanian has recently illustrated a lavish new edition of a classic of Persian literature, the Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, which will be published in Spring 2013.

Hamid Rahmanian's website

Sheila R. Canby is the Patti Cadby Birch Gallery curator in charge of the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which features art from Spain, North Africa, and the Western Mediterranean in its galleries.

Until fall 2009, Canby was the Curator of Islamic Collections at The British Museum, where she organized dozens of exhibitions and installations, as Curator of Islamic Art and Antiquities since 1991 first in the Department of Asia, and from 2006 in the Department of the Middle East.

She serves on the Cultural Committee of Asia House, London, and on the Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies, and is a member of the Islamic Art Circle, British Institute of Persian Studies, and Society for Iranian Studies (in the United States), and is also a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Canby's publications include: Persian Painting (1993), Islamic Art in Detail (2005), Persian Love Poetry (with Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis; 2005), and Shah Abbas: the Remaking of Iran (2009). She has also lectured widely, and has published extensively, as the author of articles and reviews, and as a contributor to catalogues and books.

She is currently engaged in research on Persian art of the Safavid and earlier periods, and hopes to curate an exhibition on Seljuk art in 2015.