Shahnama: 1000 Years of the Persian Book of Kings

October 23, 2010 – April 17, 2011

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

This exhibition celebrates the millennium of the poet Firdawsi's Shahnama (Book of Kings), considered one of the greatest literary works ever written. Composed of more than 100,000 lines, the epic retells the story of Iran from the beginning of time to the conquest of Islam in the seventh century. The Shahnama's sweeping narrative and colorful mix of myth and history have inspired the remarkable manuscript paintings on view. Created from the 14th to 16th centuries, 33 paintings and objects -- including folios of two of the most celebrated copies of the Shahnama in existence -- convey the visual power of Firdawsi's words.