Iran’s great epic is the Book of Kings (Shahnama) composed c. 1010 by the poet Firdausi. Our current exhibition, Gift of a Lifetime, features folios from two very different manuscripts of Firdausi’s famous text, one made in Tabriz around 1300, the other made probably in Qazvin at the end of the sixteenth century. This lecture will retell the dramatic stories depicted here, and also look closer at the history of Persian manuscript painting, from the time of the Mongol invasions to the reign of the Safavid shahs in Iran.
Dr Moya Carey joined the Chester Beatty in September 2018, as Curator of Islamic Collections. She was previously IHF Curator for the Iranian Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2009-2018). Her research interests include the visual culture of Iran, and the history of collecting.