museums

‘Epic Iran’ puts 5,000 years of artifacts on show at London’s V&A

Reuters
‘Epic Iran’ puts 5,000 years of artifacts on show at London’s V&A

EPIC IRAN. A V&A employee looks at color images projected onto casts on loan from the British Museum, based on originals from the Palace of Darius, on display at Epic Iran, an exhibition soon to open at the V&A in London.

Photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

'Epic Iran' features more than 300 items from ancient, Islamic, and contemporary Iran

From ancient sculptures to contemporary photographs, objects spanning 5,000 years of Iranian art, culture and design go on display at London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) museum this week in the first such major exhibition in Britain in 90 years.

Epic Iran which opens to the public on Saturday, May 29, features more than 300 items from ancient, Islamic, and contemporary Iran, including manuscripts, ceramics, carpets, textiles as well as photos, the museum said.

The exhibition is made up of 10 sections, including “The Persian Empire,” spanning the Achaemenid period, “Change of Faith,” which focuses on the role of Islam in Iranian culture and “Literary Excellence,” looking at Persian poetry.

V&A employees look at a woman’s jacket, blouse and skirt from 1840-50 on display at ‘Epic Iran.’
Photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

“It’s only quite recently that people are recognising that Iran has got this wonderful, rich artistic tradition, wonderful cultural heritage stretching back many, many, many years,” co-curator John Curtis told Reuters.

Artefacts on show, either collected over time by the museum or on loan, include ancient relics such as the Cyrus Cylinder and Lion Rhyton as well as more contemporary items like Shirin Aliabadi’s photograph of a woman blowing bubblegum.

“Obviously it’s been a very difficult time to put together an exhibition … it hasn’t been possible to bring objects from Iran,” Curtis said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and sanctions reimposed on Iran after former U.S. President Donald Trump exited a 2015 nuclear deal in 2018.

A V&A employee looks at ‘All the White Horses,’ a hand drawn video animation by Avish Khebrehzadeh, on display in ‘Epic Iran.’
Photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

“We have had to source objects from other places and I think we’ve been very successful in doing that … what you see here gives everybody a rounded picture of the great civilizations of Iran.” – Rappler.com