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Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Anurshirvan and a lady in a pavilion

Anurshirvan and a lady in a pavilion

From a manuscript of Navaʾi, Hayrat al-Abrar (Amazement of the pious), dated AH 890 (1485 AD)

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Elliott 287, vol 1, fol 28r

This image of the Sasanian king Anurshirvan (Khusrau I, r 531–579 AD) seated in a pavilion with an unnamed lady is an elegant example of the idealised loving couple, a major theme of Persian literature. The figure of an archetypal wise king has been used to symbolically represent the universal love evoked by the poetic themes of ‘lover’ and ‘beloved’ and the eternal interplay of beauty and love.

The use of gold-sprinkled coloured paper attests to the superior quality of this manuscript and to the high status of its intended owner.

This image appears on the page: Persian poetry

Love & devotion in the UK

The Bodleian Libraries is showing its own presentation of the Love and devotion exhibition at the Exhibition Room, Bodleian Library, in Oxford, England, between 29 November 2012 and 28 April 2013.

Learn more about how you can visit this exhibition on the Bodleian Libraries website.


Love and devotion: Persian Cultural Crossroads

This two-day conference held in April 2012 featured distinguished international guests and Australian specialists exploring cultural convergences in literature, the arts and architecture, history and philosophy within Persia's cultural sphere and Europe, from the 11th century to the present day.

For information on keynote speakers & topics discussed, visit our conference page

Visit the exhibition

The Love and devotion exhibition took place from 9 March to 1 July 2012. In-depth information about the exhibits and themes can be found on this website.

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