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Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

The Hoopoe tells the birds about the Simurgh

The Hoopoe tells the birds about the Simurgh

From a manuscript of ʿAttar, Mantiq al-Tayr (Conference of the birds), dated AH 898 (1493–94 AD)

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Elliott 246, fol 25v

This beautifully painted illustration is placed early in the narrative in which the Hudhud, or Hoopoe, tells the assembled birds about the Simurgh and tries to persuade them to journey with him to find it.

The artist has placed the magnificently plumed Simurgh in the picture, so that the viewer can see what the Hoopoe is describing, even though at this stage the birds have never seen the mythical creature.

In a clever play on words, 30 birds (si murgh in Persian) achieve their goal after a lengthy journey only to realise that they were the Simurgh all along; divinity lay within each of them.

This image appears on the page: Conference of the birds ,   Stories & poems

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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