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Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

An old man distracted by love throws himself down from a lady's balcony

An old man distracted by love throws himself down from a lady's balcony

From a manuscript of Jami, Subhat al-Abrar (Rosary of the Pious), copied by the scribe Jamal al-Din Husayn Shirazi, c 1570–80

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Ouseley Add 23 fol 72r

Many kinds of love are described in the Persian literary tradition. Some stories could be described as cautionary tales for those entering into realms of love for which they are not prepared. The artist who illustrated this copy of Jami’s late-15th-century work may well have been inspired by a story made popular by its inclusion in the Conference of the birds, written by ʿAttar three centuries earlier.

In that episode, an older man falls in love with a young Christian girl. He is so distracted by her that he suffers many humiliations and is made to look like a fool before he regains his senses. She eventually joins him in the Islamic faith.

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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