Introducing the Iranology Exhibition Complex

The purpose of the Iranology Foundation from the beginning, in addition to publishing part of its research activities, was to present some of its research findings on Iran through exhibitions held in the Foundation itself to interested visitors. Evidently, many of the cultural, natural, and historical features and manifestations of Iran are unique and, thus, it is not possible for all of them to be displayed in one place. However, it was decided that visitors could be helped in the course of a short journey through this Complex to experience this wonderful land in order to become familiar to some extent with Iran’s colorful nature and unadulterated culture, as well as Iranians’ beautiful customs and traditions.

  • Nature

    Iran’s natural heritage abounds in unique features. Its climate ranges from arid or semiarid to subtropical along the Caspian coasts and the northern forests, and it is a country of both mountains and deserts. These topographical and climatic features have greatly influenced the natural structure of each geographical region and the lifestyle and professions of its inhabitants.

    The climatic variety of Iran has also resulted in a wide diversity of faunal and floral life forms. One of the most important goals of the Iranology Exhibition Complex in the Iranology Foundation is to introduce this invaluable treasure to Iranian children, young adolescents, and youth as well as those who love this ancient country. In this way, they will learn to love, cherish, and protect their homeland with a greater awareness of all of its natural gifts and beauties. To this end, the Nature Section of the Iranology Exhibition Complex introduces both the old and current manifestations of Iran’s nature and its different floral species (agricultural plants, pasture land plants, medicinal plants, etc.), fruit, products, faunal species (both the flourishing and endangered ones), mountains, rivers, seas, lakes, deserts, wilderness regions, etc.

  • Culture

    The Culture Section of the Iranology Exhibition Complex introduces a new world by exhibiting Iran’s eventful history, unique architecture, several thousand years old language and writing systems, and her famous artists. The attempts directed at introducing this invaluable heritage to interested Iranians and foreign visitors became a motive for the authorities of the Complex to step forward and exhibit in this Section a collection of pictures and descriptions of Iranian architecture and buildings, various rural and urban residential areas of the country, and some samples of buildings and other structures used for the religious and traditional ceremonies and rituals of this amazing land. There are also a number of pictures and biographies of Iranian and non-Iranian Iranologists and distinguished figures on display. The introduction and exhibition of handicrafts from different regions of Iran, such as Termeh from Yazd and Eastern Azerbaijan, Pate of Kerman, needlework and coin-sewing from Sistan and Baluchestan, and some examples of Iranian carpets, Kilims, and Gabbehs, are among the distinctive features of this Section.

  • People of Iran

    It is a known fact that the traditions, customs and oral culture of this land, which have been passed down from generation to generation until they have come down to us, are being forgotten as a consequence of the penetration of industry and machines into today’s modern life. The memories of the warmth of the Korsi of a grandmother’s house in winter, the aroma of freshly-baked local bread, and the colorful and flamboyant costumes of the different regions and ethnic groups of Iran are a part of the collective identity of this land. However, the question is: "Will the next generations experience the joy of these moments?" In the People of Iran Section, the Iranology Foundation has tried to display the sub-cultures of various ethnic groups and residents of different regions of Iran before the gaze of interested viewers as vividly as possible through collecting and presenting tokens of what is linked with the people, traditions, and customs of this land. The portrayal of simple local feasts or great national celebrations such as Nowruz and other national and religious traditions and customs constitutes another part of the efforts of the Iranology Exhibition Complex in the Iranology Foundation.

    The People of Iran Section of this Complex also presents some images and descriptions of people’s faces, their presence in professions, traditional and religious ceremonies and rituals, educational fields, feasts, and local competitions through the medium of books, films, pictures, data pages and data banks, and other media. It also introduces some jobs and professions that have ceased to exist.

    In addition, there are some examples of the costumes of various regions and ethnic groups of Iran and some manifestations of common customs cultural to all Iranians, such as Sofreh-ye Haft Sin, Korsi, Sofreh-ye Shab-e Yalda , Sofreh-ye Aghd, , etc. on display to the public. Interestingly enough, visitors can also watch the various stages of baking bread as the main food of Iranians and become familiar with people’s different means of earning their livelihood in the country.

  • Coffee-House and Ashura Paintings

    The Exhibition of the Coffee-House and Ashura Paintings is home to a collection of about 100 old and contemporary paintings with national, religious, and Ashura-related subjects. These paintings have been created employing the Coffee-House style and iconography using oil paint, water color, graphite pencil, lithography, and rapidograph or technical pens. There are some invaluable works of an historical nature in this collection. For example, one of the oldest paintings of this collection belongs to the 12th Hijri century. In this Hall, there are also twelve paintings by Mansur Vafa’i, which have been created on the pattern of the 12 parts of a famous poem by Muhtasham Kashani.

  • Literature

    The purpose of establishing the Literature Exhibition was to familiarize people with the ancient legacy of Persian literature and Iranian literary figures. In line with this purpose, selected verse and prose works of distinguished Iranian poets and writers are artistically exhibited on the walls and central columns of the Hall. The biographies of these literary figures are also on display alongside a collection of paintings, statues, and handicrafts related to literature. At the same time, some programs in the field of Iranology for children and young adolescents are performed for members of this age group in order to familiarize them with certain concepts in the realm of Iranology.

  • Calligraphy and Documents

    The Calligraphy and Documents Exhibition is a further section of the Iranology Exhibition Complex displaying a collection of documents, calligraphic paintings and images, manuscripts, and samples of lithographic and typographic printed works. The present collection includes more than 110 handwritten documents, 85 pages of which have been repaired, dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. This collection includes 60 manuscript books, 360 lithographed books, and about 100 typographed books (printed using hot metal typesetting), which are already increasing in number. There are two other parts of this Hall which exhibit some items related to the main theme of this Exhibition; one includes 36 framed calligraphic works created by well-known contemporary artists, and the other contains a complete collection of the equipment required for hot metal typesetting or typography.

    The establishment of the Iranology Exhibition Complex was initiated at the beginning of 2007, and its Nature Section was opened at the end of the same year. The Iranian Culture Section was put into operation the next autumn and, shortly afterwards, the third one, the People of Iran Section, was opened. We should mention that the halls of Coffee-House and Ashura Paintings, Literature, and Calligraphy and Documents have been added to the Complex recently and are now open to the public. In addition to the exhibition halls, there is also a Research Section in the Complex which is devoted to the study of various subjects and themes related to Iranology and the items exhibited in the different halls. This Section is intended to be of service to researchers and visitors as a source of reference for providing detailed explanations regarding the items in each Exhibition of the Complex.