Historical Books on Show at Tehran’s Malek Museum
Art And Culture

Historical Books on Show at Tehran’s Malek Museum

Two exhibitions on historical Persian books opened at the Malek National Museum and Library in Tehran on Tuesday.
One show features a lithographic version of ‘Shahnameh’ (literally the book of kings), the long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between 977 and 1010 AD.
The book was designed by artist Mirza Ali Qoli Khoi of the Qajar era (1785-1925), sometime during 1846-1855, with stone printing or better known as lithography method of printing, originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water.
Printing from stone (lithographic limestone) or a metal plate with a smooth surface was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder, as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works, Honaronline reported.
“The precious book shows how art can be adapted with modern tools, creating a modern form of ancient Iranian-style illuminated manuscript,” said Seyed Mojtaba Husseini, museum director.
Another book on show is the ancient ‘Book of Roads and Kingdoms’ written around 870 AD by Persian medieval geographer and traveler of the 10th century, Abu Is’haq Istakhri.
The book maps and describes the major trade routes of the time within the Muslim world, and the distant trading regions such as Japan, Korea, and China. The work gives considerable attention to pre-Islamic Iranian history, and uses native Iranian cosmological division system of the Universe. These all show the existence of Persian sources at the core of the work.
“The book is evidence that the country’s ancient scholars believed the earth was spherical, a fact also underscored by Abu Rayhan Biruni (973-1048 AD), Iranian scholar and polymath. On this background knowledge, the book author has depicted the geographical map of the Earth and the seven continents,” said Mojtaba Husseini.

 Book on Coins Unveiled
Additionally, a historical book titled ‘Coins of Iran’ by veteran researcher, scholar and author, Bahram Alaeddini, was also unveiled.
The book is a collection of common coins in different reigns of Iran’s history, said Alaeddini. “This is the result of 49 years of research and long travels to different regions in the world to find the rarest coins that were used in ancient Iran.”
He also noted that the book covers almost all the historical dynasties that ruled the country, from the first Persian Empire of the Achaemenid, to the most recent.
Ahmad Masjed-Jamei, a member of Tehran City Council and Abdolmajid Sharifzadeh, head of Carpet Museum of Iran, were present on the opening day of the show.
The exhibition will receive visitors for a month.
The Malek Museum is one of the biggest libraries of precious manuscripts in Iran. It currently contains around 19,000 manuscripts, 70,000 books as well as other historical items such as 3,000 coins, stamps, carpets and paintings.
Some of the most precious possessions at the museum are 13 paintings by the famous Iranian painter Mohammad Ghaffari better known as Kamal-ol-Molk (1848-1940) of Kashan and a manuscript collection with the finest Persian calligraphy.


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