The restored painting ‘Greeting Lineup for Fat’h-Ali Shah’ at Negarestan Museum Palace in Tehran
The restored painting ‘Greeting Lineup for Fat’h-Ali Shah’ at Negarestan Museum Palace in Tehran

Qajar Painting Restored, Unveiled

Fat’h-Ali Shah is famous among Iranians for three things: his exceptionally long beard, his wasp-like waist and his multitude of progeny

Qajar Painting Restored, Unveiled

An 1832 mural by Qajar painter Mirza Mohammad Ali which was commissioned by one of Qajar King Fat’h-Ali Shah’s (1772-1834) sons, Keykavous Mirza, has been restored.
The mural was unveiled on Saturday at Tehran University’s Negarestan Museum Palace.
Titled in Persian ‘Saf-e-Salam-e Fat’h Ali Shah’ (Greeting Lineup for Fat’h-Ali Shah), it was originally in Tehran’s Negarestan Palace, founded by Fat’h-Ali Shah as a summer retreat. The mural shows the Qajar ruler at one of his public levies, seated on a peacock throne and flanked by his progenies, princes, ministers and envoys.
The mural is said to be among the most valuable ‘lineup’ paintings that have survived from the Qajar era (1785-1925). For several years the wall painting had been stored in 50 separate pieces for restoration.
Two years ago the mural was entrusted to the Tehran University for its restoration process. Now the restored work is back on the wall at Negarestan Museum Palace, ISNA reported.
The unveiling ceremony of the mural was attended by head of Tehran University Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi, art deputy at Culture Ministry Ali Moradkhani, researcher on old Tehran Abdollah Anvar, and painter Aydin Aghdashlou who was among the restoration artists.

  In Bad condition
“The work was in such a bad condition that it seemed as if it had been hit by a rocket,” said Aghdashloo, 76.
“Natural decay, neglect and ignorance about its significance and value led to its deterioration.”
Aghdashloo has created many paintings in Qajar style, including ‘End of an Era’ (1980) and ‘Memories of Destruction’ (2008), both portraying Fat’h-Ali Shah who, according to American historian Joseph M. Upton, is famous among Iranians for three things: his exceptionally long beard, his wasp-like waist and his multitude of progeny.
“The work was luckily saved by cultural officials,” Aghdashloo said. “I took a good look at it. The vibrant colors are a lively account of history. In repairing a painting, the entire work should not undergo restoration; its old and new parts should remain distinct.
The mural vividly represents human desire to evoke awe and respect among future generations. Fat’h-Ali Shah’s reign was the beginning of political decay, including the many weaknesses and his humiliating position against the Russians to whom he was forced to pay reparations. But it was an age of numerous majestic and glorious artworks.”
At the unveiling ceremony, Nili Ahmadabadi, head of Tehran University called the university a successor of Dar ul-Funun, the first modern institution of higher learning in Iran, established in 1851.
In the affairs of art and museum works, including those of affiliated institutes to the university such as Negarestan Museum Palace, Moqaddam Museum, and Molavi Theater, “our focus and attention has been more than what is expected from a university because we believe that Tehran University is one of the influential institutions in Iran.”
Financial constraints make the maintenance and management of Negarestan Museum Palace a difficult task for the university, “but it makes us proud that we haven’t evaded our responsibilities or efforts,” he added.

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