Art And Culture

Two Volumes on Persian Celebrations

The first volume of the lavishly illustrated book focuses on Norouz (Persian New Year) while the second explores Persian wedding customs and the elaborate settings for marriage ceremonies
The book is truly a visual feast with its glossy full-color photographs.The book is truly a visual feast with its glossy full-color photographs.

The debut of the book 'Sofreh: The Art of Persian Celebration' in Iran was held at Tehran's Shirin Art Gallery on October 6.

Written by the acclaimed Iranian sculptor, painter, scholar and author Parviz Tanavoli, collector and designer Maryam Khosroshahi and historian Willem Floor, the two-volume book in English, the first of its kind, examines Persian celebrations from ancient times to the present. It is published by Iranian publication Vijeh Nashr.

The book was previously published by ACC Publishing Group, based in the UK, in the US and Canada and the Friday event marked its first release in the country.

  Visual Feast

'Sofreh' is the Persian term for a cloth or covering that is spread on the ground, on which food is served. The book title refers to the colorful arrangements of flowers, condiments and objects of spiritual or cultural importance that is displayed during Persian ceremonies and as the title promises, the book is truly a visual feast with its glossy full-color photographs.

According to the UK publisher's statement, the book pays homage to ancient traditions, discussing the symbiosis of symbolism and culture. Despite their ancestral roots, the ceremonies are infused with life and creativity. Modern fabrics are welcomed alongside refined antique textiles, creative floral designs, unconventional pieces of furniture, and unexpected objects. References to Persian poetry, literature, art and folklore stimulate the imagination, and the text is illuminated with exquisitely detailed extracts from old manuscripts, antique woven textiles and embroideries.

  Norouz and Wedding Ceremonies

In the first volume of the lavishly illustrated book, the authors focus on Norouz (Persian New Year) - celebrated on the first day of spring - while the second volume explores Persian marriage and wedding customs and the elaborate settings for marriage ceremonies.

The concept of the project, the design and creation of the compositions, and the relevant texts in the book are done by Khosrowshahi, who has devoted much time and effort to the presentation of the culturally significant Persian events.

Additional material comes from Floor in the form of enlightening historical essays, and acclaimed Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli who has written the preface. "Sofreh creations have depth and movement; they are vibrant and dynamic," Tanavoli says in the preface and calls for a live exhibition of Khosrowshahi's works.

Khosrowshahi is an art enthusiast who has lived, studied and worked in Iran, the Netherlands, the UK, Canada, the US and Switzerland where she now works on research and design of her personal projects.

Tanavoli, 80, is an internationally recognized contemporary artist with a profound knowledge of the history and material culture of Iran. His work is represented in important public and private collections around the world.

Floor studied development economics and non-western sociology, as well as Persian, Arabic and Islamology. Since his retirement in 2002, he has dedicated his time to the study of the social and political history of Iran, and has published extensively throughout this time. 'Public Health in Qajar Iran',  'Agriculture in Qajar Iran' and 'The History of Theater in Iran' as well as 'The Persian Gulf: A Political and Economic History of 5 Port Cities' are some of the books he has published about Iran.

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