2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

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Description

Product Description

Vividly translated and lushly illustrated, this edition of the Persian epic Shahnameh is fully illuminated for new audiences.

Ferdowsi’s classic poem Shahnameh is part myth, part history–beginning with the legend of the birth of the Persian nation and its tumultuous history, it contains magical birds and superhuman heroes and centuries-long battles. Written over 1,000 years ago, it was meant to protect Persian collective memory amidst a turbulent sea of cultural storms. Originally written in couplets, the translation and adaptation by Ahmad Sadri retells the mythological tales in prose format. The spectacular illustrations in this edition were created from elements culled from thousands of manuscripts, lithographs, and miniatures dating from the thirteenth through the nineteenth centuries, and each panel becomes a new work of art, an exquisite collage of traditional forms. 500 + full-color illustrations

Review

A gorgeous new translation of the Persian epic. -- NPR, All Thing Considered
One of the most beautiful books I''ve ever been given. -- Neil Gaiman 
An Iranian epic for the masses   -- CNN international
A Persian Masterpiece, Still Relevant Today. -- The Wall Street Journal
Simply breathtaking. -- Huffington Post
Brings new, vivid life to the epic tales of the ancient Persian kings. -- The Atlantic


One of the most beautiful books I''ve ever been given. Neil Gaiman 

From the Author

The ancient legends of the Persian Book of Kings (Shahnameh)1 were versified by Abolqasem Ferdowsi (940-1020 CE), who was born to a -family of small landowners near the city of Tus, in northeastern Iran. He dedicated thirty-three years of his life to Shahnameh and finished its second redaction one thousand and three years ago, in March 1010. 
Shahnameh is of the essence of Iranian nationhood. Unlike the Egyptian, Syrian, and other North African populations of the Roman Empire that were thoroughly Arabized after their Islamic conquest in the seventh century, Persians were able to hold on to their language and calendar even after they converted to Islam. It has been argued that this was made possible because the Iranians'' national identity was not fully invested in their pre-Islamic faith. Rather, it resided in a secular body of myth and legend that they preserved and which later would form the basis of Ferdowsi''s great work. To this day men, women, and children in Persianate societies from Asia Minor to China are able to recite lines of Shahnameh by heart. The book continues to be read in family gatherings and performed by professional reciters in the teahouses of Tajikistan, Iran, and Afghanistan.
It was awareness of this living tradition of Shahnameh recitations that gave me and my colleagues Melissa Hibbard and Hamid Rahmanian the -audacity to go where angels fear to tread. As we embarked on the -journey to -create a new edition of Iran''s national epic with freshly narrated -stories printed against a fully illustrated backdrop, we consoled ourselves that we were -walking in the footsteps of generations of previous performers and illustrators. 
I never forgot the first reciter of Shahnameh I saw at the age of seven somewhere near the city of Karaj. He wore a leather vest studded with shiny spikes and wielded a short cane that was his only prop. That lone cane turned into a sword, a mace, and even the neck of a neighing horse. The performer paced rapidly back and forth producing a range of sound effects for galloping horses, clashing swords, and collapsing rocks. He sonorously intoned the poems of Shahnameh in the middle of his prose narration as he played all of the parts from the last scenes of the battle of Rostam and Sohrab. What is remarkable is that I still remember not only the performance but also the pictures I made in my head as it went on. The session ended with a cliffhanger as the hero Rostam climbed a pile of rocks, put his neck in a self-made noose, and kicked the rocks from beneath him to commit suicide. Later I learned that this final scene was not in any of the known copies of Shahnameh. But the knowledge did not diminish the worth of that performance because I also knew that the stories existed and evolved both before and after the completion of Ferdowsi''s magnum opus.

From the Inside Flap

Foreword by Sheila Canby, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings is the latest in a long tradition of illustrated texts of the Persian national epic. From the early fourteenth century, paintings of the most colorful and dramatic episodes in Ferdowsi''s poem accompanied the written text. At first, the manuscripts were small and their illustrations appeared in bands across part of the written page. Even then artists did not hesitate to break through the frame and extend pictorial elements into the margins. By the 1330s royal and noble patrons were commissioning large-scale Shahnameh manuscripts with illustrations that were more complex in both their composition and the interaction of the figures than the earlier versions. In the fifeenth century the production of illustrated Shahnamehs increased, ranging from the most outstanding princely manuscript made for the grandson of Timur (Tamerlane) in Herat in 1430 to the numerous Turkmen-style manuscripts from Shiraz created to satisfy the growing market for such books. Illustrated Shahnamehs were not produced for Iranians alone, but were exported to the Ottoman Empire and India, where they inspired copies with paintings in the prevailing style of the region. The tradition of opulent royal Shahnamehs persisted in the sixteenth century, notably under Shah Tahmasp whose manuscript contained 258 remarkable illustrations. Although at times interest in illustrated Shahnamehs waned, the epic remained central to the poetic education of Persian-speakers. Even in the nineteenth century, when court artists were busy painting in oil on canvas or in lacquer on boxes and book covers, the new art of lithography was applied to illustrating the Shahnameh. Hamid Rahmanian''s new volume incorporates images that span the history of Shahnameh illustration, excerpting and weaving together figures familiar from many of the greatest manuscripts. Recognizing how broadly dispersed are the people in whose culture the Shahnameh plays a significant role, Rahmanian has employed the modern technology of the filmmaker and graphic artist to produce images that will appeal to a modern audience. Anyone who has read the Shahnameh realizes that it is far from an iteration of battles; its stories involve love and luck, dreams and demons, prowess and political intrigue. In fact, the gamut of human emotion appears in the Shahnameh. As in the Shahnamehs of past centuries, this book''s many illustrations do more than translate the narrative episode into visual form. Rather, the illustrations and text enable a reader to contemplate the thoughts and actions of the protagonists while poring over the recombined details of a variety of earlier Shahnameh images. Many of the illustrations contain colors that recall those in Persian miniatures, but they have been intensified in keeping with a modern, cinematic sensibility. Likewise, the dynamic silhouetting of pictorial details mitigates the stylization of the earlier paintings that make up the compositions in this book. The varying scale of figures within individual illustrations breaks the conventions of earlier miniature painting, but for the modern viewer this corresponds to the distortions one finds, for example, in science fiction. In fact, the dreamscape of the real and imaginary worlds found in the illustrations of this Shahnameh, while totally dependent on the art of the past, most closely evokes the fantasy literature of today in visual form. Thanks to the dramatic dynamism of Ferdowsi''s epic, its contemporary interpretation in images is a vibrant feast for the imagination, making this a Shahnameh for the digital age.

About the Author

A little over a thousand years ago the Persian poet Ferdowsi of Tous collected and put into heroic verse the millennium-old mythological and epic traditions of Iran. It took him thirty years to write the sixty thousand verses that comprise the Shahnameh or "The Book of Kings." This monumental work begins with legends of the birth of the Persian nationhood and ends with the Arab conquest of Iran. Written in the aftermath of that national trauma, Shahnameh was meant to harbor the Persian collective memory, language, and culture in a turbulent sea of many historical storms.

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4.9 out of 54.9 out of 5
460 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

Paul Stevenson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautiful!
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2018
This artistically sumptuous volume is mesmerizing to view, as well as to read. The illustrations were painstakingly assembled by Hamid Rahmanian from actual artwork found in several centuries of manuscripts. Ahmad Sadri''s prose translation of Ferdowsi''s poetry is easy to... See more
This artistically sumptuous volume is mesmerizing to view, as well as to read. The illustrations were painstakingly assembled by Hamid Rahmanian from actual artwork found in several centuries of manuscripts. Ahmad Sadri''s prose translation of Ferdowsi''s poetry is easy to read. The legends of ancient Iran are fascinating. I lived in Iran as a youth, during the time of the shah. I have kept up with the country and I have a number of Iranian friends. Many given names that we see in the news today can be found in this ancient poetic compilation of the prehistory of Persia. I highly recommend this fabulous tome!
12 people found this helpful
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Daniel B.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Beautifully Designed and Illustrated "Shahnameh" - Worthy of Royalty!
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2014
This is not a complete translation of the "Shahnameh", in fact, it''s hardly a translation at all. If you want to read the epic poem in its entirety, secure Dick Davis''s prose translation published by Penguin Press. You won''t regret it. Dick Davis is one of the... See more
This is not a complete translation of the "Shahnameh", in fact, it''s hardly a translation at all. If you want to read the epic poem in its entirety, secure Dick Davis''s prose translation published by Penguin Press. You won''t regret it. Dick Davis is one of the finest scholars of Persian literation today, an inspired translator with a keen sense of poetry. His most recent publication, "Faces of Love", translates Hafez and two other poets of Shiraz and does full justice to these Persian-languages poets, unlike others who don''t know Persian but claim Hafez visits their dreams! This publication has an entirely different purpose and fulfills that purpose with brilliance and wonder. Countless artists of the Islamic world have illustrated scenes and characters from Ferdowsi''s epic. (Dick Davis''s translation contains lithographs from 19th century versions.) For this volume an artist named Hamid Rahmanian took many illustrations and recast them to illuminate the text "with over 500 pages of lavish illustrations", as the publisher puts it. And the result is one of the most magical and uniquely beautiful books in my home library. Every time I look at it, read from it, browse through it I am happy that I bought it. Literally, every page is alive with color and design that illustrates the events of the text. The consistently high quality of these illustrations is breathtaking - there is not a false moment in the whole 572-page book! How many publications can you give such unreserved praise! Now for the text: as I wrote in my opening statement this is not the text of
Ferdowsi''s epic poem. A writer named Ahmad Sadri wrote a prose summary of the poem which makes up the text. In Dick Davis''s translation, the illustrations serve his complete translation; in this version, Sadri''s prose serves the illustrations. So the two versions are exact opposites. What this means is that this magnificent collection of creative illustrations can accompany you as you read Davis''s translation. Or you can skip the epic in its complex and convoluted narrative (886 pages in the Penguin edition!) and enjoy this version as an object of art. Either way you will be enriched by your encounter with one of the great war epics of world literature, a work which occupies the same exalted status in Islamic culture that the "Iliad" and the "Aeneid" occupy in Western culture. (And aren''t we Americans past due in appreciating Iranian culture in particular, considering our 21st century karma has inextricably entwined the fates of our two societies?) One further note: in 2006, the artist Zak Smith published a collection of pictures which illustrates what happens on each page of Thomas Pynchon''s 1973 novel, "Gravity''s Rainbow", an enormously complicated book well served by Smith''s scintillating pictures. To one who has indeed the whole of Ferdowsi''s epic poem, I can sincerely commend this version as an alternative to reading the medieval text. It is as if you were to see a film version of a novel that does justice to the book. For example, Terence Malick''s film, "The Thin Red Line", from 1999 does justice to James Jones''s 1962 novel. The important issue as I see it is this: in today''s world cultural literacy involves a knowledge of the literature of the world of Islam. This version of one of the seminal works of Persian literature can provide that knowledge, and what''s more, the experience of it through art.
98 people found this helpful
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Josef K.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Astoundingly Good! Besyar Khub!
Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2016
This English version of Iran''s answer to the Iliad, Ferdowsi''s Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) stands head and shoulders above other translations of this great work. Not only is the translation more pithy and digestible than other attempts that I''ve read, the artwork alone... See more
This English version of Iran''s answer to the Iliad, Ferdowsi''s Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) stands head and shoulders above other translations of this great work. Not only is the translation more pithy and digestible than other attempts that I''ve read, the artwork alone is enough to justify buying it! It mixes clips of Ferdowsi''s original Persian along with art inspired by the celebrated Persian miniature paintings, but with a modern, graphic novel sensibility (and, if my eyes don''t deceive me, a rendition of Ahura Mazda in the face of the sun that is derived from the Nadir Divan-Beghi madraseh in Bukhara). In short, anyone who is interested in Iranian history, great storytelling, mythology, or gorgeous artwork will love to have this to their collection. Definitely something to treasure!
14 people found this helpful
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Alex O.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It makes an excellent gift!
Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2020
The more research i have done on the author and how he created this book, the more I appreciate it. It made a great gift when i was visiting my future in-laws for the first time, her father loved is so much, I ended up getting one for myself as well. it a huge book, it sits... See more
The more research i have done on the author and how he created this book, the more I appreciate it. It made a great gift when i was visiting my future in-laws for the first time, her father loved is so much, I ended up getting one for myself as well. it a huge book, it sits nicely on my shelf on display.
3 people found this helpful
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Dr Reza Madani
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A true gem to have or to give as a gift!
Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2021
I bought this book mainly for my three book savvy, history and methodology lover daughters aged 8 to 11 years old. They’ve been reading it solo or listening as I read it to them, they also take turns reading to each other and I can tell they’re definitely intrigued. It has... See more
I bought this book mainly for my three book savvy, history and methodology lover daughters aged 8 to 11 years old. They’ve been reading it solo or listening as I read it to them, they also take turns reading to each other and I can tell they’re definitely intrigued. It has many many pages of colorful pairings and pictures as well adding to the dramatic essence of each story. I can’t help but share how luxuriously this book has been designed, almost breathtakingly stunning, plus its smooth translation from Farsi into English that is absolutely delightful, simple and easy to follow. The book is quite heavy with a gorgeous hard cover and very high end quality which makes for a wonderful sentimental gift for your loved ones or a wonderful addition to your own library.
2 people found this helpful
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dominic esteban
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Luscious
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2019
Beautiful heirloom book that is now pride of place on my most prominent display case. Remarkable story & visuals and the Audible audiobook narration is spellbinding too. Clearly a labour of love; and a credit to all involved. Very well packaged: double... See more
Beautiful heirloom book that is now pride of place on my most prominent display case. Remarkable story & visuals and the Audible audiobook narration is spellbinding too.

Clearly a labour of love; and a credit to all involved.

Very well packaged: double packed, and inside a film protector and with buffers to protect the end plates & spine..
3 people found this helpful
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Mona Nasiri
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Why didn’t I have this book sooner
Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2021
What a beautiful work of art! I am Iranian/Persian and my fiancé is Danish. We have been reading this book together and enjoying it tremendously. What a shame in Iran’s school books there is so little of this treasure of a culture and literature and then too much of... See more
What a beautiful work of art! I am Iranian/Persian and my fiancé is Danish. We have been reading this book together and enjoying it tremendously. What a shame in Iran’s school books there is so little of this treasure of a culture and literature and then too much of religious studies instead.
We both can’t wait to share and enjoy the book and beautiful stories with our future kids.
Grateful for all those who made it possible and available to us.
2 people found this helpful
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Joseph Tambornino
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Foundational
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2021
I used to think I was an educated man, but I have only just come across this important work at the heart of Iranian culture. I love this beautifully made edition. Heirloom quality. Its dedication: "in the name of the hidden maker of moon, sun, and stars, who gave... See more
I used to think I was an educated man, but I have only just come across this important work at the heart of Iranian culture. I love this beautifully made edition. Heirloom quality.

Its dedication: "in the name of the hidden maker of moon, sun, and stars, who gave us the wisdom to shun evil, acquire and cultivate knowledge, and sow that knowledge across the generations. "

I can sign up for that wholeheartedly.
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Top reviews from other countries

Seamus Tobin
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An amazing book, beautifully crafted!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 2, 2020
I first heard about this book watching a BBC programme "Art of Persia". This is a beautiful piece of literature illustrated to the highest of standards. This is a real family must!
9 people found this helpful
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Brian Cheesman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well worth the expense
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 3, 2020
Found the illustrations admirable that accompanied the test. Enjoyed the multi-coloured pages what made the text more readable - the English text was clear and lucid and well spaced out making the stories easier to follow. Appreciated the smart bookcase that accompanied the...See more
Found the illustrations admirable that accompanied the test. Enjoyed the multi-coloured pages what made the text more readable - the English text was clear and lucid and well spaced out making the stories easier to follow. Appreciated the smart bookcase that accompanied the volume and the book binding is sturdy and well made.
3 people found this helpful
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T29
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Stunning
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 26, 2019
Bought this as a gift, absolutely stunning. The colours are beautiful. There are so many pictures too. May buy one for myself too! Arrived in good packaging. The book is quite heavy.
2 people found this helpful
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penny-jane lopez
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A breathtakingly beautiful book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 6, 2017
The illustrations in the book are breathtakingly beautiful. I wasn''t expecting the book to be like this at all. I will look forward to sharing the book with my kids at school. I''m just waiting for a day when my bag is not too full as it''s really heavy. The book is lovely...See more
The illustrations in the book are breathtakingly beautiful. I wasn''t expecting the book to be like this at all. I will look forward to sharing the book with my kids at school. I''m just waiting for a day when my bag is not too full as it''s really heavy. The book is lovely and well worth the money.
5 people found this helpful
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Mr F Karimi
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Artistic Shahnameh
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2014
Where do I start with this... I will start as everyone else has, the art work by Rahmanian is simply stunning but the translation from Farsi to English is a little complicated and in places slightly difficult to read. There doesn''t seem to be any glaring omissions of text...See more
Where do I start with this... I will start as everyone else has, the art work by Rahmanian is simply stunning but the translation from Farsi to English is a little complicated and in places slightly difficult to read. There doesn''t seem to be any glaring omissions of text due to the translation as there are with other publications such as the Penguin Classic but then again I am in no way an expert. The book is fairly large and well constructed but somewhat heavy with illustrations on every page, the outer case cover is a lovely touch and keeps the book well protected and for this reason i have purchased a few copies to give out as presents. The book is a more of a keep sake memento and the price reflects that but the translation is not good enough to pick up and read again and again. After the first read this has sat on my book shelf looking fantastic but hasn''t been picked up since hence why only four stars. If you ask if I would recommend this book the answer is YES for the art work alone however I would also have to put a brief comment in as to the complexity of the translation
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2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

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2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale

2021 Shahnameh: online sale sale The Epic of the Persian Kings outlet online sale