The Āthār-e ʿAjam by Forṣat al-Dowla is a Qajar-era travelogue on Persia and Fārs especially. It features drawings of archaeological sites, biographical, historical and geographical data. In this article, it is argued that the Āthār-e ʿAjam contains often overlooked but telling clues on conceptions of national history in Persian between the 19th and 20th centuries. A close reading of this travelogue confirms Judith Lerner’s thesis on the importance of the decipherment of cuneiforms inscriptions at Bisutun for the growing interest of Qajar artists and elites in Achaemenid past and imagery. Forṣat al-Dowla made available to the Persian speaking public a repertory of images reproducing the iconic places of the glorious past of the nation. His writings allow us a revealing glimpse in the ongoing popularisation of Achaemenid imagery in Qajar Persia. Also, Forṣat al-Dowla gives new exciting information on the cultural genealogy of this process, highlighting the role played by his network of acquaintances in making his endeavour possible and its echoes in Iranian national consciousness lasting.

Beyond Recovery Towards Continuity in the Qajar Perception of the Past: the Case of Āthār-e ʿAjam (Antiquities of the Persians) by Forṣat al-Dowla Shirāzi

Simone Cristoforetti
2020

Abstract

The Āthār-e ʿAjam by Forṣat al-Dowla is a Qajar-era travelogue on Persia and Fārs especially. It features drawings of archaeological sites, biographical, historical and geographical data. In this article, it is argued that the Āthār-e ʿAjam contains often overlooked but telling clues on conceptions of national history in Persian between the 19th and 20th centuries. A close reading of this travelogue confirms Judith Lerner’s thesis on the importance of the decipherment of cuneiforms inscriptions at Bisutun for the growing interest of Qajar artists and elites in Achaemenid past and imagery. Forṣat al-Dowla made available to the Persian speaking public a repertory of images reproducing the iconic places of the glorious past of the nation. His writings allow us a revealing glimpse in the ongoing popularisation of Achaemenid imagery in Qajar Persia. Also, Forṣat al-Dowla gives new exciting information on the cultural genealogy of this process, highlighting the role played by his network of acquaintances in making his endeavour possible and its echoes in Iranian national consciousness lasting.
Before Archaeology. The Meaning of the Past in the Islamic Pre-Modern Thought (and After)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3733467
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