Monday 16 January 2017

Dragons and demons to delight in exhibition

Published 17/11/2010 | 05:00

Paper conservator Gaia Petrella (left) and Dr Elaine Wright, curator of the 'Heroes and Kings of the Shahnama' exhibition
Paper conservator Gaia Petrella (left) and Dr Elaine Wright, curator of the 'Heroes and Kings of the Shahnama' exhibition

Colourful paintings of dragons and demons might be more likely to conjure up images of Harry Potter.

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But more than 100 paintings from the Chester Beatty collection have gone on display at the Dublin Castle library and depict scenes from the longest poem ever written by a single author.

The 145 works, which have never been seen by the public before, are considered some of the most exquisite in the world and are designed to attract children and adults alike.

The Iranian 'Book of Kings' or 'Shahnama' -- which is celebrating its millennium birthday -- runs to 60,000 verses. It was completed by the Iranian poet Firdawsi in the year 1010 and tells the stories of the heroes and kings of Iran.

The poem took 35 years to complete and includes mystical characters such as Father Time and stories about flawed shahs or rulers.

Many of the paintings on display date to AD 1300.

Irish Independent

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