In Western eyes

Paintings: Western representations of the Middle East

by ramintork
The Lure of the East exhibition at Tate Britain is currently showing paintings made by British artists of the ‘Orient’ (4th June – 31st August 2008). In this context ‘Orient’ meant those parts of the eastern Mediterranean world, which could be accessed relatively easy, particularly after the development of steamboat and rail travel in the 1830s: Egypt, Palestine and Turkey but predominantly Muslim world that was under the Turkish Ottoman Empire coming up to our own Iranian doorstep. According to the exhibition outline in 1970s the Palestinian-American academic Edward Said published his treatise on Orientalism, initiating a global debate over Western representations of the Middle East. For many, such representations now appeared to be a sequence of fictions serving the West’s desire for superiority and control over the East. This debate resonates today as it did 30 years ago. The exhibition was divided under six different themes: >>> FULL TEXT

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by Abol Danesh (not verified) on

The Hidden Ladder

I Installed
Two bamboo pillars
Connecting them together
With ropes between them like ladder to climb
And when you look at it all
It looks like a Persian Harp
I transplanted several morning glory
Around the pillars from "The Other Garden"
Now I can see my Persian Harp
Is covered from head to toe
In awesome green and purple colors
Thus Hiding the ladder
So all musicians can adopt this heavenly instrument of music
In their national orchestra
In great loud and louder ascension with pride

--Abol H. Danesh


It must had been an intersting meeting of cultures

by ramintork on

Richard Shirley's travel to Persia was a key event for both cultures.

It was when British Colonialism had sparked off and Safavid era had re established the Persian identity and after encounters with the Ottomans had started looking outwards at the wide world beyond their immediate neighbors.

I wonder if it was whilst in the process of reforming the Persian army that he had realized that the real hidden power is in the hands of the clergy and he needs to buy them in order to serve the British interest.


Darius Kadivar

FYI/BOOK:Shakespeare, Persia, & the East by Cyrus Ghani

by Darius Kadivar on

I highly recommend the following book by film critic and historian Cyrus Ghani published quite recently by Mage Publishers:

Shakespeare, Persia, & the East

Book Description:

No writer's work has been studied more closely or often than the plays of William Shakespeare, that master of language and peerless explorer of the human heart. Books about him number in the thousands, yet Shakespeare, Persia, and the East brings a truly fresh perspective to his genius. In the three dozen plays he composed between 1590 and 1612, Shakespeare ranged far and wide in his imagination, setting some of his tales in places as varied as Denmark, Venice and Athens while drawing on a rich array of imagery and lore from lands further east. This remarkable book by a lifelong student of Shakespeare Cyrus Ghani reveals how rich a source of inspiration those exotic Eastern realms were for the playwright. Elizabethan England was especially fascinated by Persia, whose deep-rooted culture was then flourishing under the Safavid dynasty. An Englishman first visited there in 1562, two years before Shakespeare s birth. More contacts between England and Persia followed, prompted by hopes of a lucrative trading relationship and a possible military alliance against the Ottoman Turks. A pair of English adventurers, Anthony and Robert Sherley, spent years attempting to establish these ties, not always scrupulously, and their story was well known to England s greatest dramatist. To illuminate the creative uses Shakespeare made of the East, this book first looks at the life of the playwright himself, then at the dynasties that did so much to shape England and Persia in that tumultuous age. Other sections in the book profile key figures in the efforts to forge a connection between the two lands, with particular focus on the colorful Sherleys and their fatally ambitious sponsor, the Earl of Essex a great admirer of Shakespeare. The final section of the book briefly describes the plays and cites their many allusions to the East testimony that this literary giant was very much a man of his time.