The Princeton Shahnama Project is an "archive of book paintings--commonly known as Persian Miniatures--that were created to illustrate scenes from the Persian national epic, the Shahnama (the Book of Kings). The Shahnama is a poem of some 50,000 couplets that was composed by Abu'l Qasim Firdausi over a period of several decades in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. The core of this archive is a fund of 277 illustrations from five illustrated manuscripts of the Shahnama that are housed in Princeton University's Firestone Library." The site also has the complete Shahnama in the Warner & Warner translation but here's another translation by Helen Zimmern [more inside]
Masterpieces of Persian Painting "The atrocity of raging wars, the fainting of Leili (the beloved) and Majnoun (the lover) and the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) ascension to the celestial sphere while floating in light—all reflect the reality and image of the pure heart of the artists who viewed the world, its Creator and creatures with love." [via]
Is a government-sponsored Web any kind of Web at all? Iranians will soon find out, including MeFite hoder, prominently featured in the linked piece (and, worrisomely, recipient of his very own death threat this week). More information on Iranian and Persian bloggers here.
Iranian vice-president is blogging. Mohammad Ali Abtahi is perhaps the only major politician who publishes his personal diary, and his secretly taken photos from official meetings (e.g. the ousted president of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze) on his weblog, which is unfortunately only in Persian. (via iranFilter)
So have you heard the one about the Golden Persian Princess Mummy? Discovered in October by Pakistani police during a murder investigation of an antiquities smuggler, this story has only gotten weirder. Said to be 2,600-years-old, the body of a young woman has been preserved using the Egyptian mummification process but bears cuneiform inscriptions in Old Persian: "I, daughter of Xerxes, the great king, I am Ruduamna". Since its discovery, the governments of Iran and Afghanistan have each claimed ownership of the mummy and all three countries are now engaged in a bitter war of claim and counter-claim. Now some experts are starting to say that the whole thing looks like it's just an elaborate hoax.