A trusty archimage will bring Pistachios, millet, and pomegranate juice

Last week’s posting on Yalda reminded me of a recent Saudi Aramco article explaining how all the commercial pistachio trees in California derive from just one ‘mother tree’, brought from Kerman. By 2010 – following the American Embassy ‘hostage crisis’ of 1979, and the subsequent embargo on Iranian pistachios – production in California apparently outstripped …

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Blowing someone else’s huge metal trumpet

Every day at dawn and dusk (and whenever a sick pilgrim gets healed), kettle-drums are beaten and long metal trumpets are blown in Mashhad. The 1910 photo here shows the naqqāra-ḵāna: the name used for the ensemble of musicians as well as the place where the performance takes place. Click here (and then on ‘live …

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Looking at the world through a wine cup

This week’s Khalili Memorial lecture was entitled ‘The Cosmic Cup in Medieval and Later Persian Art’.  Since there’s not enough space in one posting to go through everything that Dr Marianna Shreve Simpson talked about, this week’s blog will concentrate especially on the Shahnameh story of Bizhan and Manizheh (here in verse, here in prose), …

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Robert Shirley and the dragon-slayer

Robert Shirley, portrait before 1628. Wiki image Last week I included van Dyck’s painting of Robert Shirley dressed à la Persane. This week, when I was reading the (relatively new, go read it!) Carpets and Textiles in the Iranian World 1400-1700, I was reminded of another image of him. This is the one that was …

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