Rare L.A. exhibit tells complicated story of Iranian Jewsby naomi pfefferman, l.a. jewish journal
|Follow j. on||and|
Talk of Iran these days tends to be about threats of the annihilation of Israel, the potential of nuclear weaponry and bellicose leaders. But before all that, over its almost 3,000-year history, Iran has had one of the deepest and richest artistic heritages of any place in the world, and its Jewish cultural component, in particular, is both intrinsic to the place and not so well known to the outside world — even much of the Jewish world.
• A pair of 19th-century painted-wood doors decorated with an image of a couple in an intimate tête-à-tête as he strums a sitar behind a raised curtain, with a love poem in Judeo-Persian inscribed in a cartouche below.
• An early 20th-century Persian wall carpet made in Kashan and lavishly decorated with intricate biblical scenes and Hebrew inscriptions, in the style of Persian miniature painting.
• An undersize set of leather tefillin, from the town of Mashhad in the mid-19th century, indicating one way this community of Jews forced to convert to Islam secretly practiced its Judaism — by creating phylacteries small enough to hide under their headdresses.
These objects, all included in “Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews” at UCLA’S Fowler Museum, are among the more than 100 sumptuous artworks and other objects — including rare archaeological artifacts, illuminated manuscripts, ritual objects and amulets — on display through March 10. Together, they tell the 2,700-year history of the Jews of Iran, one of that country’s oldest minorities.
“Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews” Through March 10, Los Angeles. Free. http://www.fowler.ucla.edu
Be the first to comment!