Wise men from the east

Zoroastrian traditions in Persia and beyond

 24 October 2013 – 27 April 2014 at British Museum, London

Farvahar, Aida Foroutan, 2003. The winged figure is seen by the Iranian artist as a symbol of national identity. © Aida Foroutan 

by Wall Street International

This small exhibition will explain Zoroastrianism, an ancient but living religion named after the Prophet Zarathustra, through objects and coins from Persia (Iran) and beyond.

The display will feature a variety of ancient and modern objects and coins, and will highlight the importance of Zoroastrian traditions in other religions. It will touch on the concept and imagery of the Three Kings of the Christian tradition, who are described in the New Testament (Matthew 2.2) as Magi from the east – Zoroastrian priests in the Persian tradition.

Magnificent Islamic coins from Mughal India which follow the Iranian Zoroastrian calendar adopted by the emperor Akbar (1556–1605) will also be on display.

Modern objects will show the ongoing legacy of this ancient Iranian religion and its significance as a symbol of national identity for Zoroastrian and non-Zoroastrian Iranians in modern Persia and beyond.

Silver coin of Bahram I (AD 273–76), Sasanian king of Iran, showing the Zoroastrian fire altar. © The British Museum

Set of six Parsi tiles from Mumbai, 1980-89, showing in the centre the sacred fire, on the left the legendary King Lohrasp of the Iranian epic tradition, and on the right the Prophet Zarathustra. Donated by Adervad S. Deboo. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Modern gold pendant showing the Zoroastrian winged figure, fravashi/farvahar, which symbolises the immortal spirit of each human being that defends the material world against evil. Private Collection. © V.S. Curtis


Wall Street International Magazine: Wise men from the east

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