quicklaunch about project 300

Project 300 is an artistic collaboration aimed at showing the forgotten face of ancient Persia and modern day Iran. Click here to find out more.

Apr 05

The Shahnama Project

3 comments posted by legofish at 12:31 PM

I have been recently looking for Shahnama manuscripts and illustrations for a personal project. The Shahnama (Book of Kings) is an enormous poetic opus written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi around 1000 AD and is the national epic of the Persian-speaking world. It tells the the mythical and historical past of Iran from the creation of the world up until the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century.

It is filled with a colorful cast of kings, heroes, and villains; a great source of inspiration for comic books. Over the centuries, artists have made great illustrations from these stories.

The Shahnama project (now a few years old, and I'm not sure if it's still active), tries to bring together all the wonderful illustrations (many of them centuries old) of the Shahnama in an easy to access format.

It really is a treasure box for anyone interested in the visualizing the Shahnama stories. Check it out.

May 31

Street art in Iran?

posted by legofish at 11:09 AM


While government-sponsored public murals and wall-painitngs are deeply rooted in pop-culture in Iran, independent graffiti - the way it exists in the west - has never been a part of our urban culture, at least not as widely as it is in other countries. The closest thing resembling a graffit I remember seeing in my childhood growing up in Iran was a stenciled "Pink Floyd" sprayed on our concrete garbage bin/box outside our home - and I didn't know what it meant!

So I when I discovered the blog "Iran Graffiti" the other day, I was quite surprised. They (who seem to have been around for more than a year), capture snapshots of graffitis across Iran and post them on the blog. While many of the posted graffiti art seems somewhat juvenile, it's clear that graffiti art is becoming more popular, and you can certainly find some decent stuff in there as well. Interestingly, one of these graffiti artists (self proclaimed "vandal or anarchist") has his/her own blog and gallery as well.

Through IranGraffiti, I also discovered Kolah Studios, which is an underground arts e-zine, and Brainstorm, which is sort of a quarterly underground arts magazine published in pdf form. All these are apparently produced and managed by the same team.

Apr 25

Exhibition: The Forgotten Empire at the British museum

9 comments posted by legofish at 01:46 PM

vessel.jpgLast year, there was a fascinating exhibit going on at the British Museum called the Forgotten Empire which featured rare artifacts from ancient Persia. While the exhibit is no longer on, the online version of it is still available at the British Museum website. While it is a tad tedious to navigate, if you can find your way through you can find a lot of interesting photos of incredible artifacts and objects, as well as some fascinating information about that era. It's definitely worth taking a look at.

Apr 21

More Historical Illustrations

10 comments posted by legofish at 10:40 PM

The books I had ordered arrived last week. I still haven't finished reading them, but they have some nice illustrations which I thought I'd share with you. The first bunch is from the Persian Army, illustrated by Simon Chew.

The next batch is from Rome's Enemies (3): Parthians and Sassanid Persians, illustrated by Angus Mcbride. I like these illustrations way better. Perhaps it's because of Mcbride's background in fantasy illos, or maybe it's just because the Sassanids had cooler gear.

There is still one more book which I really want to get, and that is Sassanian Elite Cavalry Ad 224-642. I've seen some of its illustrations and they look really good.

Apr 02

Historical Illustrations

12 comments posted by legofish at 11:18 AM

A kind reader (Farhad) has sent us some images from the book the Greek and Persian Wars 500-323 BC containing illustrations of Ancient Greek and Persian soldiers. The accuracy of these have been contested in some reviews, but they're still nice to look at.

I was looking at some similar historical illustraion books last week and I found a few: Rome's Enemies (3): Parthians and Sassanid Persians (Illustrations by Peter Wilcox), Sassanian Elite Cavalry Ad 224-642 (illustrations by Angus Mcbride), and The Persian Army 560-330 Bc (illustrations by Simon Chew). I have ordered these and will let you know how good they are when I receive them.

Mar 28

Iran chamber: an excellent resource for Persian arts, history, and culture

19 comments posted by legofish at 04:45 PM

Parthian ArmyStarting Project 300 was an educational experience for me as well. Not only did I get to meet a lot of new artists that I never knew about before, but also I found some really good websites about the history of Persia in the process. One of them is Iran Chamber, which has an amazing amount of content on all aspects of Persian arts, culture, and history. It even has a nice section serving as a tourist guide to Iran. There's plenty of well organized information there for whoever wishes to know more about Iranian/Persian arts and history. It's a shame that their contact form doesn't seem to be working, as I would have loved to use some of their articles - with permission - for the articles section of the Project 300 site, but there seems to be no way of contacting them.