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Love and Devotion – From Persia and Beyond

March 8, 2012

 State Library of Victoria 9 March-1 July 2012

Alison Waters - Love and Devotion

The Grand opening of ‘Love and Devotion from Persia and Beyond’ at the State Library of Victoria began with the acrid fumes of Persian fire jugglers wafting in through the grand entrance of the State Library.

Claire Hamer, Alison and Tito

Once inside official proceedings included singers and musicians playing traditional Persian regional instruments the tar and tonbak, a traditional trumpet fanfare for the Hon Alex Chernov, Governor of Victoria, and exquisite themed food from ‘Food and Desire’.

This prestigious exhibition celebrated the beauty of Persian, Mughal Indian and Ottoman Turkish Manuscripts and their universal stories of human and divine love. From one of the richest periods in the history of the creation of the book the exhibition includes 60 works from the famous 400 year old Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Polo - Persian Manuscript

I was delighted to find that the exhibition included the work of the famous 13th century Persian Sufi poet, Rumi.

“My existence is from you and your appearance is through me. Yet if I had not appeared, you would not have been.”

Rumi’s poems capture so well the plight of the human condition.

Poetry in graceful curved Persian calligraphy was accompanied by hand painted illustrations painted in exquisite minute detail from ancient materials including gold leaf and Lapis Lazuli. Such is the store set on such works last year in London a single page from a Persian Manuscript sold for $12 million.

Persian Manuscripts

“It makes absolutely no
difference what people
think of you”

From Illustrated Rumi, p. 81
Photographs by John Hoerner -
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