Iranzamin (Land of the Persians) is the first survey exhibition of Persian arts and crafts acquired by the Powerhouse Museum since its founding in 1880. It explores the stories behind rarely seen artefacts from the middle of the 19th century to now, shedding light on the diverse social and cultural history of Persia – today’s Iran – and its people.
The exhibition examines how objects inspired by traditional arts and crafts were used in Persian society, focusing on seven themes: Joy and Happiness; Purification and Cleansing; Spirituality and Devotion; Poetry and Calligraphy; Rituals and Performance; Patronage and Craftsmanship; Nature and Design. Iranzamin encompasses a diversity of materials and techniques, including hand-woven crafts, carpets and rugs; arms and armour; glass, ceramics and tiles; textiles, embroidery and foundry.
Iranzamin examines how the influence of Persia, situated between two major trade routes – the Silk Road and the Indian Ocean – spread out into the world. Special attention is paid to the influence of Persian culture on non-Iranian craftsmen and artists such as Australian painter and textile designer Florence Broadhurst. This includes original Broadhurst wallpaper prints titled Persian Phoenix (Simorgh), Persian Birds, and Persian Pomegranates and Flowers.
The opening of Iranzamin coincides with the Persian new year Nowrouz. Programs will include the celebrations of Nowrouz, Haftsin, a table traditionally set for the Persian new year on 20 March, and Sizdehbehdar, the Persian national day for the celebration and admiration of Mother Nature, which will be held in the Powerhouse Museum on 3 April 2021.