NLAI Hosts Two Programs: “Night of Italian and French Travelers in Iran”

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Night of Italian Travelers in Iran” and “Night of French Travelers in Iran” were amongst gatherings held to commemorate great cultural and artistic characters by Bukhara Magazine with the cooperation of Book Museum and Documented Heritage Department of NLAI.

In the “Night of Italian Travelers in Iran” ceremony held in October 2019, Giuseppe Perrone, Ambassador of Italy to Tehran, Muhammad Behfrouzi, Bahram Parvin Gonabadi, Iman Mansoub Basiri, Antonia Shoraka and Ali Dehbashi delivered their speeches.

On the sidelines of this ceremony, an exhibition constituted of books and documents of Italian travelers, which have been protected in the reservoirs of NLAI, was opened. Another program of this gathering was displaying the video-message of Professor Angelo Michele Piemontese, who had taught Persian language and linguistics, in Rome, Venice and Strasbourg for many years. Iran Bibliography in Italian Language is one of the best works of the great Italian Iranologist. Prof. Piemontese has discovered and published a valid copy of Attar Neishaburi’s Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr’ (Conference of the Birds). He also played a key and important role and in understanding and introducing Hakim Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh’ (Book of Kings) manuscript (1217) which was used as the basis for the available copies in the market. Initially, Italian Travelers came to Iran as political delegates from Venice and left memoirs and notes from themselves.

We have become familiar with social life, beliefs, traditions and customs of Iranian within centuries through these documents. In this ceremony, 13th to 17th centuries’ travelers including Pietro Della Valle and Marco Polo and some other travelogue writers were dealt with.

In the “Night of French Travelers in Iran” ceremony held in November 2019, Philippe Thiébaud, Ambassador of France to Tehran, Hamed Fouladvand, Researcher, Translator, and veteran of philosophy and literature, Fatemeh Eshghi, Faculty member of Allama Tabatabee and Ph.D. of French Translation, Golnar Golnarian, Master of Translation from France Sorbonne University and Ali Dehbashi, Researcher and editor in chief of Bukhara Magazine, delivered their speeches.

Dehbashi spoke about such travelogues of French travelers in 17 to 19th centuries as Jean Chardin, Jean-Baptiste Feuvrier, special physician of Nassereddin Shah of Qajar, Pierre Loti, Eugène Flandin etc. Thiébaud, the France ambassador to Tehran, said that travelogues are a reflection of the enriched culture of Iran and continued, “These travelogues transfer knowledge and experience of travel and are a common heritage. These travelers not only tried to introduce civilization and great culture of Iran to west, but also they struggled to introduce this culture to Iranians themselves, today we can work on better cooperation through analysis and introduction of such interactions to each other.” Thiébaud also said, “Henry Corbin played a key role in studying Shiism and introducing Iranian philosophy to Europeans and also promoting it across the France and Europe. Because Corbin was the first director of Iranology Association in France and helped considerable in cultural and humanistic interactions, as today we can continue his way.” On the sidelines of this gathering, an exhibition including works from 20 French travelers which are kept in the Iranian archive was held. Out of most ancient works of this collection we can refer to Levant travelogue written by Jean de Thévenot and various copies of Chardin’s.

Besides travelogues, six manuscripts of Iranian tourists who had traveled to France were showcased in this exhibition, out of which we can point to Nassereddin Shah Qajar, the fourth King of Persia and Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, the fifth Qajar king of Persia.

The appreciation paper for Prof. Corbin, philosopher, theologian, Iranologist and professor of Islamic Studies, and André Godard, archaeologist, architect and historian of French and Middle Eastern Art, awarded by the University of Tehran were showcased in this exhibition, as well.

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