Maps of Persia 1477-1925: A graphical journey through the history of Iran–
Iran or Persia as it was known in the West for most of its long history has been mapped extensively for centuries and many of the maps included in the exhibition will be publicly shown together for the first time. These maps illustrate how cartography and the mapping of the region advanced with scientific accuracy in detail, whilst not ignoring their often artistic and design elements.
The maps along with other supporting material are presented within the context of Persia as an important cultural cross-road in southwest and central Asia. Illustrating how the region was viewed, interpreted and recorded by both indigenous scholars and visitors from abroad.
Following 20 years of research the noted scholar, Dr Cyrus Ala'i produced a monumental cartobibliography in two volumes: General Maps of Persia, 1477-1925 (2005), and Special Maps of Persia 1477–1925 (2010).
Maps of Persia, 1477–1925 features a selection of maps – urban plans, topographic maps and sea charts – taken from Dr Cyrus Ala'i's collection of over 250 maps of Persia that was gifted to the School of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of London in 2013. At the opening of this outstanding exhibition, Cyrus spoke about his collection which he ardently wants to be made available to scholars internationally to facilitate the study of Iranian culture. His talk was from the heart of a collector who intrinsically understands the value of cartographic artefacts beyond their resale value. Below is a transcript of his speech which you may enjoy to read, and please, do visit the exhibition; it's free and centrally located in Bloomsbury. (by Ljiljana Ortolja-Baird)