Persian Pictures

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Anthem Press, 2005 - History - 134 pages
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"Here in the dust and the sunshine is an epitome of the living East, and standing unnoticed in a doorway, you will admit that you have not travelled in vain. But as the procession of people files past you, you will realize what a gulf lies between you. The East looks to itself; it knows nothing of the greater world of which you are a citizen, asks nothing of you and your civilization."This brilliant, vivid and impressionistic series of sketches, formed during her 1892 stay in Persia, is Gertrude Bell's first published work. Infused with a distinctive orientalism, "Persian Pictures" is an evocative, virtuosic meditation, moving sinuously between Persia's heroic complex, mythical past and present decline; the public face of Tehran and the otherworldly "secret, mysterious life of the East;" the lives of its women; its enclosed, quasi-medieval gardens; from the bustling cities to the lonely wastelands of Khorasan. Bell's documentation of Muharram - the month of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed - and Ramadan, display a mind finely attuned to the differences and similarities between Islam and Christianity, East and West. "Persian Pictures" is both travelog and meditation, an elegaic and beautifully observed account of a spellbinding land.Scholar, historian, linguist, archaeologist, photographer, secret service agent and traveller, Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) was a hugely significant figure. Her early travels were made in Europe and Persia; she made two round-the-world trips (1897-8 and 1902-3), while her climbing exploits in the Alps from 1899-1904 earned her renown as a mountaineer. Like other British 'orientalists' of the early 20th century, she explored the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I and was hugely instrumental in the post-war reconfiguration of the Arab states in the Middle East. She was a prime mover in creating the new state of Iraq and establishing a constitutional monarchy there with a parliament, civil service and legal system; as Honorary Director of Antiquities in Iraq, she established the Iraq Museum in Baghdad.
 

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Contents

The Tower of Silence i i
9
The King of Merchants i
19
The Shadow of Death
31
Dwellers in Tents i i
39
Three Noble Ladies a
45
The Treasure of the King i
53
Sheikh Hassan i
59
A Persian Host i
67
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

As a scholar, historian, linguist, archaeologist, photographer, secret service agent and traveller, (1868-1926), Gertrude Bell was a hugely significant figure of her time. Her early travels were made in Europe and Persia; she made two round-the-world trips (1897-98 and 1902-03). She was instrumental in creating the new state of Iraq and as Honorary Director of Antiquities in Iraq, she established the Iraq Museum in Baghdad.

Dr Liora Lukitz has for several years been a research fellow at the Centre for Middle East Studies at Harvard University.

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