Iran’s Cultural Achievements

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Active Image*Five of Iran's diverse cultural practices have been registered on UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

The regional music of Khorasan, the Zurkhaneh and Sport of Heroes rituals, the Persian Passion Play, and traditional carpet weaving skills in Fars and Kashan were listed during the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Iran's Northern Khorasan Province is known for its regional music mainly played on the Dotar, a two-stringed, long-necked lute. They recount Islamic and Gnostic poems and epics in Turkish, Kurdish, Turkmen and Persian.

The Persian Passion Play or Ta'zieh is a ritual dramatic art that recounts religious events, historical and mythical stories and folk tales through poetry, music, song and motion.

Persian carpets are the best of their kind throughout the world and carpet weavers in Iran's Fars Province and the city of Kashan are among the most prominent producers of the stunning handicraft.

The wool for the carpets is usually shorn by local men in spring or autumn and women are mostly in charge of the weaving.

Zurkhaneh (house of strength) is an ancient Persian gymnasium where the Sport of Heroes, which combines pre-Islamic Persian culture with the spirituality of Sufism, is practiced.

Active ImageThe place is a unique sports club, where a man's physical improvement is considered vital for spiritual enlightenment.

The rituals of the Sport of Heroes date back to the Parthian era and symbolize Persian ideals about spiritual growth, masculinity, religious devotion and physical prowess.

The Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding list is composed of intangible heritage elements that concern communities and require urgent measures to keep them alive.

Inscriptions on the list help mobilize international cooperation and assistance for stakeholders to undertake appropriate safeguarding measures.

Tradition of Persian New Year, (Nowruz) and the Radif of Iranian music, the traditional repertoire of the classical music of Iran, were also inscribed on the list during the previous meeting of the committee in Abu Dhabi.

Active Image*Iranian graphic designer Mohammad Jamshidi has been awarded in the cultural category of the 2010 edition of the International Poster Biennial of Mexico.

Jamshidi received the third prize of the event for the poster he designed for an exhibition on the theme of 'fear and trauma.'

Stephan Bundi from Switzerland won the first award of the cultural category while the second prize went to American artist Lance Rutter.

Iran's Mehdi Mahdian and Mehdi Saeedi also participated in the event with two works each.

This year's works were judged by an 11-member board of jury composed of Dora Keresztes (Hungary), Apex Lin (Taiwan), Iwona Rypesc (Poland/US), Sergio Vega (Bolivia), Luba Lukova (US), Kenya Hara (Japan), Svetlana Faldina (Russia), Finn Nygaard (Denmark), Fang Chen (China/US), Eric Olivares (Spain/Mexico) and Raquel Pelta (Spain).

Jamshidi, who was granted the honorary mention of the same contest in 2008, has displayed his works at many national and international events and received numerous awards.

The 2008 Moscow Golden Bee International Biennale of Graphic Design and the Institute of Art and Design of the Academy of China are among the centers and events which have awarded Jamshidi.

The 11th International Poster Biennial of Mexico presented works by a wide range of artists from different countries such as Canada, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Australia, Colombia, China, Chile, Denmark, Croatia, Slovenia and Cuba.

Active Image*Iranian illuminator Mostafa Aqamiri has been invited to hold Persian art workshops at Shanghai University, one of China's most prestigious academic centers.

University officials invited the award-winning artist during a meeting held at the Iranian Consulate in Shanghai, Aqamiri told Mehr News Agency.

Born in a family of artists, Mostafa Aqamiri has received numerous national and international awards along with his brother Alireza.

He received the gold medal of the 4th Sharjah Biennial for the Art of Arabic Calligraphy held in August 2010.

The 45-year-old artist was awarded for his 'Shamseh' illumination, which derives its name from the Arabic word 'Shams' meaning the Sun.

Aqamiri's works were also welcomed at the International Illumination and Miniature Festival in Algiers, after which he and his brother were invited to display their works in Algeria in May 2011.

A graduate of handicrafts and Persian art, Mostafa Aqamiri teaches art at several universities and academies in Tehran and other Iranian cities.

Active Image*Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Abdolvahab's Please Do Not Disturb has been awarded at the 2010 edition of the Damascus International Film Festival.

The 80-minute production received the Silver Award of the event, which was held from November 7 to 13 in the Syrian capital.

The festival's Gold Award went to Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb's Outlaws, while the Bronze Award was granted to September Rain by Syria's Abdellatif Abdelhamid.

Please Do Not Disturb unfolds three stories dealing with moral contradiction and dilemma against a backdrop of present-day Tehran.

Abdolvahab's first feature-length production made its international debut in the 15th Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea.

Born in 1957, Mohsen Abdolvahab graduated in editing from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) film college.

He has directed more than 23 short and feature-length documentaries and his 2001 documentary Wives of Haj Abbas won the prestigious Silver Wolf award of the Amsterdam Festival.

He has closely collaborated with acclaimed female Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad on many projects such as the award-winning film Mainline.

The 18th Damascus International Film Festival screened 222 feature-length and 92 short films from 46 countries.

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