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The Eye of the Shah:
Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past
Edited by Jennifer Y. Chi

Paperback | 2015 | $39.95 | £29.95 | ISBN: 9780691171586
200 pp. | 11 x 8 1/2 | 228 color illus.
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The Eye of the Shah is the beautifully illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition of the same name at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. The volume presents some two hundred photographs—the great majority of which have never been seen by the public—taken by royal photographers engaged by Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (r. 1848–1896), the longest-reigning shah of Iran's Qajar Dynasty (1785–1925). The photographs include a group of unprecedented, captivating images of life in the royal court in Tehran. These are complemented by photographs of historic monuments that capture the grand, eloquent beauty of such iconic ancient sites as Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam. The Eye of the Shah also looks at vintage photographic albums, memorabilia that used formal portraits of the shah, and works by two modern Iranian photographers, Bahman Jalali (1944–2010) and Shadi Ghadirian (b. 1974).

The catalogue's essays discuss such topics as the achievements of court photographers in the service of Naser al-Din Shah, including Reza ‘Akkasbashi, ‘Abdollah Mirza Qajar, and Dust Mohammad Khan Mo‘ayyer al-Mamalek, and the volume also examines the role of photography in helping Iranians document Iran's pre-Islamic monuments during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Contributors include Carmen Pérez González, Judith A. Lerner, and Reza Sheikh.

Jennifer Y. Chi is exhibitions director and chief curator at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University.

Table of Contents:

The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past 6
Map 126
Letter from Roger S. Bagnall, Leon Levy Director, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World 128
Acknowledgments, Jennifer Y. Chi, ISAW Exhibitions Director and Chief Curator 129
1 From the Inner Sanctum: Men Who Were Trusted by the Kings, Carmen Pérez González, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Reza Sheikh, Independent Scholar 132
2 A Case of Synchronicity: Photography and Qajar Iran’s Discovery of Its Ancient Past, Judith A. Lerner, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World 1580
Exhibition Checklist 178
Photography and Image Credits 198

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Jennifer Y. Chi:

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A publication of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University

Naser al-Din Shah Qajar 1
Naser al-Din Shah Qajar 1
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Staircase relief
Staircase relief
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Naser al-Din Shah Qajar 2
Naser al-Din Shah Qajar 2
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