Since the Shah went into exile and the Islamic Republic was established in 1979 in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, the very idea of monarchy in Iran has been contentious. Yet, as Persian Kingship and Architecture argues, the institution of kingship has historically played a pivotal role in articulating the abstract notion of 'Iran' since antiquity. These ideas surrounding kingship and nation have, in turn, served as a unifying cultural force despite shifting political and religious allegiances. Through analyses of palaces, mausolea, art, architectural decoration and urban design the authors show how architecture was appropriated by different rulers as an integral part of their strategies of legitimising power. They refer to a variety of examples, from the monuments of Persepolis under the Achamenids, the Sassanian palaces at Kish, the Safavid public squares of Isfahan, the Qajar palaces at Shiraz and to the modernisation and urban agendas of the Pahlavis. Drawing on archaeology, ancient, medieval, early and modern architectural history, both Islamic and secular, this book is indispensable for all those interested in Iranian studies and visual culture.
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Sussan Babaie is Lecturer in the Arts of Iran and Islam at The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, UK. She is the co-author of Persian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1989), Slaves of the Shah. New Elites of Safavid Iran (2004), and Shirin Neshat (2013), and the author of the award-winning Isfahan and its Palaces: Statecraft, Shi'ism and the Architecture of Conviviality in Early Modern Iran (University of Edinburgh Press, 2008).
Talinn Grigor is an Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Architecture in the Department of Fine Arts at Brandeis University, USA. Her research interests include the relationships between architecture and (post)colonial politics. She is the author of Building Iran: Modernism, Architecture, and National Heritage under the Pahlavi Monarchs (2009), Identity Politics in Irano-Indian Modern Architecture (2013), and Contemporary Iranian Art: A Social History from the Street to Studio and Exile (2014).
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