Pouran Lashini

University of Dallas, Texas, USA


Early Iranian printing through various writing systems and artefacts


This paper analyzes early Iranian printing through various writing systems and artifacts. The Iranian Empire from 1100-1300 CE used not only written words, but also fine art of illumination, illustration, miniatures, and calligraphy. A fascinating branch of Oriental art involves splendid examples of Arabic, Persian, and Indian books, illumination, miniature paintings, and changes of style that influenced the highly decorative qualities developed by Persian painters and illuminators. The history of text-based communication constitutes a particularly exciting facet of material culture given the myriad ways in which its production, transmission, and consumption were, accomplished across Iranian cultural and political boundaries. In this paper, I discuss aspects of writing and printing to address two main themes: the political stakes of controlling authors and the legacy of its neglect by print and visual art scholars. Governments had direct roles on printing and illustration of books, as they had money to support artists and authors in their old age. For example, Firdausi was a renowned and greatly respected Persian poet; he was the author of the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings, which was probably written and illustrated in Tabriz. Firdausi finally completed his epic in March 1010, according to him, the final edition contained about sixty thousand couplets. Because of poverty, illness, and the death of his son, he presented the book in 7 volumes to Sultan Mashoud, who was not as interested in Firdausi and the Shahnameh as Mashoud’s father, who commissioned the work. Firdausi’s book is apparently the fifth Shahnameh: the first four manuscripts were composed in the Samanid dynasty, the 10th century.


Iranian born, Pouran Lashini has been an active artist for more than twenty years. Growing up in Tehran, she was immersed in the rich culture of traditional Persian art. Lashini has focused her compositions primarily around traditional Persian miniatures, calligraphy, and illumination. With homage to her native heritage, she creates artworks that are mixed tradition with a taste of abstract, giving an alluring and captivating appeal to a classic Middle Eastern art form. She has exhibited her works in many solo and group shows nationally and internationally. She is currently pursuing her PhD in ‘Aesthetic studies and philosophy of ideas’ at the University of Dallas, Texas.