Speaker: Dr. Ulrich Marzolph, Scholar-in-Residence
When: September 29, 2012
Where: Shangri La

In Iran, the art of printing as a pervasive cultural practice was only introduced in the second decade of the nineteenth century. While printing in movable type was only successful during its second appearance in the first decades of the twentieth century, the process of lithographic printing had been invented towards the end of the eighteenth century. Economically, this process permitted the production of printed items at comparatively low cost. Technically, lithographic printing made it possible to produce identical duplicates of any given original in multiple copies. This capacity notably applied to both handwriting and illumination or illustration, this essentially permitting the seamless continuation of the age-old practice of manuscript production. As of the middle of the nineteenth century, lithographic printing remained popular in Iran for about a century. Out of the thousands of books produced in this period, many hundreds contain illustrations. These illustrations bespeak a peculiar and little known form of Persian art that is posited between tradition and modernity. Marzolph’s presentation will introduce this art by sketching the history of printing and highlighting particular items as well as artists.

Ulrich Marzolph (Ph.D., University of Cologne, Germany, 1981) is Extraordinary Professor of Islamic Studies at the Georg August-University and a senior member of the editorial board of the Enzyklopädie des Märchens in Göttingen, Germany. Besides numerous publications exploring the narrative culture of the Muslim world - in particular Arabic, Persian, and Turkish folktales and popular literature - he has specialized in the study of lithographic illustration in nineteenth century Persian books.

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