Haft Sin Painting

The greatest Sufi mystic and poet in Persian literature, Mowlana (Jalal od-Din

Majnun Miniatures

The miniature shows the meeting of Leili and Majnun in the desert - the illustration to the

Mohammad) Rumi is famous for his passionate lyrics and for his didactic epic Mathnavi-ye Manavi ("Spiritual Couplets"), which widely influenced Muslim mystical thought and literature. After Rumi's death, his disciples were organized as the Mowlaviyeh order, known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes.


Saadi, whose real name was Mosharraf od-Din, was born in Shiraz about 1184. During his long, remarkable life, he managed to travel to the most distant cities of the Islamic world, and these travels and experiences are reflected in many of his poems. Toward the end of his life, Saadi built himself a hermitage outside the walls of Shiraz on the spot where his tomb now stands. Golestan ("The Rose Garden") in prose and and Bustan ("The Orchard") in verse are Saadi's main masterpieces, but he is also justly celebrated for his ghazals, in which he is rivaled only by his great fellow-townsman Hafez. Saadi died at a very old age in 1291.

The miniature shows the meeting of Leili and Majnun in the desert - the illustration to the


The most favorite Iranian poet, Shams od-Din Mohammad, entitled Hafez ("Hafez" designates one who has learned the Koran by heart), was born in Shiraz in 1325. Unlike Saadi, Hafez left his native city only on several short trips, though sovereigns from many parts of Persia and India offered him great rewards if he would reside at their courts. Hafez is particularly famed for his elegant ghazals, the form that he brought to a level of perfection not achieved before or since. When they practice divination, the Iranians often open Hafez's works at random with The laquer cover of Hafez's manuscript with the medallion in an invoca- tjie center shows the poet as the tion. anonymous painter imagined him.

Lion Devouring Sun PaintingNowruz Miniature

The Nowruz haft-sin table is depicted on the oil painting by Hossein Ehya (from the collection of the Golestan palace-museum in Tehran).

Kashan Iran

A lion devouring a bull is a popular bas-relief in Persepolis, the Achaemenid capital built particularly for Nowruz celebrations. The scene aims to symbolize the victory of the sun and the new year over winter.

Hajji Firuz

Hajji Firuz is a traditional herald of the Nowruz season.

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