Online Lecture Series – Iran. Five Millennia of Art and Culture (Museum für Islamische Kunst) – UPDATED

Ashley Dimmig Discussion

Submitted by Claudia Pörschmann:

Dear Friends of the Museum für Islamische Kunst,

Please join us for our online lecture series accompanying our special exhibition:

"Iran. Five Millennia of Art and Culture":


Early Cities in Iran | Prof. Dr. Barbara Helwing

Thursday, 17 February 2022, 6:30 pm (CET)
Webex link:
Language: English

The lecture presents the current state of knowledge of archaeological research on the first cities in the Iranian highlands and takes a look at the imaginative imagery of the surviving finds.

Barbara Helwing is Director of the Museum of the Ancient Near East of the National Museums in Berlin and Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney and the Free University of Berlin. She has conducted extensive field research in Iran for two decades and is the author of numerous specialist articles on Iranian archaeology.


Modern Art in Iran | Ina Sarikhani

Thursday, 24 February 2022, 6:30 pm (CET)
Webex link:

Language: English

Contemporary Art in today’s Iran is exciting, vibrant and diverse, a dynamic scene of artists, galleries and museums. Propelled by technology and travel, art is relevant, global and transnational, reflecting the creative exchange of artists at home and in exile with their peers around the world. Perhaps surprisingly, artists are unafraid to explore issues such as gender, politics, religion and identity, testing the boundaries of censorship and control. The result is dynamic and exciting, with growing international interest and placements in major museums. That there is a dynamic art scene is not surprising - Iran is an ancient and enduring culture. In her lecture, Ina Sarikhani Sandmann introduces the vibrant modernist scene of the 20th century in Iran, and the revival of contemporary art post the Iranian Revolution of 1979, ending in today’s lively and enthusiastic cultural scene, which expresses itself in performance, cinema, music, theatre and street art.

Ina Sarikhani Sandmann studied at Cambridge and SOAS as well as at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She is director of The Sarikhani Collection as well as co-curator of the exhibition "Iran - Art and Culture from Five Millennia" in Berlin. For the "Epic Iran" exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, she curated the exhibition on Modern and Contemporary Art in Iran.


Kashan – Crossroads of Commerce and Culture | Prof. Dr. Roy Mottahedeh

Thursday, 3 March 2022, 6:30 pm (CET)
Webex link:
Language: English

The arrival of substantial numbers of Arab immigrants in Kashan in the early Islamic period played an important role in the city’s development and its continuation as a centre of Shīʻism. A strong educational tradition produced many talented Kashani officials who served in the Seljuk and later administrations.

In the Seljuk period Kashan gained a reputation for its production of luxury ceramics, including its lustre ware and pictorial mīnā’ī ware.

Roy Parviz Mottahedeh has a PhD in History from Harvard University (1969) and taught Islamic History at Princeton (1970-86) and at Harvard (1986-2016). He has been the Gurney Research Professor at Harvard from 2016 to the present and is the author of several books, including Der Mantel des Propheten.


The Rituals of the Zoroastrians from Antiquity to the Present Day | Prof. Dr. Alberto Cantera

Thursday, 10 March 2022, 6:30 pm (CET)
Webex link:
Language: English

Zoroastrian rituals are still accompanied by the recitation of texts in Avestic, an ancient Iranian language, in India, Iran and the diaspora. These texts were probably written before the 5th century BCE for the performance of similar rituals. Zoroastrianism is thus characterised by one of the longest ritual continuities in the world.

The lecture will discuss the arguments that support this thesis, contrary to the previously held position that rituals were reinvented in Late Antiquity.

Alberto Cantera is a professor at the Institute for Iranian Studies at the Free University of Berlin. The Avestic texts, their transmission and their performance in the Zoroastrian rituals are the focus of his research.


Gardens in Iran – Before and now | Prof. Dr. Peter Heine

Thursday, 17 March 2022, 6:30 pm (CET)
Language: German

The lecture gives an overview of garden culture in Iran between the 16th and 21st centuries. It explains the concept and development of the Chaharbagh, the four-part garden, since its emergence in the Timurid period on the basis of a horticultural text. In addition, the audience is introduced to the oldest still existing garden complex, the Bagh-e Fin, near Kashan, and to the most recent complex, the Bagh-e Guft-o gu in Tehran.

Prof. Dr. Peter Heine was Professor of Islamic Studies at the Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität in Münster and the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. He was the founding director of the Zentrum Moderner Orient and is the first chairman of the "Freunde des Museums für Islamische Kunst im Pergamonmuseum e.V." in Berlin. 

All lectures will be broadcasted live via the links above. Registration for the lectures is not required.

The lectures are supported by the Sarikhani Foundation, the Freunde des Museums für Islamische Kunst im Pergamonmuseu e.V. and the Peter und Irene Ludwig Stiftung Aachen.


We look forward to seeing you!

Museum für Islamische Kunst im Pergamonmuseum

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 6

10117 Berlin