The 19th century, in Iran, was a time of significant upheaval and change. The time was marked by the country's engagement with the West, which led to the advent of military, economic, technological, and cultural innovations, blouinartinfo.com reported.
The Qajar kings, who ruled Iran from 1785 to 1925, were of Turkmen origin and unified the country after decades of internal turmoil. Apart from adopting new innovations and technologies, they consciously revived local religious and artistic traditions. Their active patronage of Iranian religious customs, poetry, and the arts fostered a new national identity and laid the foundation for a modern nation-state. 'Transforming Traditions: The Arts of 19th Century Iran', tells these powerful stories through artworks created under the Qajar Dynasty.
The exhibition, the museum wrote, "speaks of a dynamic, creative and sophisticated country challenged to navigate competing cultural dynamics. Some objects reflect the conscious revival of local traditions and convictions, while others tell of an enthusiastic adaptation of state-of-the-art ideas and technologies. Many of the objects represent a successful fusion of tradition and the latest trends of the time. The exhibition invites us to contemplate how art transforms and is transformed into any society faced with major change. It reminds us that to this day, around the world and here in Canada, artists and craftspeople respond to change in complex ways."
The exhibition showcases rare portraits, paintings, lacquerware, photographs, lithographed manuscripts, textiles, and musical instruments, from the museum's own collection as well as loans from a host of prominent international and national collections.
A major loan from the Louvre Museum and select items from other institutions, including the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Textile Museum of Canada are on view at the show.